As sensors become increasingly more pervasive in our everyday lives, many say that sensing technologies will represent a transformational tidal wave of which we are only beginning to witness the onset. After the PC and the smart phone revolutions, are we about to witness the Sensors Revolution? And if so, what impact is it going to have on our daily lives?
At the onset of Sensors EXPO in Chicago, here is what Roger Grace, president of Roger Grace Associates and analyst of the MEMS market, had to say to Sensors Magazine:
“I believe the sensor community is at a point of incredible opportunity to support a gigantic range of applications (…) we engineers are the mechanism of empowering our world to have a higher quality of life with better medical care, with better nutrition, and with lower reliance on fossil fuel and a lower carbon footprint.”
Indeed, as highly efficient, value-added sensor applications permeate all dimensions of our environment, from cars to consumer devices, from homes to buildings, from cities to industries, it is hard not to think that the world before and after the massive deployment of sensors will be sensibly different and, hopefully, a better place for its population.
Are sensors going to “transform the next decade economy”, as envisioned by the theme of the next T-Sensors Summit, and lead us towards abundance for mankind? While not everyone may share this idealistic vision, sensors are seen by most observers as an exponential technology: sensor deployment exploded from 1B in 2007 to 10B in 2014, and its growth path is expected to reach the mark of a trillion sensors deployed within the next decade. New or improved sensor technologies are also identified as a key enabler for multiple other technologies, hence accelerating innovation in many other fields.
Clearly, sensors in consumer goods may get a lot of press coverage, such as wearables sporting vitals and health-related sensors, or the much publicized Nest Thermostat. But it is in the industrial sector where sensors may well have the deepest structural and economic impacts in the near future. The Huffington Post recently made a strong case for what many credible industry observers have described as the New Industrial Revolution, where “…smart technology, which uses embedded sensors and integrated software to collect plant operations and supply chain data, analyze that data and drive real-time improvements in production, procurement and processes.”
The industrial convergence of sensors and the internet of things, which is opening the path to truly “smart” manufacturing processes, has need referred to as the Industrial Internet or Industry 4.0 – namely: the fourth industrial revolution. According to Strafor, a geopolitical intelligence firm that provides strategic analysis and forecasting, its impact will be transformational: “Whatever the name, the result will profoundly affect global trade patterns, supply chains and societies (…) This Fourth Industrial Revolution will change manufacturing, industry and society.”
There seems to be an agreement that the global industrial landscape –and so much more along the way- could be radically transformed by this technological shift involving sensors. LeddarTech is a prime witness of this innovative drive, as we develop deeper business relationships with leading players from various industries that aim to develop new sensor-based applications which will contribute to improving our quality of life, our safety, our efficiency, our environment.
Much more than just a witness, we are actively involved in this innovation process: our core purpose is to provide these partners with the most efficient detection and ranging technology enabling the design and the integration of smarter, more efficient, lower cost sensing devices within their novel application.
Just like with any technological or industrial revolution, the multiple implications on our daily lives of the widespread sensor deployments ahead could hardly be predicted with any level of certainty. Yet looking forward, we can certainly envision that our world will be going through significant transformations as we sail towards the trillion sensor era.
At LeddarTech, we feel privileged to be part of this exhilarating sensors revolution, which has the potential to open the path towards a better future.