Machine vision vendors experienced a strong 2014, with revenues growing 7 percent over 2013 to $4.4 billion, backed by a sharp increase in machine vision hardware and services-related sales. According to new global market analysis by VDC Research, hardware revenues – including those derived from smart cameras, industrial cameras, vision sensors, and turnkey machine vision systems – account for more than 63 percent of overall global revenues (click here for more info). VDC forecasts global revenues to increase to $5.8 billion by 2018 at a CAGR of more than 7%. However, no single participant accounted for more than 10% of overall revenues, highlighting the fragmented nature of this space. The ability to provide application-specific expertise via turnkey offerings is what will help vendors differentiate from the competition. Systems integrators with domain expertise and application developers will be highly sought-after.
The competitive landscape will only get bigger and more fragmented as image sensor prices drop even further. There is a distinct possibility of industrial scanner vendors adding to their existing product lines and extending into the highly opportunistic and specialized machine vision market. VDC believes hardware innovation alone is no longer a sustainable business development and growth strategy in this market. Vendors will have to look beyond their traditional focus areas in this new era of big data and the connected factory, and expand aggressively into new verticals and application environments while also enhancing their solution portfolios to include software and services. This is in support of applications including product identification and verification, quality assurance and control, and surface inspection.
In the near term, organizations will require services that go beyond installation and deployment to also include functions related to ensuring that data collected can be transformed into real-time intelligence from which tactical and strategic decisions can be made. VDC envisions a future where machine vision vendors leverage the expertise of leading big data analytics firms in order to solve real-world manufacturing challenges.
“There is an inherent need for seamless device integration and communication to facilitate accurate data capture, transmission, processing, and analysis,” said VDC Senior Analyst Richa Gupta. “Vendors that can enable their customers to leverage the millions of terabytes of data being generated via sensors such as cameras to more accurately predict future production requirements will be most successful in the long run.”
The need for process automation and operational consistency on the manufacturing shop floor has never been more pronounced. To remain competitive in today’s global economy, VDC maintains that enterprises need to make strategic investments that will help them achieve their production goals while eliminating inefficiencies. Machine vision solutions are a critical factor in that equation. VDC’s research clearly shows that rapid advancements in camera technology (including image capture, data acquisition, and hardware pricing), coupled with growing reliance on automation for defect prevention and quality assurance, will contribute to high growth rates through the next five years.
About VDC Research:
VDC Research is a leading technology market analyst firm covering the connected world. Founded in 1971, the firm provides market intelligence to the world’s leading technology vendors, who rely on VDC analysts for winning market strategies and technology adoption decisions. With unmatched domain expertise and rigorous primary research methodologies, VDC enables clients to find new opportunities for growth and make critical decisions with confidence. Based on a unique blend of quantitative and qualitative analysis that offer granularity and breadth of coverage, VDC is organized around five practice areas, each with its own focused area of coverage.