NATICK, USA: VDC Research Group analysts announced their predictions for the key trends anticipated to shape the 2011 industrial networking solutions market.
Real-Time Ethernet Capabilities Will Dominate
For a majority of discrete industrial automation applications, Ethernet/IP and PROFInet will serve as primary connectivity solutions for a majority of discrete industrial automation applications. Modbus TCP, ISA SP-100.11a and Wireless HART, on the other hand, will serve as primary connectivity solutions for a majority of process automation applications.
“Real” Growth for Wireless Networking Solutions
After years of unfulfilled hype and hope, the market for wireless networking solutions will experience a material increase in purchase orders, shipments and revenues. The development of standards, improved technology and security (such as ISA 100 and wireless HART, mesh networking and WPA2, respectively) are removing some of the major barriers to adoption and relieving security and reliability concerns.
The family of 802.11 networks will play an increasingly dominant role as the technology improves and acceptance of the networks continues to edge out the legacy narrow band proprietary networks.
Mergers & Acquisitions in 2011 Will Shape Industry Structure for the Decade to Come
VDC expects the impact of a number of technical and commercial market convergences will lead to more M&A activity, with an increasing likelihood that a large IT player will make a “large bet” in acquiring an industrial networking solutions provider.
Convergence Will Rationalize Product Offerings
To drive down costs, provide space savings and reduce wire interface, automation suppliers are embedding switch port capability into products, such as network I/O adaptors, PLCs and drives.
Several major automation control houses indicated as much as 10 percent of their overall product portfolios will be comprised of products incorporating switch capability to capture growing demand for Ethernet capability, and expect to offer all their products with embedded switch capability.
Internalization of Engineering and R&D
Leading automation suppliers are seeking to reduce cost by taking advantage of lower cost overseas talent with similar, or stronger, education and skill sets. Suppliers, intent on staying close to their customer base, are moving their manufacturing operations overseas (particularly to the Asia-Pacific region) and tapping an educated and skilled talent pool at material cost savings.