Frost & Sullivan has released its three big predictions for the industrial automation and process control market. The company believes energy efficiency and sustainability, smart technologies and the influence from BRIC and other emerging economies will be the key topics in 2012 and beyond.

The predictions are based on a survey of several hundred companies conducted in December 2011. Muthukumar Viswanathan, director for automation and process control at Frost & Sullivan, said: “Energy efficiency, advanced technology and geo-economics will transform the face of industrial automation in the future. Along with sustainability, these factors are set to influence product design, project cost and service capabilities of industrial automation vendors in the next-generation enterprise.”

The growing focus on the implementation of energy efficient solutions in both process and discrete industries will  promote sustainable manufacturing. Energy efficiency concerns will dominate business in the electric motors market, with class IE3 energy efficiency – a stricter requirement compared to class IE2 energy efficiency – required in 2015.

Factories of the future will be driven by megatrends such as cloud computing, cyber security and mobile and wireless communication technologies. The need for higher productivity will drive organisations to implement greater interaction between the factory floor and enterprise across all end-users.  

BRIC and other emerging economies across the globe are likely to sustain high growth in industrial automation markets. Opportunities connected with the modernisation of old infrastructure also exist in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe.