Predictions for 2017

2017 will see continued growth in the development and evaluation of mmWave 5G communications, as well as a growing interest in drone detection and jamming. The cost and performance of commercially available drones represent a potential security threat to airports, power stations, and other critical infrastructure. High-resolution radar systems are the key to detecting small, highly manoeuverable drones, and GaN technology can provide adequate power to jam the aircraft’s control links. High-performance, low-cost GaN transistors, capable of generating adequate power across the relevant bands, are now readily available.

Many manufacturers are investing heavily in developing solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT). The interest stems from the potentially huge volumes in which IoT products will ultimately be deployed, but in fact, the IoT is already with us. IoT solutions are currently being deployed and actively used today in wireless street lights, fleet management, vehicle tracking, healthcare, smart homes, and a host of other M2M and Machine Type Communications (MTC) applications. These applications currently use a range of personal-area connectivity technologies including Bluetooth, ZigBee, proprietary ISM band solutions, and local-area networks like WiFi 802.11ah (HaLow). They will also increasingly start to use Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies including LoRa, SigFox, Telensa, and LTE-based standards such as NB-IoT.

Low-cost, high-volume IoT components and products based on these emerging IoT standards will see considerable development activity in 2017 and will begin to be launched into the market. However, there will be no single solution for IoT applications; many of the existing solutions will continue to grow alongside the newer technology standards that are joining the global M2M connectivity behemoth.

[Published in EE World Online]