IO-Link is helping open up new possibilities, such as new Pepperl + Fuchs distance-based sensors, which use intense bursts of light to calculate very precisely how far an object is away from the sensor.
The idea of putting an Ethernet connector on a sensor (RJ-45 was used in the article) as being to large, too inconvenient. M-12 threaded connectors also provide Ethernet connectivity. They have a different keying so that they cannot be mixed with regular M-12 connectors, the most common connector for sensors today. Connector is not a reason to reject Ethernet.
IO-Link in combination with Ethernet in its various protocols sounds very promising though. I'm looking forward to seeing IO-Link/Ethernet adapters gain much higher industrial visibility.
I 'd like to hear more about how this will combine with RFID and ethernet. Once these get to be ubiquitous and connected to the internet we will have an Internet of things and Sensors. With the advent of distributed AI, we can just call it skynet.