Tom Moore of IMS Research Clarifies their Position on Ethernet vs Fieldbus
IMS Research, now part of IHS, recently published a market forecast report that looked at the future of various fieldbus protocols and the growing role of Ethernet in industrial networks. That report caused quite a stir in the industry because it seemed to predict the imminent downfall of fieldbus, which would in the future be replaced with “Ethernet”. Of course, the terms “Ethernet” and “fieldbus” are not mutually exclusive, and I had some commentary and analysis of my own that you can read in this blog post.
Now, IMS research analyst Tom Moore and author of the report, has some clarifications about the IMS research findings and states the following in a recent blog post that you can read here:
“Although the research findings questioned the long-term sustainability of fieldbus in certain applications, we certainly haven’t forecast the impending doom of the technology. In fact, new fieldbus node connections will continue to grow healthily to 2016. From a recent IHS press release, “The future is strong for fieldbus, with new connections still increasing year-on-year. The growth rate for new fieldbus nodes is forecast to be just over 9 percent to 2016.”
Personally, I do not think it was the intention of IMS Research to foretell the doom of fieldbus, and if you look at the actual numbers presented in the report it does show continued growth for fieldbus over the next several years. The problem in my opinion is that people tend to latch onto the term “Ethernet” and view it as a panacea for everyone’s network requirements. Yes, many plant networks today, even FOUNDATION fieldbus HSE, are based on Ethernet. So, the discussion is not one of “fieldbus versus Ethernet”. It is rather a discussion of Ethernet and standard IP-based networks in automation versus other networks.