How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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Things might be looking up in the German machine vision market, according to a recent VDMA report. The machine vision industry has achieved double-digit growth in the past, outpacing the growth of the national economy. In 2003, the VDMA’s growth forecast of 15% was met, with turnover for the sector in Germany reaching €830 million ($1.017 billion). The VDMA also predicts that, by 2004, the sector will experience 10% growth with a €915 million turnover and a €1 billion turnover by 2005. Systems are forecast to have the greatest share of turnover with 63.1%, followed by cameras (18.8%), image capture cards (5.0%), optics (4.7%), intelligent cameras (3.4%), software tools (2.3%), illumination (2.1%) and processors (0.6%). In 2003, exports accounted for 38% of overall turnover, with Germany grabbing a sizeable 62% share.
The VDMA report also forecast a rise of 6% the number of machine vision personnel. According to the report: “As a high-tech and innovative sector, German Machine Vision companies employ a large number of university graduates. The estimation for 2004 and 2005 sees the share of the employed engineers slowly increasing to 50% of all employees.” On VDMA’s website (www.vdma.org), the organization states that there are approximately 131,000 people employed in the engineering industry. Demand continues to rise in the industry but, because of a more globalized economy, university requirements have changed for those pursuing Bachelor and Master degrees.
Bloomberg News recently reported that Edelgard Bulmahn, Germany’s Education Minister, says that his country needs to invest more money into education to combat unemployment and to boost the nation’s economy. According to a study on education by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Germany spent 5.5% of its GDP on education in 1995, but reduced it to 5.3% in 2001 — below the OECD average of 5.6%. Other industrialized nations spent more (the US spent 7.3% of its GDP, South Korea spent 8.2%). In addition, of the 12 Euro-sharing countries, Germany’s 9.9% unemployment rate is second among the dozen nations, just behind Spain. Bulmahn stated that, by next year, Germany will have increased its education and research budget by 36.4% in six years to a total of €9.9 billion.
Although such trade organizations offer vocational training, the OECD study points out that German men with a university degree have a 14% greater chance of being employed than someone with vocational training. The unemployment rate among those with degrees is only 3.6%, compared to 5.2% of those with vocational training and 12.8% of those with less than 12 years of schooling.
This line of thinking isn’t relegated to just this country or this industry. Here in the United States, people read about, hear about and see reports on how people with advanced degrees have better, higher-paying jobs than those with two- and four-year degrees, or even with only vocational training or a high school education.