LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwired - Jan 4, 2017) - Wi-Fi Alliance® developed a list of predictions for 2017 that demonstrate the expanding role of Wi-Fi® as a high-performance technology, and an enabler of new innovations. With more than three billion Wi-Fi device shipments expected in 2017 and more than eight billion devices currently in use around the world, Wi-Fi continues to have a major impact on everything from home networking to Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT). As more people around the world rely on Wi-Fi each day for productivity and access to data, Wi-Fi is also playing a more prominent role in our expanding communications infrastructure.
1. Wi-Fi simplifies wireless networking.
There is a shift toward Self-Organizing Networks (SONs) and other solutions that help simplify Wi-Fi networking and optimize overall network performance to provide the best user experience. New products will "self-organize", bringing a more seamless user experience to homes and offices, and helping to automate the management and optimization of Wi-Fi networks. More products like Orbi and Google's Wi-Fi solution will emerge that balance performance with convenient network setup. New home buyers will soon benefit from professionally designed, pre-installed Wi-Fi networks that will deliver whole-home coverage and exceptional Wi-Fi performance. Managed network operators will also benefit from a new designation that makes it easier than ever to select carrier-grade devices that provide superior connectivity in Wi-Fi networks while taking complexity out of purchase decisions.
2. High-performance Wi-Fi products with new features and technologies will hit the shelves.
Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ ac products are hitting the shelves and users will see benefits from new Wave 2 features, including MU-MIMO, that enable more devices to operate simultaneously on the same network without sacrificing performance. With WiGig® on the verge of a breakout year in 2017, we will soon see flagship smartphones incorporating WiGig, along with a variety of announcements about new laptops, tri-band Access Points (APs) and other products supporting the technology. Products will incorporate sub-microsecond device clock synchronization, bringing to reality completely in-sync systems for homes, automotive, healthcare, and industrial environments. With more products from multiple vendors hitting the market every year, the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo is more important than ever in assuring users that their favorite high-performance products will interoperate across brands.
3. Wi-Fi Location will gain momentum.
New Wi-Fi Location technology that enables accuracy to one meter will become broadly available in Wi-Fi chipsets in 2017. Wi-Fi Location will work in a range of environments, including indoors and urban canyons, and enable a variety of new location-usages without the need for additional, location-specific infrastructure. This improved Wi-Fi capability will bring new opportunities for location-based data and services to retail spaces, entertainment venues, manufacturing facilities, and the healthcare industry.
4. Wi-Fi is a platform for IoT innovation.
Wi-Fi is the Internet platform of choice, making it an ideal connectivity platform for the Internet of Things. In 2017, Wi-Fi will introduce standards-based features to bring greater power efficiency to Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices. According to Wall Street Journal, the killer app for IoT is services rather than "things," and others agree the most successful IoT products will be accompanied by some related service. Wi-Fi will continue to evolve to provide a building block for IoT services, allowing companies to easily innovate over Wi-Fi and making it easier for companies to ensure there are strong security protections in place even at the service or application level. In 2017, Wi-Fi Alliance will collaborate more closely with other organizations, helping to unlock massive opportunity in the IoT space.
5. Wi-Fi improves the AR/VR experience for the masses.
The Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) markets are forecast to reach $120 billion by 2020. In 2016, there were multiple announcements for a variety of headsets and platforms promising to bring more realistic VR experiences to the masses. With Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WiGig™ now commercially available, device vendors will take advantage of multi-gigabit speeds, low latency, and extremely high throughput to provide a more immersive, wireless VR experience without sacrificing wired-grade performance. As WiGig technology adoption in VR devices increases, VR will become a truly viable technology within reach of the average consumer for both gaming and more "practical" scenarios including education. Sports fans will soon benefit from Wi-Fi enabled AR experiences to help better identify players and associate pertinent stats or information through phones or glasses.
6. Wi-Fi cements its place as a critical component in communications infrastructure.
Wi-Fi technologies available today, including WiGig, will play a role in providing foundational elements for addressing many emerging 5G use cases to help meet increasing speed, bandwidth, capacity, and latency demands. Forthcoming Wi-Fi technologies will be even more critical to enable 5G scenarios, which require high capacity and/or very low latency. More than half of all data traffic already flows over Wi-Fi, and convergence between Wi-Fi and other licensed technologies will be discussed in more detail as it relates to the impact 5G and the overall future of wireless communication.
7. Cities and stadiums get major Wi-Fi upgrades.
In 2017, we will see expanded rollouts of LinkNYC to new boroughs and cities, as well as new initiatives to bring high-speed Wi-Fi to and schools and municipalities to help bridge the digital divide. More municipal Wi-Fi initiatives will feature Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint®, and roaming agreements will bring seamless, secure Wi-Fi access to hundreds of hotspots and homespots. Wi-Fi will enable innovative technologies such as waste & recycling solutions and solar powered benches that will help further develop Smart Cities by transforming regular fixtures with data. NFL and professional sports teams will put Wi-Fi at the heart of their fan experience, and we'll see increasing partnerships with networking providers to bring the most advanced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac Wave 2 features to stadiums and provide the highest quality Wi-Fi experience to fans.
About Wi-Fi Alliance®
Wi-Fi Alliance® is the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®. Members of our collaboration forum come together from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem with the shared vision to connect everyone and everything, everywhere, while providing the best possible user experience. Since 2000, Wi-Fi Alliance has certified more than 30,000 Wi-Fi products. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ seal of approval designates products with proven interoperability, backward compatibility, and the highest industry-standard security protections in place. Today, Wi-Fi carries more than half of the internet's traffic in an ever-expanding variety of applications. Wi-Fi Alliance continues to drive the adoption and evolution of Wi-Fi, which billions of people rely on every day.