NASHVILLE, Tenn. —To suggest that the wireless industry is about to expand at an explosive rate is kind of like suggesting that a nuclear bomb is something that goes bang. Both are true statements, but the reality is an order of magnitude different.
The wireless industry is poised to enter a period of growth that will surpass anything that’s happened before to the point where old business growth management models aren’t adequate to prepare for what’s to come.
The magnitude of the change is clear if you look. New wireless devices are being announced daily, and they’re doing things that weren't even imaginable just a few years ago. Wireless is simply everywhere, doing apparently everything. For many, the coming explosion is only dimly glimpsed, but it’s really happening.
It was apparent that Murray Wright understands the enormity of the changes about to envelop the wireless industry, but it’s also apparent that he’s having some trouble convincing the rest of the world. He said as much during his keynote address at the TESSCO One conference here. Wright is the president and CEO of TESSCO, a major reseller of wireless equipment.
Wright got his audience’s attention by pointing out that his research predicts that the number of connected devices the industry will have to deal with will grow by over 30 billion by 2020. He broke down the growth year over year in segments of the industry. He counts 33 percent growth for internet of things communications, public safety at 34 percent, small cellular installs by 30 percent. And that’s just part of the increase.
As I sat across from Wright when we talked later, he said that a major challenge was getting others to understand that this tsunami of mobile connectivity growth was almost upon them. “I tried to be a jolt for companies that aren’t ready to change,” Wright said. “We’re all trying to figure out how to prepare.”
Wright said that he sees too many people in the industry who just aren’t ready for the explosion in demand that was already growing. “There are so many demands for connectivity,” he said, noting that those demands are driven by ever growing data consumption and ever growing needs for bandwidth.
Afterwards, I sat in on a session where a representative of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security explained how his agency is already demanding more bandwidth through FirstNet, which is the initiative begun after the Sept. 11 2001 terrorist attacks to allow first responders to communicate through all emergencies. In addition, DHS is dealing with needs for a vast mesh network along the southern border of the US, which in turn is supported by a new satellite communications link.