Docking Station Market – Setting Paradigms for Data Accuracy & Data Integrity

Autonomous robots, currently mostly used for the surveillance or surveying of commercial establishments, mostly experience limited serviceable duration due to stunted power supply. A robot docking station for battery exchange plays a key role in such a scenario.

For direction purposes, autonomous robots use navigation techniques based on sensors to automatically dock to a docking station. For example, some Roombas – robotic vacuum cleaners, are equipped with intelligent infrared sensors. At the docking station end, the device emits two infra-red rays, and whenever the Roomba discovers one of these rays, it navigates accordingly and wiggles itself so as to attach to the docking station. Thereafter, the battery exchange happens automatically within 45 seconds.

Docking stations find use for other industrial and commercial applications too. They find wide use for material handling in supply chains and logistics. Growth of the manufacturing sector and intensifying competition in e-Commerce necessitates improvements in warehouse management Systems.

In such environments, computing devices are essential for multiple tasks, including data collection, merchandising, inventory management, communication, and vehicle tracking. For functioning, warehouse staff needs to collect and update supply chain data instantaneously, securely, and accurately from multiple devices and process the same. Docking stations play an important role here for connecting multiple devices.

Collectively, these uses account for economic importance of docking stations, serving to fuel the growth of the docking station market. For a know-how of opportunities in this space, Transparency Market Research (TMR) released a market intelligence study on the docking station market. Prepared by a team of seasoned analysts employing industry-centric research methodologies, and extensive primary and secondary research, TMR predicts that the docking station market will expand at a notable ~5% CAGR between the period of 2019 to 2027.

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Universal Docking Stations’ Compatibility with Laptops Strengthen Demand

Docking stations are primarily used for connecting laptops, PCs, or tablets with various peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and printers. Among all, vis-à-vis revenue, laptops held a leading share of ~50% in the docking station market in 2018. Going ahead, the laptops product segment is predicted to continue to dominate the other segments over the 2019–2027 forecast period, adds TMR.

The availability of universal docking stations compatible with different models of laptops and notebooks strengthens the demand for these devices.

Powered by the U.S., Canada & North America to Remain at the Forefront

From a regional perspective, North America is at the forefront in terms of key regions in the docking station market. Powered by the U.S. and Canada, the excessive use of computing devices for commercial and industrial operations is the key behind the high demand for docking stations. Massive amounts of data handling in the service industry, including hospitality and healthcare, fuels the demand for docking stations to attach core computing devices with peripherals.

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Introduction of Universal Docking Stations Opportune for Growth

The expansion of port compatibility to be used for proprietary and non-proprietary devices serves to provide opportunities for the manufacturers of docking stations. For example, at present, HP docks are compatible only with HP laptops and notebooks, which limits their use only to proprietary HP devices. This leaves ample white spaces for product manufacturers to capitalize on.

In this scenario, the development of universal docking stations is a solution to a considerable extent. USB ports of computers convert into docking station connectors. Besides, this allows the IT administrators to standardize the docking stations for their entire organization, to be compatible with all types of devices, be it laptops, ultra books, or tablets, among others.

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Design Enhancements to Address Shortcomings of Predecessor Products – Focus of Market Players

The scope of design enhancements of docking stations also provides ample opportunities for the manufacturers of these devices. To address this, product manufacturers are focused on ease of use and the supporting of additional functionalities. For instance, tablet docking stations mostly used are prone to damage. This is because of snap-on-cover and an electrical connector exposed outside the docking case.

Besides this, most docking stations display capability for docking tablets only in one direction, resulting in operational inconvenience. This further provides white space for product manufacturers to develop innovative and efficient products.

Price-point and Technological Advantages of USB Hubs Impact Demand

The availability of cheaper alternatives, such as USBs, supersedes the demand for docking stations to a considerable extent. Whilst docking stations are highly useful for connecting peripherals with core devices, the high cost of these devices limits their use. Docking stations for laptops are usually priced between US$ 70 to US$ 300.

Conversely, USB ports, which mostly satisfy the requirements of electronic gadget users for charging and data transfer, are typically priced between US$ 3 to US$ 25 only.

USB hubs extend further competition for the adoption of docking stations. Most new USB hubs are equipped with in-built Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology for the higher efficiency of devices. Also, the development of newer USB-C ports allows the fast charging of devices and fast data transfer technologies. Among a slew, Anker 3-Port USB 3.0 and ALLFU B-in-1 USB C-hub are examples of USB-C hubs. By function, USB-C hubs fulfill most of the uses of docking stations at notably less cost.

This provides enormous scope for savvy product manufacturers vying to fill in the gaps in the docking station market.

