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Over 250 million RF4CE chips to ship in 2015

Posted: 11 Feb 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RF4CE ICs? low-power wireless technologies? IEEE 802.15.4 ICs?

More than 250 million RF4CE ICs will be shipped in 2015, according to a new IMS Research report titled The World Market for Low-Power Wireless, 2011 Edition.

The market research firm attributes such strong growth to the remote control's transition from IR to RF, which enables bi-directional communication and operation outside the line of sight. Released in 2009, RF4CE is also strongly favored by the industry for use in forthcoming remote-control products.

By 2015, annual shipments of RF4CE are forecast to be higher than those of other low-power wireless technologies using the IEEE 802.15.4 PHY. Lisa Arrowsmith, senior market analyst at IMS Research, explains, "Use of other low-power wireless technologies that use IEEE 802.15.4such as ZigBee, WirelessHART, ISA100 and proprietary solutionsare all set to grow in the coming years. However, in 2015, over half of all IEEE 802.15.4 ICs being shipped are forecast to use RF4CE. Yet RF4CE is not a direct competitor to most of these other technologies, aside from a relatively low number of IEEE 802.15.4 ICs used with proprietary software for CE controls. The other low-power technologies based on IEEE 802.15.4 are active in very different areas. For example: WirelessHART and ISA100 are both aimed at industrial environments (process industries, in particular); and ZigBee is being adopted in smart metering gateways, associated 'HAN' devices, and other residential and commercial automation products."

The RF4CE Consortium was founded by major consumer electronics companies, including Panasonic Corp., Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, and Sony Corp. (before being absorbed into the ZigBee Alliance in early 2009). Since the specification was completed, additional CE providers, such as Vestel, SMK and Toshiba, have announced the use of RF4CE in certain product ranges.

There is a notable trend toward the use of RF technologies instead of IR in some consumer devices; however, that is not to say that there will be smooth sailing for RF4CE, with other competing RF technologies such as Bluetooth low energy weighing in. However, the early activities of RF4CE, combined with significant industry enthusiasm for the technology, have moved IMS Research to forecast annual RF4CE IC shipments to reach over a quarter of a billion units in 2015.





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