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Combo sensors to grab wider market appeal

Posted: 06 Jan 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Research and Markets  combo sensor  Movea  Wifislam  CSR 

Research and Markets has released its "6 and 9-Axis Sensors Consumer Inertial Combo Sensors" report revealing the trend towards function delivery as regards the sensor market, highlighting the expanding embedded sensor fusion segment. Recent acquisition of companies that include Movea, Wifislam or CSR is indicative of the high interest in sensor fusion and the Internet of Things, added the market analyst.

A lot of factors are considering fusion sensors as a way to make sensors smart, because competition isn't on performance any more, but in functions/applications. Companies need to add value to their sensors with software solutions. There has been hype about this for many years, but now we're starting to see commercial implementation. The first real products with sensor fusion are already on the market, such as sensor hubs in the latest smartphones and tablets from Samsung and more recently from Apple, with the M8 processor in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In addition, GPS chipsets with indoor navigation capability relying on MEMS sensors are available from CSR, Qualcomm and Broadcom.

2013 and 2014 have continued the growth of combo sensors, and cellphones and tablets are still driving this market. This market growth will tend to slow down in coming years, but new applications, such as wearables, will enable stabilisation of the overall market. Other markets, such as gaming, were quite promising but cellphones and tablets are competing really hard, and that's impacted growth harshly. Fast growing niche markets, such as drones, are expected to have a positive future, especially thanks to easy integration of 9-axis combos. Combo solutions are being slowly introduced with the wearable market a major target.

Two types of different sensor combo are emerging: closed sensor hubs (inertial, magnetic) and open sensor hubs (pressure, gas, temperature), each has a different sensing structure. Combining all these pressure sensing, health sensors, processing units and RF capabilities is a huge challenge. Sensor hubs are therefore an opportunity for discrete sensors to withstand the combo threat. They promise low power consumption and can combine several sensors without integration constraints.

The combo sensor market is estimated at $420 million in 2013, $585 million in 2014, growing to $1.4 billion in 2019. This represents 28 per cent of the global inertial consumer market in 2014, and will grow to almost 60 per cent by 2019. While smartphones and tablets are still driving volume increases and adoption of combos, the picture should be different in 2019. Combo sensors will take a significant portion of total market share, but opportunities will remain for discrete sensors, from accelerometers used in basic activity trackers to gyroscopes for camera module stabilisation.

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