6 Key Industrial Technology Trends

April 7, 2023
ABI Research studies show significant growth trends around industrial cybersecurity, digital transformation, machine tools, supply chain IoT devices, augmented and virtual reality, and robots.

Industrial technology development and adoption have been growing at a rapid pace for years as businesses in nearly every industry vertical adapt to growing global competition, risks, and opportunities driven by a variety of developing factors. A recent report from ABI Research, a technology intelligence firm that focuses on transformative technologies, highlights 37 technology states.

For Automation World readers, six of these stats are particularly relevant and are detailed below.

Augmented and virtual reality

Though admitting past predictions for growth in the augmented and virtual reality markets have not panned out as any expected, ABI Research says 2023 and 2024 represent the strongest opportunities for the AR/VR market to flourish. This is due largely to growing perceptions of enterprise value in training and remote worker enablement in conjunction with increasing consumer availability and demand. ABI Research notes that some maturation is still required in both the AR and VR markets for these technologies to become more ubiquitous. However, the research group expects shipments of these devices to exceed 85 million units by 2027. Fewer than 20 million devices were shipped in 2022.

Consumer goods digitalization

While digital transformation spending in the processing industries, particularly oil and gas, is expected to grow by an 8.8% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over the next 10 years, ABI research predicts that, by 2027, such spending by consumer goods manufacturers will overtake spending by oil and gas producers.

“Spending by consumer goods manufacturers is forecast to grow by 14.9% CAGR as manufacturers look to digital technologies to help solve myriad challenges the firms face,” say ABI Research. “Particular investments include software to help firms monitor and optimize their energy consumption to become carbon-neutral operations as consumers will increasingly choose brands that can demonstrate they operate in a sustainable manner. In addition, uncertainties surrounding the availability and price of ingredients and raw materials will also result in consumer goods manufacturers not only investing in technologies to support efforts to have end-to-end visibility, but also to support efforts to perform scenario planning to successfully navigate the uncertain operating environment.”

Critical infrastructure security

ABI Research predicts OT (operations technology) and IoT (Internet of Things) security spending will increase from $8.88 billion in 2021 to $21.83 billion in 2027. Research indicates that Europe will see the highest cybersecurity spending growth rate among all regions, overtaking North America as the largest customer of OT and IoT security. ABI notes that the Asia-Pacific region spending in this area indicates the region’s “weaker appetite for investments and spending in OT” but that the cybersecurity market in this area of the world remains relatively strong.

ABI Research also notes that Latin America and the Middle East also have low spending levels related to industrial cybersecurity threats compared to Europe and North America.

Machine tools

The market for machine tools will reach US$222.9 billion in 2030 in manufacturing value added, according to ABI research. This growth will be driven by new product design facilitating the need for new machine tools, old equipment reaching the end of its lifecycle, and new machine tool technologies being provided along with upgrade incentives.

The machine tools market is supported by software vendors that help integrate smart machine tools into manufacturers’ production processes to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). The most notable players are Siemens, Rockwell Automation and Dassault Systèmes, according to ABI Research.

ABI research predicts the German machine tool market will see the highest CAGR—7.1%—due to automotive industry changes, such as the move the greater production of electric vehicles. On the other hand, ABI Research expects China, though still the largest machine tool market, will see the lowest growth of 4.3% CAGR due to continued macroeconomic headwinds, many of which are associated with COVID-19.


The total commercial and industrial robot base is currently estimated to be 3.5 million units in 2022, according to the International Federation of Robotics. ABI Research expects this number to grow to more than 20 million by 2030. “Global robot installations grew tremendously throughout 2021 and have continued to do so in 2022, reaching record levels for industrial and collaborative robots,” said ABI Research. However, the research group notes that this recent boom is expected to fade a bit in 2023 due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and inflation.

Supply chain IoT devices

Over the past three years, supply chain edge device technology has “matured enormously to create a web of device form factors and connectivity technologies for a very large range of use cases, from cargo monitoring and returnable transport asset tracking to container and railcar tracking,” notes ABI research. The research group expects this market to grow from just over $100 million in 2022 to more than $600 million by 2027. This growth will be driven by expansion of supply chain IoT technologies to allow even more asset types to be tracked at a lower cost point, driving the feedback loop toward more scale. As these new technologies begin to scale faster and as companies gather more data from more types of assets, ABI Research expects the focus to shift from new device development toward software and integration.

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