One way to determine whether a technology market is reaching maturity is by watching the degree of consolidation that is occurring. New technology markets often begin with a couple niche companies exploiting a portion of a given solution. As the market grows new players enter the field and over time the strong niche players acquire the weaker in order to gain a greater share of their respective niche. However, as the overall market matures a new phenomenon occurs in which companies in complementary niches merge to ensure their combined revenue and market share growth. A truly mature market is one identified by a small number of large players that provide the majority if not all of the solution components. Over the last 20 years we have witnessed this pattern in the AIDC (automated identification and data capture) market as we began with multiple small players in bar code scanning, mobile computing and wireless networking eventually consolidate until we have two primary players in the space (Zebra-Motorola and Honeywell scanning and mobility). While the AIDC hardware market is maturing there is still plenty of growth and change to be expected. The rapid growth and acceptance of these same technologies in the consumer segment creates new opportunities for application developers, solution integrators and small and medium businesses that had not previously been able to leverage these technologies. AIDC may be growing up but our spirit is young and opportunities abound.
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