The installed base of active wireless devices are bound to increase to more than 16 billion this year, which makes it about 20 percent more than it was in last year, says a market forecast research from ABI Research.
According to the report, the number of these devices will double up to up to 40.9 billion by 2020.
“The driving force behind the surge in connections is that usual buzzword suspect, the Internet of Things (IoT). If we look at this year’s installed base, smartphones, PCs, and other ‘hub’ devices represent still 44% of the active total, but by end-2020 their share is set to drop to 32%.
“In other words, 75% of the growth between today and the end of the decade will come from non-hub devices: sensor nodes and accessories,” said the Principal analyst Aapo Markkanen.
The biggest concern is whether the technology will be able to connect the excess devices. It happens that product OEMs will be using with cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and others all generally addressing their relative comfort zones. Going forward, they will be in an increasing competition with each other, so for the suppliers the strategic stakes are getting much higher.
Practice director Dan Shey adds: “The recently introduced Thread protocol, spearheaded by Nest Labs, is the clearest example of this convergence. It is not only setting the bar higher for ZigBee in the 802.15.4 space, but also piling up pressure on Bluetooth suppliers to enable mesh networking.
“In the meantime, the LTE-MTC and LTE-M initiatives may well expand the market for cellular M2M, while startups like Electric Imp and Spark could do the same for Wi-Fi. And finally, we also shouldn’t ignore what’s going on with passive, proximity-based connectivity offered by RFID and NFC. For example, Thinfilm’s plans with printed electronics warrant attention.”