Thintri, Inc. announces the release of Millimeter Waves: Emerging Markets, a new market study that explores the current state of millimeter wave technology and market opportunities for systems operating in the millimeter wave range. This in-depth investigation discusses millimeter wave technologies already creating significant markets, emerging market opportunities, and overall market development. The report surveys today’s technologies and applications, separates hype from reality and assesses the applications where millimeter wave technology will open up significant new markets, with market forecasts going out to 2020.
Millimeter Wave Systems Overview
- Technology Background
- Technical Issues (GaAs vs. SiGe/CMOS, packaging, components, etc.)
- Public Policy, Regulation, Licensing
- Standards (Wireless HD, WiGig, etc.)
- Established Markets
- Consumer Products
- Defense & Security
- Active vs. Passive Systems
- Markets in Checkpoint Security – Airports, concerts, sports events, etc.
- Markets in Loss Prevention/Inventory Control
- Markets in Through-Wall Imaging
- Markets in Consumer Retail/Clothing Sales
- Issues of Privacy and Public Perception
- Competition in X-ray backscatter
- Established Lower-Frequency Applications
- Applications for Millimeter Waves (Enterprise, Backhaul, PtP, etc.)
- Licensed vs. Lightly Licensed vs. Unlicensed
- Performance and Availability
- 23 to 39 GHz Bands
- 60 GHz Band Markets
- E-Band Markets
- 60 GHz: Consumer, Home Media Markets
- Data Compression
- Hardware Considerations
- Market Growth
- Automotive Radar
- 24 GHz vs. 77 GHz
- Market Growth: Trucks, Automobiles
Defense & Security Radar Markets
- Smart Munitions
- Perimeter & Surveillance Radar, Intrusion Detection
- Defense vs. non-Defense
- Range Considerations, Long Range vs. Short Range
- Marine Radar
- Defense & Intelligence Communications
Emerging Millimeter Wave Markets
- Commercial Ka-Band Satellite (VSAT) Communications
- Medicine and Health
- Chemical Monitoring
- Construction & Infrastructure
Background on Millimeter Wave Systems and Their Markets
Millimeter wave radiation, that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum generally defined as 20 GHz to 300 GHz, has been exploited only in some relatively limited markets. Now, developments in technology and the regulatory environment have expanded existing millimeter wave applications and opened new, potentially large markets.
The millimeter wave band is a large slice of the microwave spectrum that encompasses radiation with a range of different capabilities. Consequently, the applications enabled by millimeter waves are quite diverse, ranging from security imaging to telecommunications to smart munitions and many others.
Having long been confined to scientific research, i.e., radio astronomy and sensing, millimeter wave technology has established itself in defense, where it is used in satellite-to-satellite communications and smart munitions. More recently developing markets include consumer satellite communications that bring broadband Internet access to businesses and rural consumers, wireless broadband media transfer within the home, automotive radar for tasks such as adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance, and telecommunications links that are approaching the performance of optical fiber but at a fraction of the cost. Millimeter wave security imaging, such as that used to screen airline passengers and personnel at other checkpoints, is undergoing deployment at airports and businesses, where it is used for loss prevention and inventory control. Systems are even commercially available for retail clothing shoppers to conduct body measurements to determine clothing sizes and recommend appropriate products and brands.
Development of millimeter wave communications technologies was necessitated by the scarcity of available frequencies in the lower frequency microwave ranges, which have become congested in many locations due to demand from public and private communications, broadcasting, aircraft guidance and radar, and others. The advantage of millimeter waves in communications, however, is the greater capacity to carry information, due to the higher frequency. Another benefit to millimeter waves is a narrower beam, which permits much smaller antennas.
The main limitation of millimeter waves is range. Due to absorption by atmospheric oxygen and water vapor, signal strength drops off more rapidly with distance than in other bands. However, this attenuation is also one of the prime advantages of millimeter waves in communications. The limited range, combined with the narrow beam, prevents interference between neighboring links, even in congested environments like large cities. It also makes signal interception much more difficult, if not impossible. These features have led to a greatly reduced regulatory burden for millimeter wave communications, which has further encouraged widespread deployment. Consequently, telecommunications companies have seized on millimeter wave systems, with near-optical fiber performance but much lower cost, as an alternative to laying optical fiber in locations where it would be physically impossible or too costly, for emergency broadband provision when conventional fiber systems fail, and routine wireless backhaul deployments. Millimeter wave systems are also ideal in many campus and enterprise broadband networks.
Markets for millimeter wave technology are growing rapidly, and in some applications, more than 100% per year. Several markets will surpass $1 billion in yearly global sales within the forecast period of the report. In others, millimeter wave technology will fill key applications, but with more modest overall sales.
The Thintri market study, Millimeter Waves: Emerging Markets, relies on extensive, in-depth interviews with industry executives, market development managers and government and academic researchers. The report provides a survey of the current state of the art in millimeter wave technology, an assessment of potential applications in terms of their commercial viability, discussion of market development and forecasts for individual markets from 2012 to 2020.
Understand the Markets
The outlook for millimeter wave technology is extraordinarily promising. Steady reductions in hardware cost and progress in system development are dovetailing with growing demand in a number of markets and, in some applications, greatly relaxed regulation, are all leading to growth in widely diverse markets. Depending on the application, that growth is already well underway, is starting now, or will start soon. Most importantly, some of the most significant markets, including security and telecommunications, are not only potentially quite large but relatively immune to economic conditions. In many applications, technology requires little if any development to capture significant markets. In others, recent innovations are reducing costs dramatically and bringing millimeter wave systems within striking distance of mass markets.
Some emerging markets require little more than education of users in the capability of millimeter wave systems while in others, that case has already been made and equipment sales are growing rapidly. In most areas, technologies have matured to the extent that scientific understanding is not an issue; instead, the principal requirement is bringing prices in line with market demand.