In-Building Wireless (IBW) systems are showing solid adoption rates and, according to the latest forecasts from ABI Research, should register almost $10 B worth of deployments next year. Corporate campuses, airports and railway stations, and retail shopping centers (in that order) are the leading verticals where the need for good indoor cellular coverage and throughput is driving the IBW market. Healthcare facilities follow close behind.
According to Industry Analyst Xavier Ortiz, “The primary drivers for IBW markets are the constantly-growing amount of data traffic, the rapid uptake of smartphones and other data-oriented devices, and consumers’ heightened service expectations. Many organizations now appreciate the added value IBW systems can bring, and the economic recovery now under way in many regions has meant the resumption of deployments that were shelved during the worst of the slump.”
The question “who’s buying?” may have different answers from building to building, depending on who has most to gain: enterprises, building owners, transport authorities, mobile operators, or others. There’s also a role for managed service providers. The majority of deployments will continue to be found in the Asia-Pacific region, with its high population density and mobile penetration. Europe and North America show consistent but much lower levels of activity with roughly equal deployment numbers in each region.
However, notes practice director Aditya Kaul, “While the Asia-Pacific region accounts for the majority of IBW deployments, most innovation is coming from North America where many of the largest vendors are based and where budgets can support the often considerable expense of IBW. A little later these innovations filter through to Europe, and then to Asia, where cost-effective solutions are in greatest demand.”
While the three largest IBW vendors (TE Connectivity, Andrew and Corning/Mobile Access) command almost 60 percent of this complex ecosystem worldwide, it is by innovating, say the analysts, that the smaller players can build a track record and boost their reputations.