Non-military free-space communications links to enjoy strongest growth in Asia as European demand stagnates.
A new forecast by market researchers at ElectroniCast Consultants suggests that the market for devices used in commercial free-space optical (FSO) communications systems will near-double by 2018. However, such is the niche appeal of the technology that, outside of military use, the total market will still be worth less than $60 million by the end of the forecast period. According to ElectroniCast’s white paper, in 2012 the global market for devices used in commercial FSO links grew by 13% on the previous year, reaching just shy of $30 million.
The research firm divides the market into three key geographical regions: the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC). Over the next five years the market is expected to expand at a modest rate overall, although growth will be more rapid in the Asia-Pacific region (19%) than elsewhere. In contrast the EMEA region – currently the largest of the three with a market estimated at $11.4 million last year – will grow at a measly 4.6% and be the smallest of the three by 2018.
Meanwhile, deployments in the Americas are forecast to grow at a compound rate of around 12% to reach $21.2 million by 2018. “The increase in the consumption of FSO links in the Americas region will be attributed to not only continued upgrades and network facilitation in the US and Canada, but also from the accelerating economic growth of major cities in Latin America,” stated Electronicast.
Its researchers believe that while the APAC region already has advanced communication technology in Japan and elsewhere, there is scope for FSO deployment in some countries, such as Australia, China and India. “The APAC region has rapidly expanding market opportunities and therefore the forecast shows this region with the fastest annual growth,” Electronicast says.
To read more: http://optics.org/news/4/1/3