Low Power = High Growth: Home Automation, Sports, Medical, and Retail Among the Key Markets Driving Growth in Wireless Connectivity

31 May 2012

​A whole host of new and emerging markets are set to drive longer term growth in wireless connectivity technologies. Applications, including home automation systems, sports, medical, retail, and more, are driving the need for low power wireless technologies to enable remote devices with minimal maintenance. Over 1.5 billion ZigBee and Bluetooth Smart (v4.0) devices are expected to ship per annum in 2016.

“Wireless sensors are enabling a wide range of new and exciting products,” says Peter Cooney, practice director, semiconductors. “Low power is all important, allowing minimal maintenance and therefore low running cost.”

ZigBee and Bluetooth v4.0 are expected to be the two major technologies used, but continued development is needed to reduce power consumption further, with the ultimate aim of achieving batteryless sensors where possible. The recent release of an open standard from EnOcean will help with the uptake of more sensors powered by energy harvesting, but what is needed is a more widespread push from a fully open standard body, such as the Bluetooth SIG or ZigBee Alliance.

“We expect further announcements from the Bluetooth SIG on lower power solutions, pushing v4.0 to new power levels,” adds Cooney. “This coincides with work being done by the ZigBee Alliance on the ZigBee Green Power standard, a technology that has been in the pipeline since 2009.”

There will be competition amongst wireless connectivity technologies in some emerging markets as OEMs evaluate the best solution, however in the longer term each technology will have success based on its strengths, e.g. Bluetooth will gain more traction in point to point applications, while ZigBee will be more successful in networks with multiple nodes. Further competition will come from proprietary solutions and technologies such as EnOcean.

ABI Research’s “Wireless Connectivity Market Data, Global Summary” provides a quarterly-updated comprehensive review of the wireless connectivity market, providing forecasts to 2016 for enabled devices and ICs in 27 individual end applications. It covers Bluetooth, Bluetooth v4.0, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, GPS, 802.15.4, UWB, and combo ICs.    

It is part of ABI Research’s Wireless Connectivity Research Service.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 40+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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