As we embark on a new decade, we expect to see more innovation and advancement in the world of Wi-Fi, particularly in terms of enterprise connectivity. Looking forward, we have identified six predictions in Wi-Fi technology, markets, and themes for the year ahead.
Wi-Fi 6™ will gain real traction
Released last year, Wi-Fi 6 promises to deliver an improved connectivity experience addressing device and application needs in a range of consumer and enterprise environments. The net benefit being the ability to serve more concurrent devices at faster speeds than ever before. We expect to see increased hardware support for Wi-Fi 6 and correspondingly wider adoption albeit for a price.
IoT tech will increase demand for network access control
While the use cases for IoT are theoretically unlimited, 2020 will be the year we see increased market adoption on several fronts. Use cases such as digital entry, hotel staff safety alerting and energy conservation will seek to improve guest engagement, staff safety and energy efficiency. As the IoT grows more mainstream, network capacity and access control will be even more important than ever.
5G connectivity will become a reality
Last year, we saw 5G gain steam, but as we predicted, it hasn’t quite taken off despite the marketing hype surrounding it. This year that will change. We expect to see carriers onboard numerous urban markets and more and more handsets will be offered to consumers enabled with the 5G chip set. Specifically we believe market leaders, Apple and Samsung will release new hardware that supports 5G more broadly, paving the way for an increase in usage.
Captive portals for Wi-Fi access will be optional
There are lots of options for Wi-Fi authentication, but most involve a captive portal. For some, a Wi-Fi login and welcome screen is an excellent brand touch point. For others, it’s a point of friction. With Hotspot 2.0 and other new dynamic passphrase technology, brands can enable seamless and secure Wi-Fi connectivity, without the need for a captive portal. 2020 will be the year a major hotelier adopts one of these advancements in support of their loyalty members.
Demand for digital privacy & security will rise
Government and public concern around digital privacy will continue to become more mainstream and the demand for more secure connectivity will rise. Virtually every business that houses or manages consumer information will invest more in Wi-Fi security, like 802.1x and two-factor authentication. Another major data breach at a national level will underscore the need of both consumers and businesses to be more protected. We will continue to learn more about the implications our always-on connectivity has on our privacy and security.
Convergence will help to create a seamless experience
Consumer demand for always-on connectivity will force the market to work together to build a seamless experience–across the heterogenous landscape of cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Increasingly we envision a fabric of connectivity that’s seamless for the user, facilitated by the intelligence on the handset and interoperability of various networks working together in the back end. While the capacity of both cellular and WiFi networks is rising rapidly with new technologies like 5G and Wi-Fi 6, the volume of data being consumed and shared is also growing by leaps and bounds.
All-in-all, the Wi-Fi industry shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it continues to grow rapidly–even with the strides in cellular connectivity, like 5G. We believe in the power of connectivity and are excited to see what 2020 for the world of Wi-Fi.