Wireless devices are rapidly penetrating everyday life and visible around us. Tablets, smartphones, and Wi-Fi are available to the populace almost everywhere around the world today. Consumer demand for wireless devices has increased exponentially during recent years, leading to the rapid growth of networks and devices, thereby providing great benefits for economies. According to a research study by GSMA, in 2018, the mobile industry made a total contribution of USD 3.9 trillion of economic value, which is considered to be equivalent to 4.6% of the global GDP. Both present-day cellular technologies and evolving new age 5G technologies are the key factors that contribute to wireless connectivity market growth.
In order to satisfy the growing consumer demand, terrestrial radio technologies and new applications have evolved significantly over the past few decades. This includes intelligent transport systems, advanced mobile broadband, and IoT devices. A significant number of miniature wireless devices, including sensors and radio modules, gather and deliver the data in seconds in various application environments, from manufacturing facilities to smart cities, and other industrial settings. Owing to the convenience and faster network speeds, the number of households with wireless home internet is increasing rapidly. Sometimes mobile is the only form of data connection available outside cities. Other factors such as income, age, using better and faster networks with bigger monthly data allowances also play a crucial role. This tendency also follows another trend as the majority of the populace have discontinued wired home phones, and similarly, people are opting for wireless internet connectivity. The figure below shows the percentage of data mobile-only homes in selected countries in 2017.
Internet of Things applications require a wide variety of connectivity in terms of energy efficiency, range, device cost, and data throughput. These devices need constant connectivity, but may not always have continuous access to a power source. Hence, wireless connectivity forms the backbone of Internet of Things. IoT has applications in many sectors, such as transportation, agriculture, and many others. For instance, wireless IoT sensors are capable of forecasting weather conditions, monitoring soil quality and moisture, and measuring hyper-local conditions of fields. Hence, it helps farmers to plan the course of activities, and it also helps them to understand when and where they need to take preventive measures. Hence, this requires wireless connectivity technologies and further increases the market growth.
Nowadays, people are highly concerned about their health and have a strong desire to track and optimize every part of their lives, a trend that includes health and fitness. Wearables such as smartwatches, sleep trackers, and fitness bands carefully monitor the sleep, workouts, and heartrates every second of the day. The most suitable connectivity solution for short ranges is considered to be Bluetooth, which is majorly designed for mobile Personal Area Networks (PANs) and is characterized by low data throughputs, low frequency, and a limited connectivity range.
Another trend that employs wireless connectivity is connected vehicles. Connected vehicles enable communication among multiple vehicles and also between vehicles and roadside infrastructure. Real-time communication enables predictive driving and helps vehicles to deal with situations that neither the driver nor the vehicle’s sensors could have information about. Hence, the in-vehicle information-based services improve road safety, enhance driver comfort, and also, in the future, enable fully-automated driving. This is also anticipated to significantly contribute to market growth.
Wireless connectivity strengthens energy companies to power homes, businesses, and communities. Smart grid adoption, enabled by wireless connectivity, is estimated to create significant revenue to the U.S. economy. The smart grid represents the extensive adoption of communications technology in the energy sector and provides computer-based remote control and automation, utilizing two-way communication techniques and sensors to collect and relay relevant data.
Telecommunication providers are constantly striving to meet the growing demands of the customers. %g services are anticipated to provide a broad range of customer services, and it is intended to connect a significant number of medical devices. The majority of countries are competing and adopting different strategies to become the leader in 5G technology. For instance, in the U.S., the private sector is leading the deployment of 5G technology. The providers in the country are competing against each other and have also been conducting trials in several cities. Government initiatives in the U.S. also support the development of technology.
In China, the central government is supporting the development of 5G infrastructure. The country has a national plan to deploy 5G domestically, in order to capture the domestic market revenue, enhance industrial systems, and ultimately become a leading supplier of telecommunications equipment. It is estimated that 5G technology will generate new revenue for technology companies and the countries where these companies are located. According to a research study by Accenture, it is reported that U.S. telecommunication providers are projected to invest approximately USD 275 billion in 5G infrastructure, which could create up to 3 million new jobs in the U.S. Hence, cellular technologies will hold a significant share during the forecast period.
Wireless technologies are highly utilized in the healthcare sector. For instance, connecting medical devices in the patient’s homes is necessary for data collection. The remote sharing of medical data enables doctors to improve the diagnostics and treatment processes, as they can now access a wider range of relevant data, while patients benefit from a considerably lower number of hospital visits. With the advent of Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) technologies such as NB-IoT, these use cases become even more attractive.
The need for patient mobility and greater efficiency is propelling the growth of wireless technologies and applications being deployed in the healthcare sector. Wireless technologies are anticipated to reduce medical errors and hospital costs significantly, and also it is estimated to improve patient safety. According to a research study conducted by Philips Electronics, it is revealed that heart patients who used interactive telehealth systems spent less time in hospitals and felt that their quality of life improved. The study also revealed that heart failure-related hospitalizations reduced by 68% and a 73% reduction of days spent in hospitals.
Wireless technologies offer benefits primarily in applications where intelligent medical devices are being used in an area that is deprived of wired LAN connection ports, or when a device needs to remain connected to a patient during transport within the hospital. In addition to this, wired networks in hospitals do not have the ability to identify an attached device, and there is no authentication mechanism that is widely deployed for wired networks. In contrast, authentication and security frameworks are always deployed in wireless technology.
Owing to the increase in the adoption of technological advancements by the populace, North America is the primary revenue contributor to the global wireless connectivity market. Consumer behavior in the region and consumer spending act as positive factors for market growth. Wireless connectivity in various sectors that are in the growth phase in the region, such as energy, agriculture, and others, are expected to drive the wireless connectivity market. Moreover, the advent of 5G technology is also estimated to drive market growth in North America.
Prominent players in the global wireless connectivity market are Intel Corporation, Qualcomm Inc., NXP Semiconductors N.V., STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments Inc., Microchip Technology Inc., MediaTek Inc., Cypress Semiconductor Corporation, Broadcom Inc., EnOcean GmbH, NEXCOM International Co. Ltd., Skyworks Solutions Inc., Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Marvell Technology Group, Quantenna(Semiconductor Components Industries, LLC), Renesas Electronics Corporation, NORDIC Semiconductor, CEVA Logistics, Espressif Systems Co., Ltd., and Peraso Technologies Inc.