ABI Research is tipping a key role for Bluetooth in providing connectivity for IoT, at the expense of other technologies such as Thread, ZigBee, and Z-Wave. ABI Research says shipments of Bluetooth devices will increase by an average of half a billion per year to reach in excess of five billion annually by 2021.
ABI Industry analyst, Andrew Zignani, said: “Bluetooth is evolving from a smartphone and personal area network solution to a scalable, low-power wireless networking technology. This development will unlock growth in beacons, home automation, building automation, lighting, and other smart city applications over the next decade and beyond.”
He added: “As we move forward, Bluetooth will gain market share at the expense of low data rate technologies, like Thread, ZigBee, and Z-Wave, and power hungry technologies like Wi-Fi. While the ubiquitous presence of Bluetooth in smartphones is critical in the short to medium term, mesh networking and other new features will help Bluetooth take advantage of new opportunities across the IoT in the years ahead.”
ABI says beacons represent one of the largest opportunities for Bluetooth-enabled devices and that, by 2021, this will be the third largest market for Bluetooth devices, and the fastest growing. “The smart home market will also see significant growth, though it will still take some time to mature. Its major advancement will stem from home automation devices, smart lighting, and smart appliances.”
ABI says that, by 2021, smartphones will still account for 40 percent of Bluetooth product shipments, but this will represent a 12 percent drop in volume share from 2015. “This significant portion of the market will continue to drive the mobile accessory market, the second largest portion of devices at this time. And as mobile and computing devices rely less on physical ports, notably headphone jacks, Bluetooth accessories will further climb in volume share, expected to capture 13 percent of total Bluetooth product shipments by 2021.”