HMI Inching Upward

Human-machine interface market to hit $590 million by 2006, ARC says

Dedham, MA  October 11, 2002  The human-machine interface (HMI) market is set to grow faster than the industrial automation market over the next five years as demand increases in the manufacturing environment for real-time information to power supply chain execution and other enterprise systems, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

In its study, "HMI Market Worldwide Outlook," ARC predicted that the HMI market will rise from $414 million in 2001 to nearly $590 million in 2006, outperforming the industrial automation market and growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3 percent over the next five years.

Today's HMI applications are taking on more of the attributes of the traditional supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) applications, where performance indicators such as key performance indicators (KPIs), real-time analysis and applications for manufacturing intelligence are becoming more important to optimize production processes and to hone productivity and efficiency.

In today's manufacturing environment, production process information is in demand more than ever, ARC said, and real-time information is required to power supply chain execution systems, quality assurance, maintenance and scheduling activities.

ARC sees a significant shift from client-server architectures that were usually confined to controls, HMI and supervisory domains, to the next generation of device-centric architecture that can provide much more accurate real-time snapshots of the production process.

Additionally, in today's Internet/intranet-based factory environment, libraries of Web services could provide the infrastructure for the exchange and transfer of plant floor information, ARC wrote. The analysts predict that the next generation of HMI solutions will use embedded intelligence and Web services.

"Significant contributing factors and emerging technologies will influence and contribute to growth in the HMI market," said Dick Slansky, a senior analyst at ARC and principal author of the ARC study.

According to Slansky, these factors include the adoption of Internet-based technology for distributed infrastructure, collaborative manufacturing architectures that will define the exchange of information from the embedded device level to enterprise tier applications, wireless HMI products, the incorporation of HMI software into integrated automation solutions and the need for interoperability across all systems and applications.