SRW Education Lacking
August 14, 2017
a recent B2B technology survey of 455 U.S.-based companies in nine
vertical markets, ABI Research finds that almost 70% of respondents
currently have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other short-range wireless (SRW)
communications technologies in operation, with the remainder set to
deploy in the next 12 months. But there is still a need for SRW
education and awareness that extends beyond smartphones and tablets into
emerging IoT applications, such as asset tracking and sensor monitoring.
“The consistent ranking of smartphones and tablets as the most
innovative technologies might suggest limited knowledge of Wi-Fi and
Bluetooth technologies beyond the consumer electronics space. There is a
need for greater education on how SRW solutions can be used in more
advanced and valuable ways, such as asset tracking, indoor location, and
wireless sensor networking, all the while aligning with the existing
infrastructure,” says Andrew Zignani, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.
The survey demonstrates a growing shift toward connecting manufacturing
equipment/devices and/or systems to the IS/IT network for remote
monitoring using SRW solutions, with 85% currently deploying Wi-Fi and
75% deploying Bluetooth. While less than one third of companies surveyed
deploy 802.15.4 solutions, more than 44% plan to deploy the technology
in the future. This signifies potential growth for ZigBee, WirelessHART,
and other mesh solutions in this space.
can leverage smartphones, tablets, and smart glasses as
human-machine-interfaces to monitor and configure machines wirelessly.
Alternatively, a more elaborate mesh network can transmit data to a
central gateway and control system. Wireless devices save time by
reducing the need for manual measurements. They also eliminate expensive
human-machine interface (HMI) equipment, give workers greater
flexibility, increase safety, and are ideal for hard-to-reach
installations and hazardous environments.
In healthcare environments, survey respondents see mobile devices and
consumer wearables as the main transformative technologies over the next
five years. In contrast, respondents consider clinical-grade wearables,
remote monitoring, home health monitoring, and asset tracking to be
lower priority innovations, with only 2% seeing asset and resource
tracking as the most important technology transformation. This is
despite equipment misplacements being a key burden in healthcare
Respondents cite the main SRW technology adoption barrier for
healthcare, manufacturing, and retail environments to be aligning the
technologies with the existing framework. Asset tracking and indoor
location vendors are beginning to note this friction and trying to make
it easier for infrastructure teams to buy into the idea by leveraging
existing Bluetooth or Wi-Fi infrastructure, enabling much simpler
deployment and reducing the burden on already constrained IT resources.