Antennas enable wireless communication between a set of devices and their associated networks, converting the radio waves into electrical power and vice versa. Smart antennas are advanced antennas using high-end technology that are considerably more powerful and reliable than regular antennas. Radio antennas are being extensively used, as they are cost efficient and are deployed on a large scale. RADARs are finding applications in many fields, including automobile, defense, and drones.
Investments in autonomous vehicles are driving the demand for RADAR and related communication systems. Satellite communication and cellular communication players are also investing in improving the existing infrastructure. This is resulting in augmenting the demand for antenna systems. Increased adoption of smart wearables and Internet of Things - enabled devices in healthcare, media, manufacturing, and other verticals has been observed in the recent years. With the increasing adoption of technology, the need for communication-enabling technologies is also growing. Huge investments and advancements in technology are expected to further aid the growth of the market. However, high competition in the industry from various technologies and need for large R&D resources are challenging the growth of the market.
North America and Europe are the primary regions portraying potential for this industry. Developed communication infrastructure and increasing investments for the development of new infrastructure from military and defense, satellite, and cellular communication are expected to drive the growth. Shortly, with smartphones gaining penetration in new markets and the advent of new communication technologies, such as 4G (and further advanced technologies like 5G) expected to enter the market, the demand for smart antennas seems lucrative for market prospects. Furthermore, with international companies exploring the potential in emerging nations, this sector is witnessing increasing investments. Overall, the market is expected to grow at a healthy rate over the forecast period.
New Opportunities in the Antenna Market
The need for an alternate technology is of utmost importance, due to the limitations of existing technologies, such as 2G, 3G, and 4G, which have limited bandwidth, high latency, lack of real-time applications, and poor mobility handling. The 5G technology has the potential to deliver a unified communication platform capable of dealing with an increase in several orders of magnitude, of the number of assets, volume, variety of information, and reaction times for a wide range of industrial, healthcare, and ICT sectors.
Owing to the advent of 5G technology, major telecommunication companies and industry groups are investing in 5G-related infrastructure. Presently, the technologies that are best suited for 5G in the market, in the long run, are not yet clear, but a few early preferences have emerged. Among them are millimeter waves, massive MIMO, full duplex, beam-forming, and small cells technologies that could enable 5G networks. Wireless networking engineers are working toward designing technologies to deliver data with less than a millisecond of delay (compared to about 70 milliseconds on 4G networks) and bring peak download speeds of 20 gigabits per second (compared to 1 Gb/s on 4G) to users. This technology is expected to witness complete implementation over the forecast period and is expected to have a huge impact on the antenna market.
North America has the Largest Market Share
North America held the largest market share, due to the strong presence of companies and high technology penetration of antennas in various industry verticals in the region. The United States has been estimated to remain the strongest market in this region, while Canada is projected to grow at a faster pace over the forecast period. As of September 2017, there were about 215,000 cell-phone towers in the United States. This number is further expected to increase over the forecast period, owing to the growing penetration of smartphones, thus driving demand for antennas. Replacement of the older products is also expected to drive the demand.
Growing adoption of IoT in this region has led to the integration of connected solutions in a wide range of sectors, like manufacturing, healthcare, and retail, which is creating the need for improved communications that require antennas. The United States is also expected to be one of the primary adaptors of 5G technology, which is further expected to boost the demand for antennas over the forecast period. The United States increased its military expenditure in 2017 under the Trump administration, which has greatly benefited the aerospace & defense industry. The usage of military grade antennas in these industries is expected to promote their growth, due to increased funding.
Key Developments in the Market
• December 2017 - Cobham introduced two ultra-wideband gooseneck antennas, designed for use on ground robots, unmanned vehicles, manpacks, broadcast cameras, and vehicles. The wideband nature of the antennas allows users to future-proof their systems and give increased flexibility when using software-defined radios.
• June 2017 - Cobham launched its next-gen anti-jam GPS system. The system provides significant immunity to jamming, as compared to a conventional GPS antenna, allowing the platform to operate over 100 times closer to the jammer while maintaining its GPS reception.
• May 2017 - Cobham announced the development of antenna solutions for systems designed to compromise the unlawful use of drones.
Major Players: LINX TECHNOLOGIES, MOTOROLA INC., SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO. LTD, INTEL CORPORATION., QUALCOMM INC., AND HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC., amongst others.
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