Docking Station Market – Competitive Landscape

From a competitive standpoint, the docking station market is largely consolidated, with key shares held by the top five companies –

  • Targus Corporation
  • StarTech.com Ltd
  • ACCO Brands
  • Hewlett Packard Company
  • Dell Technologies Inc.

Product innovation and product expansion are the key growth strategies of players in the docking station market, according to TMR’s analysis. For example, in October 2018, ASUSTeK Computer Inc. announced the launch of the ROG phone and mobile desktop dock. This allows gamers to connect an ROG phone to an external 4K UHD monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Further, strategic collaborations and partnerships are what players in the docking station market are banking on for growth. The acquisition of Esselte Group Holdings AB by Acco Brands Corporation, in January 2017, is a case in point.

The expansion of production capacity and geographical expansion are also focus areas of keen players in the docking station market. For example, Dell Technologies Inc., having a strong presence in North America, aims to expand in Europe and Asia Pacific.

  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest report on the docking station market for the period of 2017–2027, wherein, 2019 to 2027 is the forecast period, 2018 is the base year, and 2017 is the historic year), the increasing number of handheld devices has been one of the impacting factors for the growth of the docking station market.
  • In the report, revenue generated by the docking station market is given in terms of value and volume throughout the forecast period. 

Advantages of Docking Stations for Electronic Device Users with Rising Disposable Income: A Key Driver

  • Increasing disposable income has catalyzed the growth of the mobile accessories market over the last few years. Moreover, increasing population is projected to support growth of the electronics device market, which is set to drive the sales of docking stations over the forecast period.
  • Docking stations help connect external devices with various electronic devices such as smartphones, notebooks, and PCs. Docking stations enable users to attach extra peripherals to such electronic devices, making them more convenient and useful for professional work. This is one of the most significant advantages of docking stations for mobile device users.
  • Most laptops are designed with 2-3 USB ports. This limits the usability of a laptop if the user intends to connect more than three devices to the laptop. By using a docking station, the user is required to make only one connection, as other devices such as a scanner, printer, or mouse are connected through the docking station, converting the laptop into a desktop computer. This helps users maintain the portability of such devices between their office and home.
  • Furthermore, docking stations provide access to devices that are usually incompatible with mobile devices. For instance, laptops and smartphones are not always compatible with external devices such as digital cameras or large flat-panel monitors. Docking stations enable the connection between such incompatible devices, thereby increasing their usability. This is another factor boosting the demand for docking stations in the market.

Availability of Cheaper Substitutes and Counterfeit Docking Stations a Major Challenge to the Growth of the Market

  • Docking stations are highly useful devices for connecting different external peripherals to mobile gadgets. However, most mobile devices require USB connections to connect to devices such as printers, scanners, and keyboards. The demand for docking stations may get significantly impacted due to the availability of cheaper alternatives such as USB hubs.
  • The industry has been facing a threat from counterfeit products since long, and it is still likely to be a threat in the near future. Many reports have suggested that, counterfeit and third-party docking stations are not designed appropriately, and could lead to safety issues, which may hinder the growth of the docking station market in the future. 

Docking Station Market: Competition Landscape

  • Detailed profiles of players active in the docking station market have been provided in the report to evaluate their financials, key product offerings, recent developments, and strategies.
  • Key players operating in the global docking station market include –
    • Acco Brands Corporation
    • ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
    • Dell Technologies Inc.
    • Hewlett-Packard Company
    • Lenovo Group Limited
    • Samsung Group
    • Sony Corporation
    • StarTech.Com Ltd
    • Targus Corporation
    • Toshiba Corporation.

Docking Station Market: Key Developments

  • Key manufacturers in the docking station market such as Acco Brands Corporation are focusing on acquisitions for their business expansion. In line with this, in July 2018, the company acquired Mexico-based GOBA Internacional to expand its presence in Mexico. Similarly, in January 2017, the company acquired Europe-based Esselte Group Holdings AB. This acquisition helped Acco Brands Corporation enhance its position in the Europe market and extend its global network of consumer products across Europe.

Some other key developments in the docking station market are as follows:

  • In July 2019, StarTech.com has launched the revolutionary hybrid Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C docking station.
  • In June2019, Kanex launched a new portable docking station for the 2018 iPad Pro model, designed to add a range of additional ports to the device using a built-in USB-C port.
  • In June 2019, Microsoft announced its upcoming launch of a new surface pen docking station in 2020
  • In June 2019, Targus launched a quad 4K docking station. It is a cost-effective and rapid-deployment signage solution.
  • In February 2018, Kensington launched the SD4700P Universal USB-C and USB 3.0 docking stations.

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