Size matters, today more than ever.
As IoT and other consumer devices such as wearables shrink to meet a “right sized” form factor for a variety of applications, the size of the components that go inside increasingly becoming an issue for device manufacturers. Without sacrificing performance and spectral efficiency, antennas for these devices need to see a big leap forward to help meet the demand of next-generation devices.
Laser Directed Structuring (LDS) technologies have started to make their way into wearable devices and consumer electronics. This technology allows antenna design to be molded or printed directly onto a 3D surface, thus virtually eliminating size requirements, in some cases, for antenna installation. We are starting to see leading wearable companies, and those looking to move into the wearable space, adopting LDS technologies to bring the type of unobtrusiveness and design aesthetic that has been historically limited by technical constraints, says Dermot O’Shea, Co-CEO of Taoglas.
5G quality will live or die by interference mitigation.
As mobile operators forge ahead with their 5G plans, the difference in their levels of service is going to come down to the quality of something no bigger than your fingertip. As the world goes increasingly connected—and connected over the same frequencies of spectrum—interference will grow as volume of devices grow. 5G antennas are powerful, but fickle in terms of being able to propagate a signal more than a few hundred feet, in the best of conditions.
Throw in buildings, vehicles and people, and the distance is shortened drastically, and the number of base stations needed to serve an area will need to grow. A lot of this real-time, high-accuracy promise gets washed away by poor antenna design. High-quality antennas are only half the battle—their oft-overlooked partners, high-quality filters, will better mitigate interference and differentiate carrier quality.
2G and 3G will finally die out
When it comes to IoT, at least. 2018 will be the year Cat-M1 gets to scale, with a series of deployments being announced by mobile operators worldwide. Verizon, for example, now won’t allow devices to connect to anything but LTE, so any new deployments have to be LTE-based.
Smart cities will mature in 2018.
Smart cities will continue to benefit from a host of technologies, including high-precision location accuracy, autonomous technology and IoT. As infrastructure becomes more connected, citizens will reap the rewards. Service calls will be made with high degrees of accuracy; lighting systems will aid safety efforts, parking systems will come of age.
The cities with the cutting-edge technology and infrastructure will attract both people and big businesses. It was the likes of Google, Amazon and Bill Gates creating a buzz in 2017, but we will continue to see big players and up-and-coming innovators join the Smart City bandwagon in 2018.
The author of this blog is Dermot O’Shea, Co-CEO, Taoglas
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