The fourth industrial revolution is at the cusp of where it explodes.
Industry 4.0 is a combination of physical form, product and intelligence in data, which brings together the digital, physical, and biological solutions. In this fourth revolution, machines and products communicate with each other with an objective of highly flexible, individualised and resource friendly mass production using sensing, actuating, and process controlling. There are nine technologies that are transforming industrial production, namely:
- Autonomous Robots
- Horizontal and Vertical system integration
- Cloud Computing
- Additive Manufacturing
- Augmented Reality
- Big Data and analytics
Technologies such as autonomous robots, additive manufacturing, and big data analytics already exist today, but once they are full blown and connected, they will provide new ways to produce, design, and operate. Industry 4.0 consists of highly interactive and integrated modules, leading to smart factories with different components and modules talking to each other. Smartly connected products and systems connect business applications, hence creating new sources, thereby offering competitive advantage for manufacturing companies through service and software.
We are in the early stages of industry 4.0, where using Cyber physical systems (CPS), cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) we can fully integrate, optimise, and automate the flow in the manufacturing industry.
Industrial Internet of things (IIoT)
IoT is about taking things around us and connecting them from physical world to the digital world. Impact of IoT in the manufacturing sector is huge. Use of IoT in the manufacturing sector is known by industrial Internet of things (IIoT)
IIoT uses big data analytics, machine learning and sensor data to constantly capture and communicate for better control and understanding, optimisation of services, quality control, sustainable practices and streamlined supply chain management.
IIoT is expected to fuel huge demand for sensors in most of the industries, including but not limited to automotive and healthcare. Sensor technology combined with computing power offer solutions to customers with higher productivity.
Using IIoT, we are able to turn data to information to results.
Following are the impacts of using IIoT, which would lead to the growth in the sensors industry:
- Engines can share performance data and be monitored real time for the work done to avoid breakdown.
- Medical device manufacturers can analyse each patient needs with every patient outcome and response from 1,000 of miles away, enabling them to shift from selling medical devices to selling personal healthcare.
- Products can be endlessly customised through software and enhanced through apps, driving next generation products.
- Visualisation of brain activity using a specialised EEG device, which gives one access to ways which were previously not possible.
Semiconductor devices are monetising IoT products by adopting new management systems and new licensing techniques. All IoT devices, smartphone, laptops and tablets need computing power to operate and that is where the semiconductor market comes into picture, by selling billions of chips.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The semiconductors are labelled as enablers in the IoT ecosystem, because the semiconductor industry provides the technology building blocks for the “things” within the IoT. They are used as infrastructure components which help to collect, process, and transmit real world signals and data for IoT products and applications. There are three core underlying capabilities provided by semiconductors for IoT, which are discussed below.
Sensing-Due to the increased adoption of sensors, the IoT semiconductor revenue from sensing devices is expected to undergo a rapid growth. This high growth rate is attributed to two key trends: advancements in sensor technologies and decreasing average selling prices (ASP). Advanced manufacturing technologies such as MEMS and NEMS are used to create sensors for IoT. Moreover, intense competition in fragmented sensor market with many new players has resulted in steady decrease in ASPs, which in turn has led to increased adoption of sensors.
Connectivity-Connectivity is a key capability required in IoT applications, both for consumer and enterprise infrastructure devices. The overall communications electronics market for semiconductors is expected to continue growing at around 5% CAGR. In the embedded device market, network processing and connectivity-related functions are increasingly being combined with embedded processors in applications beyond cell phones.
Computing- IoT will drive growth in application specific microcontrollers (MCUs) and flexible System on Chip (SoC) type designs. In the next five years, it is estimated that the shipment of number units of embedded processes related to IoT will grow five times faster than the rest of the embedded system markets.
The drones and robotics market will generate around $1 billion of revenue in 10 applications. The current drones and robots sensor market is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 13%. Emerging players are Parrot, iRobot, and DJI Innovations. Several technologies revolving around 3D sensing and other models such as IR imaging, multispectral, and gas sensing will be necessary for the autonomous robotics market.
Autonomous mobile robots are designed for specific tasks and work in unpredictable environments. Visual sensors are a key element in the growth of the market for robotic sensors and in vision-related hardware. Examples are CMOS image sensors and also development of advanced 2D and 3D vision. Force sensors which will ensure improved safety and the multiple sensors in domestic robots are increased applications of sensors in this space.
With the advent of cloud computing in almost every smart device being used by humans, the global semiconductor market is seeing a huge growth potential and opportunities. Increased demand for electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets, smart watches has pushed the semiconductor market toward innovations and developments. This is driving companies to develop secure cloud computing network which would integrate cloud computing at semiconductor level.
Cloud computing has significant presence of 42% and pervasive presence of 7% in the manufacturing industry. The solution offering to the better optimizing and performance in the manufacturing industry is the integration of cloud into physical structures.
Cloud acts as a front end to IoT. Hence with the help of cloud, interactive applications with devices such as sensors enable high speed network, real time processing of data, and high computation power.
The growing IoT and the advent of Industry 4.0 will create a world which is connected and integrated at each level. Companies are already investing huge amounts in optimizing such systems. This creates a huge need for innovations in the basic components- semiconductors and sensors for the smart devices used thus predicting a market with high growth for these components in future.