NanoMarkets provides market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets
February 18, 2015 Category: Smart Technology
Radiation detection has long been established in healthcare and medical fields, and has gained prominence in the past few years in military and domestic security areas. However, several well-known and newer industrial applications represent some of the best growth and revenue opportunities for radiation detection systems, to detect and monitor radiation levels both in the environment and in or near facilities, including personnel.
Several industrial processes already regularly utilize radiation detection equipment, from measuring production lines to constantly checking personnel radiation exposures, to identify defects through non-destructive testing (NDT) methods. These sectors include energy generation, radiopharmacy, resource exploration (oil/gas and mining), and automotive & aerospace.
February 18, 2015 Category: Renewable Energy
Surveying the OPV landscape today, we still see a sector striving to make early lab-scale results translate into real-world products. The goalposts clearly have pushed back yet again. However, there are some encouraging signs that the technology really is moving closer to commercial readiness -- and perhaps even knocking on the doorstep, if one believes the most optimistic views -- enough to put some early market traction within reach.
Among the various markets for radiation detection equipment, by far the largest is medical and healthcare applications, accounting for two-thirds of this sector. On the one hand it's a relatively established end market with clearly addressable usage cases. On the other hand, growth rates aren't as high as in other sectors such as domestic security or certain industrial processes, which require (often specialized) environmental monitoring capabilities.
Nevertheless, we see the medical and healthcare sector remaining a primary revenue generator for suppliers of radiation detection technologies. The market for X-ray imaging systems continues to be very strong for detecting low to high-energy photons coming out of tissues or bones (biological samples), especially in developing nations where these tests are cost-effective, efficient and quick.
We envision growth mainly will be for X-ray and for neutron systems. Gamma ray imaging has long been used in medical applications -- apart from nuclear imaging systems, no other modality including radiology can aid in identifying malignancy -- but we see more broadly its use in radiography as diminishing.
The smart coatings industry is now facing some issues that seemed almost unfathomable up until recently. The sudden decline in oil prices has not only taken the steam out its energy efficiency story but threatens to curb the resurgent green tech sector where self-healing and self-cleaning coatings had viable applications. Throw in a slowing global economy and you get the sense that the industry needs to look at other growth options. NanoMarkets believes that the emergent Internet-of-Things is an area that might drive demand for the types of smart and highly functional coatings that generate the high value product sales.
November 18, 2014 Category: Emerging Electronics
In our previous article examining sensors and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), we identified the key IIoT sensing requirements (e.g., cost, power consumption, reliability, security) and the companies we expect to assume leadership positions in delivering them, from today's big conglomerates to entrepreneurial sensor startups. Here we expand the view to examine the end markets in which these capabilities are coalescing, and thus define the real opportunities for the IIoT.
The “Industrial Internet” is a term originally coined by GE, but now widely used and embodies the concept of industrial environments that are automated using sensor networks and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The Industrial Internet is also closely associated with concept of the Internet-of-Things (IoT). Indeed, the Industrial Internet could be thought of as the IoT restricted to industrial situations, acknowledging that these situations have special needs. Although there is no accepted applicability of “Industrial Internet,” NanoMarkets think it reasonable to assume that Industrial Internets will increasingly be found in factory automation, commercial building automation, the energy industry and public transport of various kinds.
These are different settings in many ways, but NanoMarkets believes that they are all increasingly share a need for rugged networks that connect up complex machines with the purpose of enhancing efficiency, profitability and safety. The hidden assumption behind Industrial Internet concept is that a common platform with similar sensor infrastructure could serve for these many different applications.
October 20, 2014 Category:
Transparent displays have been around for a very long time in the form of heads-up displays (HUDs) in aircraft and (to a limited extent) in retail displays, markets seen as too tiny by the large display makers and largely left to smaller firms and niche technologies. In the past two or three years, however, NanoMarkets notes that transparent display technology has been edging towards the mainstream, thanks to both a push from the supply side and a pull from the demand side:
NanoMarkets sees smart clothing poised to emerge into the spotlight and becoming a significant revenue generator for various levels in the supply chain, from materials suppliers to retailers. The key lies in the progress of development and commercialization of new and improved fabrics and sensors that are the essential building blocks for the capabilities -- and value -- of various smart clothing products. Three main barriers historically have been, and continue to be, at the center of development for "smart clothing" to pave the way for mass adoption: improved connectivity between modules, improved washability of smart fabrics, and standardized protocols. Thus, here also lies the opportunity for both materials and sensor manufacturers to develop new and improved types of smart fabrics and sensors: from lighter, soft flexible sensors to functional fabrics, conductive polymers, and even fibertronics that can function without the need for sensors.
Within the emerging category of wearable computing, arguably the most characteristic product to emerge is "smart glasses" which mesh the communications capabilities of smartphones with additional visual and other sensual enhancements, including augmented reality. The primary selling feature of smart glasses is their ability to display video, navigation, messaging, augmented reality (AR) applications, and games on a large virtual screen, all completely hands-free. The current poster child for smart glasses is Google’s "Glass" product, but there are more than 20 firms offering smart glasses or planning to do so.
The hands-free nature of smart glasses opens up new possibilities for human-computer interfaces (HCI), drawing from smart phones as well as interfaces developed in other contexts (e.g. virtual reality). Early smart glasses models are leaning on mature and low-cost technologies with notable influence from smartphones; however we see a gradual trend for smart glasses (and other wearable computing devices) to be driven by more natural interface controls, once these technologies have time to mature as well -- and they're getting remarkably close.
October 14, 2014 Category: OLEDs
The fledgling industry for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) industry is now entering a phase of concerted efforts to achieve commercialization on a wider scale. OLED lighting is inching toward mass production, particularly for industrial and large-scale applications, despite a relatively lower demand for OLED products compared to LED solutions -- for now. Office and residential lighting segments are often touted as the most preferred fits for OLED lighting technology, where OLEDs promise better aesthetics and architectural integration compared to LEDs and incandescent lights. These markets would seem most ready to pay a premium for such capabilities.
Long-term, however, NanoMarkets sees another end market emerging strongly for OLED lighting opportunities: the automotive industry, both for exterior and interior usage.