A new report reveals that investment in sensor modules is heating up the Internet of Things (IoT) space, with innovative sensor startups winning the bulk of that money.

As reported by Smart Cities World, a new study by Lux Research examined the $4.3 billion in funding for sensor modules over the past decade. The report titled “Sensors Innovation: Analyzing Investment Trends Across the $4.3 Billion Spend” found investment in innovative sensors tripled in the past 10 years, with North America dominating.

Investment in innovative sensors attracted a dominant 80% of the total, or $3.4 billion, which underscores the increasing importance of IoT technology.

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The increased investment in innovative sensors comes as this new technology is becoming integral to growth in such areas as smart cities, autonomous vehicles and wearables.

“Innovative sensor start-ups will continue to attract large amounts of venture investment as the Internet of Things emerges as the next major phase in computing, following on the heels of the PC and mobile eras,” said report author Pallavi Madakasira.

Total innovative sensor investment tripled in the past decade, attracting $486 million in funding in 2015. Between 2006 and 2015, sensor processing-related technologies drew investment of $620 million, with over $200 million going toward packaging solutions and nearly $100 million for developers of energy harvesting.

The report further broke down the sensor space investment patterns between 2006 and the first quarter of 2016.
It found that North America remains the dominant region worldwide with $3.4 billion, or 80%, of all sensor technology investment since 2006. This investment was generated by more than 340 active companies across the Americas.

Sensors big in EMEA region, too

In other regions, $950 million in investment was drawn by the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, while $200 million was invested in Asia.

Global acquisitions over this period were dominated by innovative sensors. A total of 45 sensor developers were acquired, worth $1.5 billion in deals, over the course of the decade. Meanwhile, acquisitions of processing and packaging solutions startups only comprised a small amount of buyout activity.

Lastly, Lux Research found that corporate players were showing unprecedented commitment to sensor technology.
Notably, Samsung has earmarked $13 billion for sensor-related investment, while Sony is allocating $4 billion to increased sensor production.

Other noteworthy investments include Panasonic’s $780 million for image sensors, IBM’s $3 billion for sensor data technology and Ford Motors which launched an R&D facility that will focus on transportation-related sensors.