HMI Software Market Growth Seen Healthy Through 2010

Surge in growth will be driven by manufacturer's need for information, according to ARC Advisory Group study.

Increased demand for information to help manufacturers stay competitive will help the Human Machine Interface (HMI) software market, which totaled over $650 million in 2005 sales, to outperform the industrial automation market, and reach $1 billion in 2010, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

Although the HMI software market will see double- or near double-digit growth over the next two years, ARC is forecasting that this growth will slow over the following three years.
But, the HMI software services market is expected to grow faster than the total HMI Software market over the next five years.

"The last two years have been witness to growth rates near 20 percent. The corresponding effect on supplier’s market shares has been equally dramatic as some of the players shuffle positions in what has become a market separated by thousands of dollars,” according to ARC Analyst Stefan Surpitski, the principal author of ARC’s “Human Machine Interface Software Worldwide Outlook.”

A key manufacturing trend in the HMI software market centers around users of worldwide factory automation and enterprise computing solutions who are now placing a higher value on the information provided by the asset, rather than the asset itself, the study notes.

Manufacturer’s must contend with choosing the software and information platforms that will keep them globally competitive in both the short term and long term.

The fastest growing global markets for HMI software will be in the Asia Pacific and Latin American sectors, with CAGRs in the low- to mid-teens, the ARC report predicts. The growth in these developing markets is mostly due to greenfield installations, rather than expansions of existing systems. 

As China become more industrialized, the price of manufacturing has increased and this is compelling manufacturers to look for better methods of visualizing and managing  information in their manufacturing facilities.

In North America and EMEA, the HMI software market will only be growing at about half the rate of the developing regions, with only a few percentage points of the overall growth resulting from greenfield installations, according to ARC's report.

Another trend affecting the HMI software market growth is its role in enabling plant-wide interoperability.  HMI software was one of the driving forces in creating standards-based interoperability with the formation of the OPC Foundation 10 years ago, designed to help manufacturers reduce the cost of having to develop custom drivers between HMI software and devices on the plant floor, such as PLCs.

Due to the release of OPC Unified Architecture (UA), which is the new series of specifications for moving data and information from the plant floor to the enterprise, HMI software sales are expected to increase, the ARC study predicts.

OPC-UA is intended to expand the framework for moving information between HMI software and applications in the enterprise space by taking the existing OPC specifications and integrating them all together, leveraging web services as the key technology enabler in the new architecture.