Europe represents the largest and fastest growing smart sensors market and is projected to be worth $2.1 billion by 2010, according to Global Industry Analysts'(GIA) latest report, 'Smart Sensors: A Global Strategic Business Report'.
Accounting for the largest share of the global smart sensors market are smart flow sensors " GIA projects that the market for North American smart flow sensors alone will reach $660 million by 2010. The fastest growing product segment worldwide however is smart pressure sensors, where digital communications interfaces have enables features such as self-calibration and self-diagnostics.
Sensor networks and smart sensors are used widely in sectors such as automotive, medical, industrial, entertainment, security, and defence due to increased usage of process controls and sensing elements.
The report cites the example of the use of smart sensors in counter-terrorism, where applications include cargo tracking and biometrics. Meanwhile, a prime driver of smart sensors in the automotive industry is safety - smart systems can sense an impending crash, its nature, the presence of occupants, their position, and determine the type of airbags to be fired and the force and speed of their deployment.
Motion-tracking sensors and inertial sensors based on micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) are widely used in medical applications. Implantable devices and handheld devices for use in diagnostics and home monitoring are driving adoption in the sector.
The smart sensors market is dominated by a number of companies. Those that GIA cites are ABB, Analog Devices, Custom Sensors & Technologies (CST), Delphi Automotive Systems, Eaton Corp., Emerson Process Management, Honeywell, Infineon Technologies AG, Invensys PLC, Motorola, Oceana Sensor Technologies, Omron, Raytek, Robert Bosch Corp, Siemens AG, Vishay Intertechnology, Wilcoxon Research Inc., and Yokogawa.
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