Nov 25, 2020

Top growth opportunities in sensors and automation 2021

Paddy Smith
3 min
automation sensors
Frost & Sullivan outlines its top predictions for growth in the sensor and automation markets for 2021...

Automation lies at the core of digital transformation, and our ability to automate is being harnessed through increasingly sophisticated sensors. Consultancy Frost & Sullivan has put together a list of the five biggest growth opportunities in automation and sensors for 2021.

Overarching themes

Its report – Top 5 Technology Growth Opportunities in Sensors and Automation for 2021: what you need to know – suggests the key trends in sensor technology are miniaturisation, multi-parameter, and wireless sensing, while manufacturing systems are become smarter through intelligent data analysis and employing robots that work side-by-side with humans (cobots). It also points to improvements in ‘cognitive manufacturing’ with enhanced asset performance management, enhanced quality, resource optimisation and efficient supply chain management.

Sensors and automation: growth opportunity 1 – connected living

Sensor fusion, says Frost & Sullivan, will be at the heart of connected living, which combines smartphones and internet-connected appliances to create intelligent responses to environmental, geographical and human inputs. However, the report motions that beyond the smart doorbell, sensor fusion could be critical to military and defence applications and healthcare, as well as consumer electronics.

Sensors and automation: growth opportunity 2 – autonomous vehicles

Sensors play a driving role in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and the improvement of sensors and the interpretation of their data is critical in the journey towards truly autonomous vehicles. The reports authors suggest that beyond the futuristic thrill of being driven, the technology has serious applications for safety and independent transport for the infirm or visually impaired. It also hints at the large amount currently being invested in taxi-style services using autonomous fleets.

Sensors and automation: growth opportunity 3 – machine-to-machine sensor systems

The ongoing development of industry 4.0 is another growth area for 2021, according to the report, which cites an increase in sensor-led machine-to-machine communication, and the concept of machines knowing their physical environments, even as they adapt with moving parts and other machinery. “Sensors in Industry 4.0 are able to sense objects, processes, products, or environmental conditions to enable improved data sharing, connectivity, higher levels of automation, and mass customization,” it says.

Sensors and automation: growth opportunity 4 – cobotics transformation

The rise of the cobots – robots that work alongside humans without defined environmental boundaries is a key growth area, according to Frost & Sullivan. It points to ecommerce warehouses where cobots enable more efficient operation working alongside the regular warehouse staff. Sensory improvements in environmental awareness and tactility are driving factors.

Sensors and automation: growth opportunity 5 – digitisation and automation

Realtime analysis of data lies at the core of efficiency improvement, says the report. It goes on: “Cognitive manufacturing enables interaction between humans and machines in an industrial environment. It provides machines with cognitive capabilities and enables them to perform tasks that are normally possible only by humans. This includes cognitive technologies such as speech recognition, decision making, and translation between languages.”

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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