After pushing the limits of business, connectivity now reaches into consumer devices like car systems and refrigerators. More than five billion wireless chip devices that connect to the Internet will ship in 2013, according to ABI Research.
Tech geeks talked about the Internet of things back in 2002, when retailers like Walmart and Target began using radio frequency identification technology to track the movement of goods from manufacturing facilities through warehouses and on to the store floor. Now that's expanding -- and along with it, access to data, data, and more data.
Marketers will have access to data from every Internet-connected device. Technology like standalone Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, near field communication (NFC), and ZigBee, as well as a combination of integrated circuits (ICs) and platform solutions will generate more data than marketers have seen in past years. Broadcom will continue to dominate the space, benefiting from the IC market. Qualcomm will also see growth due from an uptake of its snapdragon platform in the smartphone market.
All this data will make 2013's sexiest dream job related to math. "In the next few years we will see some very important milestones achieved for the wireless connectivity market," predicts ABI Research Analyst Peter Cooney. "In 2013 cumulative shipments of Bluetooth-enabled devices will surpass 10 billion and Wi-Fi enabled devices will surpass 10 billion cumulative shipments in 2015."
Devices with two or more wireless connectivity technologies integrated will see strong revenue growth particularly in high volume consumer markets, such as laptops, tablets, and TVs. Platform solutions will see the strongest growth, from a smaller base, as these enable OEMs to achieve even faster time to market in very competitive areas such as low-end smartphones.
Some of the more difficult silos to integrate, however, will become those related to mobile, especially apps, according to Gregor Petri, a Gartner analyst. He said some of those examples will come from a variety of companies, such as search engines wanting to become social networks, or social networks and Web retailers wanting to become advertising specialists.
The concept, which spilled over from the "Open Innovation" era, "where companies could make the market pie bigger by working together (instead of fighting over who got what piece of the existing pie)," should prevail when it's in the best interest of consumers, Petri said. Consumers also will gain control of the data.