I have been conducting a number of interviews in preparation for ARC’s upcoming research study on the Machine Vision market. One supplier offered an insight which runs counter to a lot of the conventional wisdom about the Industrial Internet of Things, so I thought I’d explore it here. For this particular supplier, business was tepid in 2015. The supplier claimed that many of its customers are delaying capital expenditures because they are unclear of the magnitude of IIoT’s impact and if it will fundamentally change purchasing requirements.
Does this makes sense? Something like this plays out every day in consumer markets. I had a conversation recently with my father about getting a new iPhone (he has a 4s), as he just became eligible for a free upgrade. However, with the likely release of the iPhone 7 sometime in the fall, it seems prudent to defer until this new model is available. Why “settle” for a perfectly functional iPhone 6 when something better is right around the corner? Will his requirements change that dramatically? Just how much of an upgrade will the iPhone 7 actually be? What if the iPhone 7 is buggy at the beginning and needs to be patched? There is a merry-go-round of assumptions present in this scenario.
According to this machine vision supplier, a negative consequence of this period of evaluation in the vision market, is that overall market growth may actually slow in the short term. But longer-term outlooks are far rosier; even if there is a small blip as users alter their buying cycles, IIoT will be decidedly positive for machine vision.
ARC believes vision technology will be a key enabler for accessing more data during production runs. Too often in the market, the data drawn from vision solutions is analyzed and processed but not stored. Leveraging the vision sensor, smart camera, or vision system as an Internet of Things device will allow manufacturers to extend the usefulness of their data beyond real-time quality inspection. Data collected from the camera will be backed up to the cloud, allowing for long-term tracking and record-keeping of production trends. This merging of machine vision with Big Data and analytics will provide an engine for industry growth.
Is there a calm before the storm in your industry? Let me know if you are seeing the kind of dampening effect this supplier talked about – and let me know if that’s not the case.