|WAY OF THE FUTURE: A report has predicted that there will be more than 2.6 billion WiFi-enabled consumer devices roaming our planet by 2014.|
BY 2014 there will be more than 2.6 billion WiFi-enabled consumer devices roaming our planet.
In the space of just a few years, WiFi has been transformed from an expensive luxury into a necessity for consumers that feel the need to remain connected at high speeds regardless of their location.
An August 17 report from Strategy Analytics predicts that the embedded WiFi device market will continue to grow at a rapid pace over the next four years, exceeding an market value of US$250bil (RM787.5bil).
"Consumer demand for the 'everywhere web' will drive WiFi adoption in mobile Internet devices," says Peter King, director of the Connected Home Device service at Strategy Analytics. "Even where 3G or 4G technologies are available, WiFi will still be a preferred access route for many, as hotspots and home networks proliferate."
Mobile internet devices will not be the only electronics goods to connect to the Internet via WiFi. Mainstream WiFi adoption will also take place across a wide spectrum of consumer electronics channels and will become commonplace on devices such as digital cameras, MP3 and digital media players, handheld games consoles, digital video recorders, digital audio systems, digital photo frames and networked storage devices by 2014.
"While today the market is dominated by portable products, WiFi Networked TV & Blu-ray players will become significant products in the family room by 2014," added King.
In July American network carrier AT&T reported handling 68.1 million connections on its public WiFi network during the second quarter of 2010 - a stark increase from the 20 million connections seen by the company during the entirety of 2008.
The impressive year-on-year WiFi usage increases point to a future where constant connectivity is ubiquitous; a time where a dropped Internet connection is like having the power cut out in the developed world, a rare incident that completely disrupts day-to-day life.