Manufacturing AUTOMATION

HMI software and services market driven by new mobile devices and server deployment

November 7, 2011
By ARC Advisory Group

As the global economy stabilized in 2010, the worldwide HMI software and services industry experienced strong order recovery and growth. Higher HMI software and services revenues were driven by growing industrial demand for energy efficiency and sustainability. Modernization requirements to improve manufacturing productivity and safety, as well as investments for new and upgraded power and infrastructure projects, also drove growth, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

As HMI software shifts from standalone computing towards client/server architecture, demand for the ability to view and/or control a process via the Internet or corporate intranets increase dramatically.

“Demand continues to increase for HMI ‘thin-client’ products, which users utilize to view and/or control a process from a computer or browser-embedded device on which no HMI software is installed. These thin-client HMI products and solutions also enable end users to remotely and securely visualize and execute applications from any location around the globe,” according to ARC research director Craig Resnick, the principal author of ARC’s “Human Machine Interface Software and Services Worldwide Outlook” study.

Operating systems, such as Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, as well as Blackberry’s OS, are the foundations for a great majority of the smart phones and tablet PCs. These devices can be used for thin client browser access to view HMI data. However, when the HMI software package itself is embedded in a smart phone or tablet PC, the device typically will be running an operating system capable of supporting real-time applications without extensions. This is why HMI software and services providers are playing an increasing role of providing solutions for fulfilling this fast growing market demand of deploying mobile devices for HMI visualization.


Original equipment manufacturers are an important customer type and a key market for HMI software and services. Examples of OEM applications include plastics or packaging machinery where the machinery supplier purchases HMI software products, embeds them in its machines, and then sells the machines to the end user as a value-added product. As an example, growing global consumer pull for additional SKUs and more sophisticated packaging requirements are spurring new food and beverage applications, which will increase the demand for OEM packaging machinery to support this market growth. This trend will increase demand for HMI software and services for both on-machine and M2M applications, according to the study.

Demand for improved collaboration between suppliers, customers, production management and plant floor operation is driving the shift to server-based platforms and solutions. Remote HMI software viewing and control capabilities, increased interaction with legacy systems, and plant control information made more accessible to enterprise applications, is driving this shift. These collaboration-enabling solutions, which are typically server-based, provide the ability to view the entire system via an HMI visualization and production management system that can bring together, for example, all real-time data, historical data, lab data and business data, into an operation’s portal. This is done to improve the user’s capability to acquire concise and relevant information very quickly, as well as for management and operations to be alerted for issues that require their attention, along with the ability to access that information anytime, from anywhere.

For more information on this study, visit

Print this page


Story continue below