With time and the incorporation of different technologies, wireless sensor networks have advanced. Undoubtedly, it has become one of the crucial technologies in the 21st century. Along with data acquisition and processing, measuring amplifiers, and associated software, wireless sensors are now being used for monitoring the health of a range of engineered structures, such as dams, wind turbines, buildings, oil & gas pipes and rigs, aero engines, bridges, and tunnels. The sensors can be integrated with microelectromechanical systems and other embedded systems for better results.
Moreover, due to the decreasing cost of sensors, which further reduce the expenses associated with wired structural health monitoring systems, the usage of the wireless technology is rising rapidly. This is because such a system doesn’t require the installation and maintenances of cables. In addition, wireless systems offer more flexibility as they help in the integration of the sensors into an automated network. Moreover, the replacement of the hardware and updating of the solution become easier, which decreases the system overhaul time.
Among the different sectors, civil infrastructure is set to have the greatest impact on the structural health monitoring market in the coming years. According to market research company P&S Intelligence, this will be due to the rapid development of infrastructure, such as dams, bridges, tunnels, and airports. It is not just the growing number of civil infrastructure projects but also the existing structures’ renovation that is raising the demand for structural health monitoring systems.
This especially becomes important in the case of buildings dating from before the 19th century, many of which are popular tourist attractions and World Heritage Sites. For instance, the Archaeological Survey of India regularly renovates 15th and 16th-century monuments, wherein structural health monitoring plays a crucial role. Similarly, the practice is being widely followed during the renovation and rebuilding of the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, which was gutted by a fire in 2019.
In the coming years, it is expected that Asia-Pacific (APAC) will register the highest demand for structural health monitoring solutions, due to the increasing investments in infrastructure in countries such as Japan, India, and China. For instance, the Indian Railways is building high bridges in Kashmir and the Northeast, across rivers and connecting distant mountains, which will require constant monitoring of their structure over time. In addition, countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia are prone to earthquakes, which makes structural health monitoring a necessity.
The North American region is also predicted to contribute to the advance of the structural health monitoring market in the years to come. It will be due to the aging infrastructure in the U.S., which includes a large number of concrete structures. Moreover, the technology in the country is advanced, thereby allowing for the successful deployment of related technologies. Similarly, the demand for associated hardware, software, and services will rise in the LATAM region, which is also witnessing a rapid expansion in its infrastructure.
Therefore, the growing investment in infrastructure will propel the need for effective structural health monitoring.