Frost and Sullivan appear very active these past few days as far as the automation sector is concerned. A few days ago they came out with the Top Ten Energy Trends which included the observation that, amongst the others noted that most energy producers are seeking to “improve their measurement and monitoring network structure by implementing smart technologies.”
Now in a new paper they examine the HMI market in Europe and the opportunites and challenges that is and will present to industry.
Factors such as the need for technically enhanced human machine interface (HMI) in Europe and the availability of growth opportunities in price-sensitive markets such as Eastern Europe will intensify the competition among vendors in the HMI market. Although the financial crisis affected most end-user sectors across the world, the demand for HMI has been sustained through government-aided stimulus packages in key end-user segments. Steady market expansion will derive from end users looking beyond conventional HMI functionalities to more advanced technical features.
Their study Strategic Analysis of the European Human Machine Interface Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $541.9 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $819.7 million in 2016. The study covers discrete and process industries.
The increasing importance of sophisticated and high-definition displays will support market prospects. The visualisation factor, which communicates the system parameters and displays the execution of the process on a screen, is highly valued by shop floor operators.
“The need for newer and more sophisticated displays is gaining importance,” notes Industry Analyst Sivakumar Narayanaswamy. “The ability of an HMI to fulfill this demand is continuing to drive the growth of the HMI market.”
Increased government spending on infrastructure, including power and water, is also strengthening the market’s growth potential. As an effect of the recession of 2008-2009, governments of developed economies have been aiding investments in infrastructure development, primarily in the power segment and for smart grid projects. This has resulted in a boom in the utilities segment, especially in the use of HMI applications.
A main challenge relates to the fact that end users are looking beyond the conventional functionality of HMI. Currently, customers are not satisfied with the usual features of data monitoring offered by HMI. They want the system to be more intelligent and intuitive.
“Software is the key to intelligent HMI solutions,” states Narayanaswamy.
Additionally, the advent of HMI integrated with video capabilities will enable proactive diagnostics in the event of a fault. HMI vendors need to focus on such intuitive trends to meet customer requirements.