Robotics, IoT and 3D printing set for boom years

10 Jan 2017

Image: Skoropadska Maruna/Shutterstock

Studies into various areas of technology have found that robotics, IoT and 3D printing are due quite an end to the decade, as spending soars.

Last year was a significant one in terms of where the latest technology is heading, with virtual reality and the internet of things (IoT) finally feeling the full force of industry power.

Looking beyond 2016, robotics and 3D printing are set to enter the fray as they too gear up for years of innovation.

Do the robot

Market analyst IDC estimates that spending on robotics and related services will more than double by 2020, growing from $91.5bn in 2016 to more than $188bn in 2020.

IDC claims that spending data on robotic systems, system hardware, software, robotics-related services and after-market robotics hardware is what will cause the figure to swell, as tributaries to the standard robotics diversify amid an age of added sensors.

John Santagate, research manager at IDC, claims this “tremendous growth” is fuelled by various complementary elements, highlighting technology improvements, expanded use cases and acceptance in the market, in particular.

“Innovators in the field of robotics are delivering robots that can be used to perform a broader range of tasks, which is helping to drive the adoption of robotics into a wider base of industries,” he said.

3D printing

Elsewhere, the niche field of 3D printing is set to develop into mainstream practice at the same time, with a compound interest growth rate of more than 22pc expected until the end of the decade.

IDC estimates more than $13bn worth of 3D printing-related purchases in 2016, with the market expected to grow to $28.9bn by the end of the decade.

“As the 3D printing market matures, major trends are no longer confined to North America. Regions like western Europe and Asia/Pacific are driving stronger levels of spending across different industries,” said IDC’s Christopher Chute.

Of course, IoT remains the big daddy of the technology scene, with its current industry value of $737bn expected to soar to $1.29trn. Given the breadth of the industry, taking in connected anything, this scale is understandable.

Consumer spend

What’s helping the drive in IoT is the fact that it’s already maturing, with consumer purchases of IoT products – currently a distant fourth in terms of IoT segmentation – set for a particularly interesting few years.

“A fairly close relationship exists between high-growth IoT use cases in consumer product and service-oriented verticals like retail, insurance and healthcare,” said Marcus Torchia, research manager at IDC.

“In some cases, these are green-field opportunities with tremendous room to run. As a whole, the IoT opportunity is a diverse, developing marketplace for vendors and end users alike.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic