About 99 percent of U.S. consumer electronic devices will be connected wirelessly to the Internet or to other devices within a decade, the Consumer Electronics Association forecasts. If that happens, you will understand why we someday will be talking about personal wireless penetration of 200 percent to 500 percent.
Though there are only so many connections a typical consumer needs to support smart phones, PCs or tablets, there are quite a few other connections which could be made to all consumer electronics devices, autos and health sensors, for example.
What matters most for mobile service providers, of course, is the number of wireless network connections sold to each consumer and each household. If you assume a five-person household where each person has a smart phone with a data plan, plus household broadband, plus one data card, you already have household penetration of broadband at 700 percent, for example. Add two auto connections and you are up to 900 percent household penetration.
Personal mobile broadband penetration would still be less than 1.5 per person, but you can see how the upward trend could continue as more devices get network connections.
Citing CEA figures that 171 million connected devices sold last year “leveraged some type of spectrum,” CEA research director Shawn DuBravac predicts that, ten years from now, “we’re going to look back at that number and say, ‘look how small that was.'”
Blu-Ray players, digital televisions and smart phones, to products such as dog collars, heart sensors, pill bottles and automobiles are some of the new expected venues.
The heart of connectivity in the years to come will be in “cloud” technologies that enable consumers to shift storage of data and applications from their electronic devices to the Internet, CEA also says.
As a result, DuBravac said there will be a shift in emphasis from download speeds to upload speeds “and how fast we can move content up into the cloud and then pull it back down.”