Ethernet continues to gain in industrial distributed/remote I/O market

JULY 7--The worldwide market for industrial distributed/remote I/O utilizing Ethernet-based buses/networks is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 13.3% through 2010, according to a newly published study by Venture Development Corporation (Natick, MA, USA; www.vdc-corp.com).

Jul 7th, 2006

JULY 7--The worldwide market for industrial distributed/remote I/O utilizing Ethernet-based buses/networks is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 13.3% through 2010, according to a newly published study by Venture Development Corporation (VDC; Natick, MA, USA; www.vdc-corp.com). This compares to an overall industrial distributed/remote I/O market growth rate of 5.9% expected over that period. According to VDC, Ethernet-based buses/networks accounted for nearly 15% of worldwide distributed/remote I/O shipments in 2005, with this share expected to increase to greater than 20% by 2010.

Ethernet offers many advantages over industrial fieldbuses, and vendors of distributed/remote I/O and fieldbus organizations have taken steps to develop application layer protocols that operate on the core layers of Ethernet. These advantages include easy integration with office IT and other devices; high bandwidth and large data packets; low cost; and remote configuration.

The largest 2005 worldwide distributed/remote I/O market shares with dedicated Ethernet-based bus/network application layer protocols were Modbus TCP, Ethernet/IP, and PROFInet. These rankings are not expected to change through 2010, although significant shipment growth is expected for products with these protocols.

"In addition to these, a number of other Ethernet application layer protocols have been introduced for industrial use and are gaining traction," says VDC analyst Jake Millette. "These lesser used networks, such as EtherCAT and Ethernet Powerlink, are starting to be implemented, particularly in applications requiring high-speed communication."

Millette notes that the decision by a distributed/remote I/O vendor or user of what Ethernet protocol to use can depend on the geographic region where used, the existing bus/network in place, and the application requirements. "The choice of protocol often comes down to familiarity with the bus or system associated with it," says Millette, "and there are many viable options in the market. Ultimately, the choice to migrate to Ethernet from traditional fieldbuses will allow for greater intelligence in distributed/remote I/O regardless of the brand."

Venture Development Corporation is an independent technology-market-research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in a number of industrial, embedded, component, retail automation, RFID, AIDC, datacom/telecom, and defense markets. For further information about "Industrial Distributed/Remote IO: Global Market Demand and User Requirements Analysis, Fourth Edition," contact Jim Taylor, director, group manager, e-mail: jimt@vdc-corp.com.

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