NanoMarkets provides market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets
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.
Assuming that the smart glasses concept takes off, NanoMarkets believes that it will open up significant business opportunities for suppliers of components and subsystems ranging from optical and audio devices, through sensors to processors of various kinds. These opportunities are of two types, which we will call “volume sales” and “value-added.” We profile these below.
September 24, 2014 Category: Emerging Electronics
NanoMarkets believes that, for the first time, this is now creating significant revenue generation potential for components and subsystems suppliers in the gestural recognition space. We are encouraged in this belief by the following trends and possibilities.
As in any evolving market, NanoMarkets expect to see increased consolidation and M&A activity at the intersections of smart grid & sensor functionalities -- smart metering, outage management systems, SCADA, data computing & analytics, and feeder automation -- as these proliferate within the broader evolution of the Internet-of-Things (IoT). This is especially likely as broad sensor manufacturers show keen interest in developing sensing solutions for smart grid applications, and as established companies from tangential industries (AT&T and Google, for example) seek to extend their reach into smart grids. At the same time, we also expect these advanced sensor technologies will expand the addressable market base, as suppliers seek avenues to cross-sell their products into other industries such as water, gas, transportation, and telecom.
September 18, 2014 Category: Emerging Electronics
The Internet-of-Things (IoT), a proliferation of multitudes of interconnected sensors and processors, is arguably the most disruptive shift in technology since the origination of the Internet itself. It's a complex universe spanning communications, identification, location tracking, and security, enabled by multitudes of electronic equipment & devices and sensors.
Several technology advancements have been driving the IoT. The brains of these devices (embedded chips) are becoming more sophisticated and cheaper, as have reliable communications capabilities. Another reason: cloud storage for data and applications. And as the IoT expands, there are huge new opportunities for manufacturers of power source devices to make it all run.
The solar panel industry now seems back on track following the boom-and-bust period. It's still a sector dominated by crystalline silicon, but the current upswing means that the search is on once more for materials platforms that improve the conversion efficiency of solar panels, and efforts have been rebooted to hone and ultimately commercialize these next-generation materials.
Some of them are close at hand, such as novel approaches to doping silicon panels. Meanwhile, the thin-film PV sector continues to seek success against entrenched c-Si; this could come from improvements to CdTe and CIGS, while other thin-film materials are beginning to receive serious commercial attention. The solar industry also is beginning to think out of the box with a slew of entirely new nanomaterials such as quantum dots, nanowires, nanotubes and graphene.
Here's a rundown of what we see emerging in next-gen solar PV materials