The war is over and we have won. The war of handheld communication devices loose in the wilds of a plant, that is. Remember only a few years ago–like maybe two–when there was much angst in the media (except from me) about bringing handheld mobile communication into the plant? Now vendors are tripping all over themselves bringing out cool new toys to help maintenance, operations, and engineering do their jobs.
Here is a new tool from ABB. ABB has taken the next step with its Field Information Manager – the first FDI based Device Management tool in the market, with the introduction of its Field Information Manager 1.1 Handheld Edition. This easy-to-use software is now available for sale. The Handheld Edition makes it possible for the user to do configuration, parametrization and diagnosis of the HART instruments in many locations – in the field, at the back of the panel / junction box or in the instrumentation laboratory.
The Field Information Manager is designed to help users be more efficient in the configuration and management of their smart devices. Users do not need to invest in proprietary handheld terminal hardware; this eliminates the extra expense of proprietary hardware and significantly reduces lifecycle maintenance costs. The Field Information Manager can be installed on any Windows tablet / laptop / computer, thereby multiple instrumentation programs can be installed on a single machine. It is very quick to install and saves time for instrument and service technicians. Users can get started in less than three minutes, and can download all needed packages and files at www.abb.com/fieldinfo at any time.
Production technology vendors are really getting wise to the modern world about online stores. Field Information Manager Store and Print device configuration allows easy transfer of parameters from one device to another and eliminates manual recording of parameters.
Other key features of the Field Information Manager Handheld Edition include: Interoperability based on FDI components Online and offline parametrization Documentation of parameters and settings Novel concepts for ease of use and navigation with touch support ABB instrumentation FDI Device Packages ready to download Generic HART Device Package for all HART devices Supports installed base – DD/EDD files Visit www.abb.com/fieldinfo to learn more.
Just like there is a difference between industrial and consumer Internet of Things, there is a difference between connected wearable devices for industrial and consumer use.
Honeywell Process has shown the media examples of various geo-location wearable devices for several years to assist responders during an incident. Personnel have been wearing a variety of communication devices for years.
Consumer applications will, of course, continue to capture the most interest. People involved in manufacturing do tend to take these consumer ideas and often turn them into useful applications for manufacturing.
According to a new report from the research firm Berg Insight, shipments of connected wearables reached 19.0 million in 2014, up from 5.9 million devices in the previous year. Growing at a compound annual growth rate of 54.7 percent, total shipments of smartwatches, smart glasses, fitness & activity trackers, people monitoring & safety devices and medical devices as well as other wearable devices are forecasted to reach 168.2 million units in 2019. Bluetooth will remain the primary connectivity option in the coming years, but nonetheless, a total of 16.6 million of the wearables shipments in 2019 are forecasted to incorporate embedded cellular connectivity, mainly in the smartwatch and people monitoring & safety categories.
Fitness & activity trackers is the largest device category and shipments reached 13.0 million units in 2014. The market leading vendors Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin have in the past year been joined by an abundance of companies including major players from the smartphone industry such as LG, Huawei, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony and Xiaomi which have released fitness & activity trackers. “This product category is now facing fierce competition from smartwatches that have activity tracking features. Decreasing prices and new form factors will still enable dedicated fitness & activity trackers to reach shipments of 42.0 million units in 2019,” said Johan Svanberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight.
A new breed of smartwatches became available in 2014 when high profile Android Wear smartwatches from Sony, LG, Motorola and Asus entered the market to compete with existing offerings from Pebble and Samsung. “Smartwatches are already the second largest category of connected wearables and sales will pick up considerably in 2015. The Apple Watch will enter the market and other major smartphone vendors will launch next generation Android Wear devices”, comments Mr. Svanberg. Traditional watch vendors will also enter the market in the coming years, both with smartwatches capable of running third party applications as well as traditionally styled watches with basic smartphone notification features. Improved devices available in different price segments will drive adoption in the next five years and smartwatches is predicted to become the largest device category by the end of the forecast period.
Shipments of smart glasses have so far been very modest, but promising use cases in specific markets such as enterprise and medical as well as in niche segments of the consumer market will enable smart glasses to become the third largest category of connected wearables in the next five years.
“The opportunities are plentiful – improved imaging capability together with hands-free operation, real-time communication and augmented reality functionality would for example make smart glasses a serious contender on the action camera market”, said Mr. Svanberg.
Connected wearables such as cardiac rhythm management devices, ECG monitors, mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems (mPERS) and wearable computers are already common in the medical, people monitoring and enterprise segments.
Furthermore, miniaturised electronics, low power wireless connectivity and cloud services have inspired a wide range of new connected wearables such as authentication and gestures wristbands, notification rings, smart motorcycle helmets and smart gloves. “Most of these products are still experimental, but in a few years’ time there will be many examples of new successful devices on the market”, concluded Mr. Svanberg.
Download report brochure: Connected Wearables
Berg Insight is a dedicated M2M/IoT market research firm based in Sweden. It has been specializing in all major M2M/IoT verticals such as fleet management, car telematics, smart metering, smart homes, mHealth and industrial M2M since 2004.