B&B surveys the wireless market

Gerald Niemi shared with me the results of a survey they ran on the B&B website in January of this year. I thought it would be interesting to share the results here, as well. 64% of respondents said that they had been researching wireless sensors for industrial monitoring. 45% said that they were actually considering deploying a wireless sensor network this year, while 43% said "not yet." Fewer than 5% said they'd "never" use wireless sensors. 69% said they'd be using wireless sensors in very harsh environments (like TSCTMNBN, yesterday). Most (37%) want DIN rail configuration, with a larage number (46%) saying they want battery (or very low power) operation. Right now, few respondent would install any more than 50 or so wireless sensors, but that conforms to Niemi's breakdown of the market (see yesterday's blog). But 58% of the respondents thought they'd save at least $100 per sensor going wireless, while 20% felt that the potential savings was greater than $500. Then we get to the hard questions. The survey participants didn't know much about Zigbee (IEEE802.15.4), and they also didn't know that much about protocols (the winner in the protocol question was something called "Straight" which might be analog, or might be something else...B&B doesn't know), and they don't seem to know much about the benefits of OPC and other software APIs either. One thing for sure, over 40% of the respondents wanted their sensors to be TCP/IP compatible. Curiously, two interesting facts emerged. Only about 25% of the survey respondents use National Instruments' LabView, which is unusual in that the survey respondents were self-selecting for "do it yourself" automation since they buy converters from B&B. The other interesting fact was that Allen-Bradley emerged as the PLC of choice of only about 13% of the respondents. In fact, if you take AutomationDirect (5%) and add in Other (10%) you get a larger number of users than A-B. This may be legitimate since Other included Koyo, which is well known to be the brand private labeled by AutomationDirect. This should make Rockwell sit up and take notice.