Printed, flexible and organic electronic (PFOE) sensors can offer flexible form factors, larger area, lower cost, lower power, and better disposability compared to conventional sensors, key attributes for wearable applications. These attributes will allow them to grow into a $244 million market in wearables, according to Lux Research.
"With players from Apple to Intel to Kickstarter-funded start-ups launching devices, wearables are getting hot, but they still need to add functionality while trimming cost and size to really go mainstream," said Jonathan Melnick, Lux Research Senior Analyst and lead author of the report titled, "Dial-Up Sensors: Printed, Flexible and Organic Sensors for the Things in the Internet of Things."
"Printed, flexible, and organic electronic sensors can play a key enabling role for wearables - though many technology developers still need to improve performance, reliability and lifetime," he added.
Lux Researchers analyzed the market for PFOE sensors across a wide variety of connected applications on the "Internet of Things" (IoT), include wearables, retail, transportation, and buildings. Among their findings:
- Wearable, retail sensors drive growth. Wearable sensors, particularly for health and fitness, will be the biggest segment for PFOE sensors, but retail sensors - with a $117 million market in 2024 - will clock the fastest growth, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50% through the next decade.
- Transportation, buildings remain small. Automotive and buildings, which have accounted for a lot of IoT hype, will be a bust for most PFOE sensors due to performance and reliability disadvantages and a limited addressable market.
- PFOE sensors face opportunities and challenges. Six types of IoT sensors may be suited for PFOE technologies: motion, pressure, gas, temperature, electromagnetic and optical. For each, the value proposition comes down to manufacturing, form factor size in each target application.