Simplicity and Cost to Maintain Fieldbus Dominance Even as Industrial Ethernet Nodes Grow to 90 Million Opening New IoT Opportunities

01 Jul 2015

​ABI Research estimates the installed base of Industrial Ethernet connected nodes to grow at 17% and surpass 90 million by 2020. ABI Research analyzes the current rate of adoption and the state-of-the-art of the most popular industrial communication protocols, investigating fieldbus, Industrial Ethernet, and wireless technologies.

According to Research Analyst Eugenio Pasqua, “Industrial Ethernet protocols provide higher data-rates and simplify the network architecture compared to conventional fieldbuses. However, the main driver of their growing adoption is they allow an easier and better integration of OT and IT systems, a fundamental step that will elevate industrial markets to the opportunities possible from connectivity and IoT applications and services.”

ABI Research does not see Industrial Ethernet technologies completely substituting conventional fieldbuses but rather complementing them in industrial networks. While Industrial Ethernet is expected to eventually take over at the control network level, when it comes to connecting field-level equipment like sensors, actuators, valves and motors to control systems, traditional fieldbuses still represent the simplest and the cheapest option. Wireless nodes are expected to represent a minor piece of the pie, although they could become a viable alternative to fieldbuses in the near future.

“PROFIBUS among the fieldbuses and PROFINET among the Industrial Ethernet protocols are expected to maintain the largest installed base during the next 5 years, with HART, Modbus, and AS-i on one side, and Ethernet / IP and Modbus TCP on the other side following closely,” concludes Pasqua.

These findings are from the Industrial Communication Protocols: Technological Analysis and Forecasts report, which is part of the M2M and IoT Platforms and Services Market Research.

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