Advanced sensors enable a host of smart technologies and are driving efficiency and environment, health and safety improvements across industries, from plastics recycling to water management and manufacturing.
Some 35 percent of US manufacturers are currently collecting and using data generated by smart sensors to improve operating processes, according to PWC, which says “sensors provide a relatively low-cost way for companies to learn about their customers, employees, and operations — and then use that data to improve engagement, sales, productivity, safety and much more.”
Advanced Sensor Revenue Projections
Sensors also play a critical role in transforming facilities into intelligent buildings, according to a new report from Navigant Research, which forecasts global advanced sensor revenue will grow from $1,160.3 million in 2016 to $3,221.9 million in 2025 at a 12 percent compound annual growth rate.
These intelligent devices contain sensing devices that deliver a digital output and are networked via wired or wireless configurations to support actionable insight that can improve building performance. Advanced sensors may be a component of an intelligent building system with software and services or standalone devices for data acquisition.
“The advanced sensor is a valuable data collection mechanism to support intelligent building solutions including Building Energy Management Systems,” says report author Casey Talon, a Navigant Research senior research analyst. “The BEMS analytics and services translate these data streams into actionable information to deliver improvements in energy efficiency, operational efficiency, space utilization, health in buildings, occupant satisfaction and safety.”
Evolving Facilities Industry
Navigant Research says the facilities industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Factors including an aging workforce, changing expectations from tenants and employees, and new pressures on sustainability and efficiency are driving this transformation — and opening the door to intelligent building systems. Advanced sensors, according to the report, are a key enabling device in this evolution.
While corporate commitments to sustainability and climate change are a key driver in this technology, it also enables cost savings from operational improvements and energy efficiency.
“Advanced sensors gather and transmit the granular data to generate comprehensive baselines on system and facility performance, and monitor changes over time that reflect investment and strategies to improve sustainability,” Talon says. “Energy efficiency is a straightforward metric for measuring building performance that reflects reducing in greenhouse gas emissions for sustainability, but also delivers impactful economics benefits to the business’ bottom line.”
In addition to energy and operational efficiency, advanced sensors can provide facility owners and operators with vital data related to the health of the building, occupant satisfaction and employee safety.
One example of this: late last year Honeywell and Intel showcased a prototype of a personal connected safety solution for industrial workers and first responders that aims to reduce workplace injury and improve productivity.
The Honeywell Connected Worker solution includes a Mobile Hub that collects and provides sensor fusion, which refers to data collected from a variety of sensors on a worker. The Mobile Hub pulls data from a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), a heart rate monitor, and several Intel Quark SE microcontroller based devices, including a toxic gas monitor, an activity detection device, and a non-verbal gesture device.
It monitors workers for toxic gas exposure, breathing, heart rate, posture and motion. The resulting data and actionable intelligence is displayed remotely on a visual, cloud-based dashboard, giving plant managers and incident commanders the information needed to better anticipate unsafe conditions and prevent potential “man-down” scenarios that could threaten worker safety, Honeywell says.
In addition, the data can be used to prevent equipment failure that could create unsafe conditions or costly downtime.
Growth Opportunity for Sensor Manufacturers
The new Navigant Research report analyzes the global market for advanced sensors in six key segments — occupancy, photo, CO2, humidity, temperature and multifunctional sensors — and says these devices present significant opportunities across industries and geographies.
It also highlights business opportunities for sensor manufacturers.
“Sensor manufacturers have an opportunity to partner with broader BEMS providers and other players in the intelligent buildings marketplace to deliver platform solutions,” Talon says. “These devices can become a vital component of an intelligent building offering that engages customers ongoing in energy management beyond the single sale of a component.”