The global distributed fiber optic sensor market size is expected to grow from USD 0.9 billion in 2021 to USD 1.5 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 9.7%.
The market declined in 2020, mainly due to the impact of COVID-19. The industrial supply chain was disrupted in 2020 due to the lockdown imposed by various governments and labor shortages in these industries due to travel restrictions, which would affect the distributed fiber optic sensor market. Though the market was impacted in 2020, it is expected to fully recover by 2021. Increasing oil and gas applications and growing adoption of distributed fiber optic sensors in infrastructure, safety and security and power verticals is the primary factor driving the market growth.
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Demand for oil and gas is growing due to increasing population in different regions which in turn give rise to increased application areas in the same industry. This is basically driving the distributed fiber optic market globally. Growing demand for fiber optic sensing products in the offshore industry, especially in offshore drilling and downhole monitoring, which, in turn, has created an opportunistic environment for distributed fiber optic sensors.
The demand for distributed fiber optic sensors from the oil & gas industry is rapidly growing primarily because of their ability to work in remotely located deep wells where there is high stress on equipment and structures, high temperature and pressure on the flow lines, and a high possibility of corrosion because of CO2 and H2S. Also, different innovations in the high-pressure and high-temperature environments of wellbores have played a major role in driving the market for distributed fiber optic sensors. The demand for distributed sensors from other industries is also increasing mainly due to the improved accuracy and efficiency offered by them, along with their properties such as stability, durability, and insensitivity toward electromagnetic perturbations. For further protection, distributed sensors are enclosed by a cladding, which is covered with an external plastic coating to keep them safe from any kind of physical or chemical perturbations, which, in turn, makes them a long-term solution for safety in various industries such as oil & gas, power and utility, building and construction, and security among others.
The market for single-mode distributed fiber optic sensors is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The market is growing in verticals such as power & utility and infrastructure. As single-mode fiber optic cables have a small diametric core that allows only one mode of light to propagate, sensors integrated with such cables are used for longer distances and higher bandwidth applications. Single-mode fibers are mostly used for distributed acoustic sensing or strain sensing. A few applications in this area include structural health monitoring of assets such as dams, bridges, and pipelines and the optimization of processes involved in petrochemical plants.
The distributed fiber optic sensor market for sensors based on the OFDR principle is expected to witness higher growth during the forecast period owing to the high-quality signal-to-noise ratio due to the narrowband detection of the backscatter signal and the quasi-continuous wave mode employed by the laser. OFDR technology offers significantly higher spatial resolution and exponentially more sensors than other sensing technologies in the market. Such spatially continuous information provides a number of advantages to engineers across multiple industries. For example, distributed data from OFDR sensing systems equip engineers with the data necessary to confidently validate their thermal, vibration, or strain models of a design and avoid costly failures after production has begun.
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The market in Asia Pacific is expected to register the highest CAGR during 2021–2026. The market has high growth potential owing to increase in safety and security concerns among countries, especially India and China. Growing construction activities and the rising need for infrastructural developments in different regions due to increasing population and urbanization creates demand for distributed fiber optic sensors in APAC. Furthermore, the increased demand for distributed fiber optic sensor systems in oil & gas, and power and utility verticals in the region is the crucial factor driving the market in this region. Countries such as India, China, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia are a few of the major countries contributing to the growth and development of the distributed fiber optic sensor market in this region.