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Thursday, August 04, 2016

2.5bn wireless IoT sensors to ship by 2021

By Nick Flaherty

Over a billion wireless sensors will ship in the next two years as the Internet of Things (IoT) takes off, says global technology research firm ON World.

"Wireless sensor network technologies have evolved beyond mesh networking to IP addressability, cloud system integration and Low Power Wide Area Networks," says Mareca Hatler, ON World's research director. "LPWANs provide new opportunities for wireless sensing and tracking with average ranges of several miles and 10+ year battery lifetimes."
Compared with 13 years ago when ON World published its first report on WSN, wireless component costs are a fraction of what they used to be, cloud developer platforms are proliferating, open source software initiatives are growing and thousands of WSN products are available from multiple channels.

ON World has identified three distinct WSN landscapes:
  • Short range, fixed wireless sensor networks
  • Short range, mobile sensing
  • Long range wireless sensing and tracking
By 2021, annual shipments of WSN chipsets will approach 2.5 billion up from 680 million this year. Short-range wireless technologies such as ZigBee/Thread, Bluetooth and WiFi will make up the largest percent of the market but long range wireless sensor technologies such as SigFox, LoRa and Narrowband-IoT will increase faster. The fastest growing WSN markets over the next five years will be wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, smart homes, buildings and smart cities.
ON World's April 2016 survey with IoT developers found that the majority are developing products and services using short range WSN technologies. However, three quarters are aware of LPWAN technologies and 3 in 5 are researching or planning on developing LPWAN products/services. Thirty-nine percent of LPWAN developers are targeting new applications that are not feasible with existing technologies.

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