Is this the year of the sensor?

December 09, 2019 // By William G. Wong
With the Internet of Things market evolving, 2019 has truly become the year of the sensor. Without sensors, computers would have no input. And with garbage sensors, we have garbage in and, hence, garbage out. Good, reliable sensors are invaluable to designers.

As such, sensors are becoming evermore complex and inherent to the success of the Internet of Things (IoT). Editor Bill Wong talked with Jen Gilburg, Senior Director of Strategy, Sensor Solutions, at TE Connectivity, about sensor technology, specifically where we are and where we’re headed.

Why is 2019 the year of the sensor?

If you look at the evolution of IoT in the market, much of the early conversation focused on what to do with the data, the analytics, AI, etc., and how this would drive ROI.

Jen Gilburg, Senior Director of
Strategy, Sensor Solutions,
TE Connectivity.

From predictive analytics, to building maintenance, to smart-X, the early proof of concepts (PoC) focused on demonstrating WHAT you can do with the data and not about HOW you acquire it. Since the ROI is now proven, the next logical focus area is ensuring the quality, security, and accuracy of the data to inform your process. This is where sensors play a critical role.

TE Connectivity has focused on this critical element of IoT, which has only accelerated as the industry drives toward complete end-to end-solutions. According to a Million Insights report, the industrial IoT (IIoT) market is expected to reach $922.62 billion by 2025 as a result of greater factory efficiency and productivity, which makes IoT business cases far more compelling in 2019 and beyond.

What do you see as the biggest growth areas for IoT? 

Gartner predicts more than 65% of enterprises will adopt various IoT applications by 2020. Especially in the consumer industry you’re seeing the race between large tech firms to control the smart-home environment. Within the large-scale industrial industry, smart-city and smart-agriculture solutions are emerging. Projects are now evolving from the PoC phase and into “field trials” that are established to test larger-scale implementation. From what we’ve observed, the use cases that have the fastest adoption also have the most obvious ROI. These include asset tracking, cold chain processes, and condition-monitoring applications where full-scale deployments are happening.

Are there any collaboration initiatives occurring to ensure that the IoT ecosystem is working together?

Collaboration is now more important than ever. Companies are realizing they need to partner to provide end-user value via a full end–to-end solution. In some cases, this means that companies are working together to deliver on specific use cases while, at the same time, competing on other opportunities. The partnership model for IoT is evolving as most companies in the industrial and sensor space do not have readily available partner support or the necessary resources, requiring collaboration to be successful.

In the end, the companies having the most success are those that have developed a partnership ecosystem. And, this ecosystem will continue to evolve, which will push traditional sensor, industrial, and hardware suppliers to realize that successful IoT applications will be driven by a strong partner program.

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