Impact of COVID-19 on wireless technologies
Review of pandemic’s impact on sector helps OEMs capitalize on sector growth
Lockdowns caused by COVID-19 have caused work, education, communication, and entertainment to all become online pursuits. The US trade association for the wireless communications industry, CTIA, reports that since the start of lockdown, voice usage has increased by 12.2% and data usage by 28.4%. Similar increases in the use of wireless technologies are being reported all over the world.
In response to the increased demand for wireless services, the industry has deployed Wi-Fi hotspots, services in new spectrums, and continued the rolling out of 5G. This has created the capacity necessary to cover the increased demand for voice and data services, alongside the adoption of other mission critical applications and connected & automated vehicles (CAV).
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Wi-Fi and Sigfox
Wireless technologies have also been used to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are being used for contact tracing applications and a variety of technologies, including Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Wi-Fi and Sigfox, have been incorporated into bands and bracelets to help organizations return to some semblance of normality.
Smart technologies were already becoming a common part of the family home even before the pandemic and, with lockdowns, these labor-saving devices are helping to mitigate the stresses caused by being stuck at home. In what was already a robust market, a September 2019 report has estimated a compound annual growth rate of 14.4% for the next five years and it seems that COVID-19 has done nothing to curtail this growth. In fact, the opposite may be true – it is predicted global shipments of smart home voice-control devices will rise by 30% in 2020.
Consumers now demand more
Manufacturers seeking to capitalize on this sector growth need to be aware that consumers now demand more than mere regulatory compliance from their products. They expect good battery performance, security, and easy connections to existing technologies. In addition, they are demanding products that support more frequencies to allow better capacity and coverage.
When developing new products, these considerations should be incorporated from the earliest design phases. Manufacturers must also include them into any comprehensive testing strategy that goes beyond regulatory compliance and covers advanced performance. Approaching product development in this way, allows manufacturers and suppliers to ensure their products will meet consumer expectations while expediting time-to-market.
The quick responses taken by the industry to ensure capacity meets demand, has allowed this sector to blossom, creating opportunities that manufacturers and suppliers will only be able to capitalize on if they adopt the correct approach to product development.
SGS, a global provider of testing and certification services, looks at the impact of COVID-19 on the use of wireless technologies to help manufacturers capitalize on the growth being predicted in this sector.