Industry 4.0 to fuel rapid growth in virtual sensors, says report

market study on virtual sensor growth
Zion Market Research projects virtual sensor sales growing at a CAGR of 30% through 2025 to reach $1.1 billion, as Industry 4.0 adoption continues. (Zion Market Research)

Sensors that monitor temperature, liquids, gases and other physical parameters are well known. But there’s also a rapidly growing market for virtual sensors, according to market research firm Zion Research. The firm projects the global virtual sensors market growing from $177 million in 2018 to $1.1 billion by 2025, for a CAGR of 30% between 2019 and 2025.

A virtual sensor is used to estimate process conditions or product properties with the help of mathematical models. These models help companies in estimating the desired values by using information gathered from different physical sensors. A virtual sensor network is formed by a group of sensors, where the nodes are given certain high-speed tasks that play a crucial role in the virtual sensors market. According to Zion, the rising demand for virtualization architecture in wireless sensor networks (WSN) is expected to create lucrative market opportunities over the forecast period.

Not surprisingly, the growing adoption of Industry 4.0 is fueling the virtual sensors market. These sensors are to automate various manufacturing processes; for instance, virtual sensors assist manufacturers in robot manual guidance and collision detection. Some estimates project annual global investments in Industry 4.0 reaching $900 billion through 2020.

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The study acknowledges, however, that the virtual sensors market has growing pains. For one, the rise of cyberattacks is affecting the growth of virtual sensors to some extent. Perhaps more significantly, there’s a lack of awareness of the benefits of virtual sensors and a shortage of skilled workers expert in the fledgling technology, according to Zion.

So far, there are no dominant players in the virtual sensors market. According to Zion, the global virtual sensors market is fragmented based on deployment, component, and end-user. On the basis of deployment, the market is majorly classified into on-premises and cloud-based. By component, the market includes services and solutions. Virtual sensor solutions are preferred by organizations for estimating different product properties, which is fueling solutions segment growth. Virtual sensor end users include electrical, electronics, and consumer goods, oil and gas, healthcare, manufacturing and utilities, chemical, automotive and transportation, and others.

Globally, different sectors are driving the virtual sensors market. According to the study, North America is driven primarily by the rising investments in healthcare technology. In 2017, the U.S. IT healthcare investments reached $7.1 billion, up from $2.8 billion in 2013. Virtual sensors are widely used in healthcare to monitor the patient’s blood pressure, and they can incorporate some computation abilities to analyze the sensed traffic from a set of sensors and help provide continuous patient monitoring.

By contrast, the European virtual sensors market is driven by rising artificial intelligence (AI) adoption in the automotive sector. This is attributed to the introduction of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles by major European automotive manufacturers, including Daimler, BMW, and Volkswagen, over the next few years. Moreover, several European agencies are focusing on early AI adoption, which will also fuel the virtual sensors market over the forecast timeframe.

The study also noted that the Asia-Pacific region will experience growth in virtual sensors market due to the increasing number of consumer electronics devices in India and China. For instance, in 2019, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, announced the launch of MI9 and MI9 SE smartphones, which are embedded with virtual proximity sensor technology. India is likely to see virtual sensor demand grow due to the expanding smart phone user base, the study noted.

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