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I open my car door at the flick of a finger, my keys still securely in my purse and as I step inside my seat adjusts to my preference (hubby likes his further back). My phone connects automatically and starts into my latest Spotify list. As the engine warms up I’m warned of low tire pressure – guess I’ll have to check that out later.

There is a sensor explosion taking place and we don’t require Extrasensory Perception to notice. If the growth of sensors was just in the products we have in our homes and personal products it would be astounding (Did you know that most smart phones have 10 or more embedded sensors?) but that growth is also moving across farms, factories and industries. In fact, sensors are one of the factors fuelling the Industrial Internet of Things.

The Global Sensor Market

In February of last year, BCC Research of Wellesley, Massachusetts released their study ‘Global Markets and Technologies for Sensors’ and their findings certainly show no slow down in what lies ahead.

“The need for sensors is increasing dramatically with the ongoing boom in smart mobile communication technologies and tablet PCs. Many companies are already researching novel types of sensors for these applications. Mobile phones with face recognition are already in the market. Cell phones with integrated spectrometers to measure food freshness are no longer inconceivable, even though today they seem rather futuristic,” quotes the report.

BCC Research suggests that the global market for sensors which was approximately $102 billion last year will be nearly $191 billion by 2021.


Industry is transforming with sensors at the heart

Since about 2010, the evolving Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has cycled through early buzz to early and now mainstream adoption. Prior to this, plants had a degree of sensors in place to deliver information on their equipment but it typically involved a hardwired control system with expensive sensors and expensive data systems to manage.

Whether it’s ‘cloud’, ‘fog’ or ‘edge’ various wireless data integration programs are now readily available to plants and industries of all kinds with a lower financial impact and greater ability to process large volumes of sensor data for a complete data picture of machine optimization, maintenance requirements etc.

From acoustics, vibration and viscosity to impressive pressure sensors, the applications are endless. In fact, Tekscan, one of our suppliers at MASITEK has some incredible applications of embedded sensors in robotics that are worth a look.

This volume of demand and the technological advances have resulted in the cost of sensors being reduced by half over the past ten years while sensors themselves are reaching higher levels of speed and increased sensitivity, many being produced on a microscopic scale.