Expanding Usage of USB, Ethernet, Firewire, and Wireless Networks in Data Acquisition is Expected

4/29/2003 - A new report from Venture Development Corporation (VDC) finds that purchasers of external chassis & module data acquisition products expect to be making significantly greater usage of the Universal Serial Bus (USB), Ethernet, Firewire (IEEE-1394), and wireless networks for data communication.

The report is based on an extensive survey of purchasers (end users, OEMs, and others) of data acquisition products that probed their current requirements, and likely requirements four years from now. Products covered in the investigation included:

Among purchasers of the external chassis and modules, significant shifts are expected in the communication networks they expect to be using. Much of this will be driven by altering performance requirements. Higher data rates will be needed as requirements go up on sample data rates, the number of parameters being monitored, and as resolution requirements increase. Not all the change will be driven by these needs, however, as ease of installation, ease of usage, and price also will be drivers in the market.

VDC found under 10% of the external chassis & module data acquisition product purchasers to currently be using wireless networks. Thirty percent expect to be using these in 2007. Most of this usage is expected to be of Bluetooth and the IEEE 802.11 series of wireless LANs. Bluetooth, and the IEEE 802.11, IEEE 802.11b, and IEEE 802.11g networks operate in the 2.4 GHz spectrum. IEEE 802.11a operates in the 5 GHz spectrum. IEEE 802.11b can transmit data at 11 Mbps, and IEEE 802.11a and IEEE 802.11g at 54 Mbps. Bluetooth has a much lower data rate capability (below 1 Mbps) and short range operation of about 30 meters maximum.

Among the survey respondents the current usage shares, and expected usage shares in 2007 were found to be:

Share of Respondents Using
Currently Expected in 2007
IEEE 802.21g-9%
IEEE 802.11b5%9%
IEEE 802.11a3%8%
IEEE 802.112%7%

The high growth in Bluetooth usage expectations was an unexpected finding. An earlier study by VDC found limited market penetration likely for Bluetooth in factory monitoring and control, due to the low bandwidth, limited range, and potential for interference with IEEE 802.11 systems that also operate in the 2.4 GHz band. This survey finding may show there to be fairly significant niche market potential for Bluetooth in limited bandwidth, relatively short range data acquisition applications.

The interest in Bluetooth and the other wireless networks appears broad based across many industries and applications. There appears to be particularly strong interest for military/aerospace equipment testing and monitoring, such as for spacecraft, missiles, rotorcraft vibration monitoring, wind tunnel monitoring, etc. Other areas of strong interest are for medical equipment and analytical instruments, in process monitoring, in testing of products such as batteries, hydraulic cylinders, motors, and power systems, and in building monitoring of HVAC, lighting, power.

About VDC
Founded in 1971, VDC is a technology market research and consulting firm that specializes in industrial and commercial electronics, computing, communications, software and power system markets.

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