Wi-Fi® Expands as the Center of Leading-edge Technologies in 2011

Data indicates stronger user demand than two years ago; device shipments expected to reach two billion by 2015

Jan 06, 2011, 08:00 ET from Wi-Fi Alliance

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new poll conducted by Wakefield Research in conjunction with the  Wi-Fi Alliance® shows that while consumers' high hopes for certain futuristic technologies have not yet come to fruition, they have embraced other technologies they never anticipated would become commonplace, such as Wi-Fi®.  The poll results show that consumer appetite for Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets has expanded in the last two years, and new analyst reports indicate sales momentum is expected to continue over the next several years.

"Wi-Fi technology unleashes our imagination, and we have only begun to see the countless ways in which it will evolve," said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance.  "Our industry continues to innovate to keep pace with the connectivity requirements of a wide range of applications, and consequently the next few years will see significant expansions in Wi-Fi performance capabilities and ease of use."

Two-year consumer preference tracking data from the Wi-Fi Alliance poll illustrates growing demand for Wi-Fi technology in a variety of devices. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they will make sure their next cell phone is Wi-Fi-enabled – up from 43 percent in December 2008. Sixty-five percent of the poll respondents said it is likely they'll seek Wi-Fi capability in every tech item they buy in 2011.

Shipment volume of Wi-Fi devices is further evidence of the growth in consumer demand. ABI Research reports that in 2010, Wi-Fi shipments grew to 761 million products - a 29 percent increase from 2009. Growth in Wi-Fi-enabled products is also reflected in the continued increase of Wi-Fi device certifications.  In 2010, the highest-volume year ever for Wi-Fi Alliance certifications, 62 percent more devices were Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ than in 2009.

"Devices such as cellular handsets, netbooks, TVs and portable music players saw the largest increase in Wi-Fi technology inclusion in 2010," said Philip Solis, research director for mobile devices at ABI Research. "We estimate that Wi-Fi device shipments will continue to rise globally, surpassing two billion by 2015."

No flying cars yet, but Wi-Fi delivers a future many couldn't imagine

The Wakefield Research / Wi-Fi Alliance poll also examined how today's technology reality meets their earlier expectations of the future.  After childhoods spent watching The Jetsons, Star Wars, and Star Trek, 76 percent of consumers thought technology like flying cars, robot butlers, and holographic communication would be widely available by now.  Although those conveniences haven't yet arrived, technology has come a long way.

Notably, 29 percent of respondents didn't anticipate Wi-Fi technology becoming as ubiquitous as it is today, yet Wi-Fi has been integral in giving birth to many far-reaching innovations:

  • Cars remain grounded for now, but automotive Wi-Fi technology allows drivers to view a vehicle's diagnostics from a smartphone and sync their home music library with the car's media player
  • Wi-Fi video conferencing allows people to communicate face-to-face – even from opposite sides of the world – at least until holographic communication and transporter beams arrive
  • To the disappointment of 66 percent of respondents, robot butlers aren't yet available, but Wi-Fi technology makes it possible for homeowners to control thermostats and appliances or monitor security systems while away from home
  • Health care monitoring devices enabled with Wi-Fi can send patient information to a remote provider monitoring system, allowing for direct, real-time connectivity between patients and health care professionals


Wi-Fi technology continues to evolve to meet user needs for the future. Wi-Fi Alliance recently launched Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct™, a certification program for device-to-device communication without a wireless network or access point. And now the Wi-Fi industry has its sights set on increasing Wi-Fi throughput and range, with upcoming certification programs for Wi-Fi in the 60 GHz frequency band and with Very High Throughput (VHT) Wi-Fi in 5 GHz. The Wi-Fi Alliance also continues work addressing enterprise manageability and improved ease of use at home and in public hotspots.

"Wi-Fi has become an important part of people's connected lives over the last ten years, and our industry is not standing still," continued Figueroa. "2011 will be a year of important progress in Wi-Fi technologies that will shape the future of consumer and enterprise electronics."

For more information about Wi-Fi Direct™ or Wi-Fi technology, visit http://www.wi-fi.org/.

Methodological note: The study was conducted among 1,054 Americans ages 18+. The interviews were conducted by Wakefield Research between December 10th and December 16th, 2010. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population aged 18 and older. Survey results have a margin of error of 3.02%

About the Wi-Fi Alliance

The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global non-profit industry association of hundreds of leading companies devoted to the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology across devices and market segments. With technology development, market building, and regulatory programs, the Wi-Fi Alliance has enabled widespread adoption of Wi-Fi worldwide.

The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ program was launched in March 2000.  It provides a widely-recognized designation of interoperability and quality, and it helps to ensure that Wi-Fi enabled products deliver the best user experience.  The Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 9,000 product certifications to date, encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets.  

Wi-Fi®, Wi-Fi Alliance®, WMM®, Wi-Fi Protected Access® (WPA), the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo, the Wi-Fi logo, the Wi-Fi ZONE logo, and the Wi-Fi Protected Setup logo are registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance; Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™, Wi-Fi Direct™, Wi-Fi Protected Setup™, Wi-Fi Multimedia™, and the Wi-Fi Alliance logo are trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

SOURCE Wi-Fi Alliance