The Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon is all about connecting the many previously unconnected devices in our world. Moreover, the majority of those new IP connections will likely occur over wireless technology.
Some of those connections will be short-range. When combined together, all the wireless applications will create a significant demand for semiconductors with embedded radio transceivers.
According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the total market for integrated circuits (ICs) that are based on open short-range wireless (SRW) technology -- such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, NFC and GPS -- is expected to reach almost 5 billion units in 2013 and grow to nearly 8 billion by 2018.
This includes standalone wireless connectivity ICs, wireless connectivity combo ICs, and also platforms with integrated wireless connectivity.
"In the year where cumulative Bluetooth enabled device shipments will reach 10 billion and cumulative Wi-Fi enabled device shipments will reach 7 billion, we will also see total wireless connectivity IC shipments break through 5 billion per annum,” said Peter Cooney, practice director at ABI Research.
ABI believes that 2013 is a momentous year for short-range wireless technology. However, this is just the beginning of a new growth cycle where the global impact is going to be truly unprecedented.
To date, consumer devices such as mobile phones, notebook PCs, media tablets and game consoles have been the major driver of SRW technology growth.
But as many of these devices start to peak, it is newer applications such as automotive, home automation, smart energy, retail, and many more that will be the major growth drivers over the next 10 years.
SRW technologies are enabling simple, low-cost connections to be made between a multitude of devices -- which makes 2013 the year that the Internet of Everything (IoE) reaches an inflection point and starts to become a reality.
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee are just a few of many technologies that will enable growth in this market, coupled with proprietary SRW, cellular, white space, and fixed communication technologies.
"Without interoperable short-range wireless standards the IoE will not flourish; it requires low-cost, low-power, ubiquitous technologies to create the myriad connections that will be needed," added Cooney. "Technologies such as Bluetooth Smart (v4.0), ZigBee, and the upcoming 802.11ah standard will be key enablers for IoE."