Military applications lead market growth in rugged keyboards and keypads

The North American market for rugged keyboards and keypads is expected to reach $206 million by 2008, according to a study by Venture Development Corp. (VDC) in Natick, Mass.

Jul 1st, 2006
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The North American market for rugged keyboards and keypads is expected to reach $206 million by 2008, according to a study by Venture Development Corp. (VDC) in Natick, Mass.

Driving growth will be high demand for rugged keyboards and keypads in several fast-growing application markets, many of which were irrelevant to rugged products years ago, VDC analysts say.

Several significant trends are shaping growth patterns for rugged keyboards and keypads in various applications. The first trend involves military and aerospace applications. Due to the high level of environmental and human abuse that products are subject to in this sector, almost a quarter of all keyboards and keypads used in the military are ruggedly designed, and this will continue to rise through 2008.


Share of North American rugged keyboard and keypad consumption by industry/application (% of dollar volume)
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The next trend involves industrial controls and process automation. The “wait-and-see” attitude that many OEMs in this market had in 2003 and 2004 due to political uncertainty no longer exists. Many manufacturers are investing resources into new projects, which will drive strong demand for rugged keyboards and keypads through 2008.

Then comes instrumentation. Concerns over quality assurance, safety, and security and protection have continued to increase, calling for more precise tests and measurements in virtually all vertical markets.

In medical equipment, the growth is being fed by increasing demand for rugged keypads in diagnostic instrumentation, imaging equipment, and other smaller devices used for the often mobile workforce.

Finally, the trend in commercial and retail equipment involves the demand for advanced features and peripherals, such as biometrics and radio-frequency identification (RFID), in several security and access-control applications.

“Demand for ruggedly designed products will continue to increase as long as there are applications that require them,” says Shan shan Chu, an Industry Analyst at VDC. “Five years ago, these applications may have consisted of military and industrial. Today, however, they have expanded to include many more commercial and consumer applications as well. This trend will likely continue as these applications increasingly call for products that can survive and last longer under those environments.”

For more information contact VDC online at www.vdc-corp.com.

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