Improvements in energy harvesting technology combined with efficient storage solutions set to drive wireless sensor network growth

Press Release   •   Dec 20, 2013 10:06 GMT

Rapid growth in the global wireless sensor network market is forecast over the next few years as industries implement more cost effective and efficient wireless sensors within increasingly larger networks to reduce operational costs and improved monitoring. The onset of new energy harvesting technology, more cost-effective wireless sensors and the improved management of data is set to drive greater implementation of these systems. By 2019, the global wireless sensor network market is forecast to be valued at US$14.6 billion as wireless sensor networks replace wired sensor networks and new applications become apparent to industry and individuals for this new technology.

The global wireless sensor network market is forecast to report strong growth over the next six years with revenues from this industry segment to total US$14.6 billion in 2019 compared to only US$552 million revenues in 2012. The application of advanced technologies for wireless networking especially in the areas of energy harvesting and thin film batteries is forecast to drive strong growth in this sector. The implementation of wireless sensors working independently although in groups will enable systems to accomplish much more in terms of their applications. In addition, the emergence of advanced storage devices at the same time as the availability of efficient and economic energy harvesting devices is making the implementation of these sensor networks feasible. Storage devices can leverage the power captured by energy harvesting when sensors and devices are interconnected as a network.

Recent reports have highlighted that the industrial wireless sensor network market has doubled over the past couple of years and a recent ON World survey in collaboration with ISA, HCF and the WINA have highlighted that WSN adoption is forecast to increase rapidly. Network densities are increasing and several sites now have more than 3000 nodes networked and implemented. Over the next five years, wireless industrial field devices are forecast to increase by 553% with approximately 24 million wireless enabled sensors and actuators being implemented globally. By 2016, it is expected 39% of deployed nodes will be used for new applications that are uniquely enabled by wireless sensor network technology.

Industrial application of wireless sensors in networks is forecast to replace wired sensor networks in the future and this is also expected to impact on control solutions and improve the efficiency of control systems. A recent industry survey highlighted that 70% of end-users are planning WSN applications within the next 18 months with most planning a standards-based platform.

The industry is expecting many more wireless sensing applications and technology variations for industrial automation. In addition to wireless mesh systems, non-mesh products based on IEEE 802.15.4 are emerging, targeted at the process and discrete industries. Adoption for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint wireless sensor systems is accelerating for oil and gas exploration and production. In addition, interest in simpler, lower-cost wireless sensors, such as "passive wireless sensors," is a growing innovation area.

The implementation of more advanced wireless sensor networks is forecast which enables the sensors to be applied in a wider range of applications and uses. Sensors can capture continuous changes in conditions and networks can therefore make adjustments to the environment based on measuring this change. The availability of wireless sensor technologies at reduced costs and improved functionality is expected to result in the rapid development of smart cities as these networks are used to monitor individual health status, buildings, roads, transportation and healthcare. The adoption of wireless sensors to monitor the health of individuals is also expected to see improvements in healthcare and wellness initiatives with better communication between clinicians and patients.

These wireless sensor networks in the past have relied heavily on batteries that need to be changed by a human. Energy harvesting technology combined with solid state batteries power an increasing number of consumer and industrial products that are untethered or need to become disconnected from electrical outlets. Market growth is dependent on emerging technology. As the wireless technology, the solid state battery, the sensor technology, smart phone technology and the energy harvesting technology all become commercialised, these devices will be used to implement wireless sensor networks.

For more information on the global wireless sensor market, see the latest research: Global Wireless Sensor Market Report

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