Network communication has become the largest application for cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) in both factory and process automation.
Shipments of industrial automation M2M devices with cellular communication capabilities will reach 760,000 worldwide in 2013, according to the "Industrial Automation and Wireless M2M," report from Berg Insight. Shipments are expected to reach 2.1 million by 2018 by a compound annual growth rate of 22.5%.
Remote service maintenance and diagnostics of machinery and industrial robots has become a major application in factory automation, while real-time monitoring of remote facilities and equipment has become most common in process automation.
Industrial automation applications including gateways, switches, connectors, routers and wireless access points featuring embedded cellular connectivity is the largest M2M device segment. Shipments of cellular network equipment reached 530,000 worldwide in 2013, according to the same report from Berg Insight.
Shipments of automation equipment featuring embedded cellular connectivity including machinery, industrial robots, RTUs, PLCs, DCSs, sensors, I/O modules and operator terminals reached 230,000 devices in 2013, according to the report. The number of cellular M2M connections in industrial automation applications is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23.2 percent from 2.5 million connections at the end of 2013 to 7.1 million connections by 2018.