Over the course of the past few years, the free space optics (FSO) technology has witnessed a substantial rise in prominence across a number of application areas and a high rate of adoption among service providers across the globe. The increased prominence of this technology is driven chiefly by the rising demand for high speed connectivity at low costs and the difficulties associated with the deployment of fiber optics networks. The vast rise in the incorporation of free space optics in high-speed networking technologies such as 3G and 4G, chiefly due to the quick deployment and easy installation of free space optical systems, is also positively impacting the expansion of the market.
Transparency Market Research estimates that the global free space optics market will tread along a remarkable growth path and exhibit a tremendous 39.5% CAGR over the period between 2016 and 2024. At this pace, the market, which held an opportunity of US$81.3 mn in 2015, is expected to rise to US$1,306.1 mn by 2024.
Use of Free Space Optics for Secure Data Transmission to Generate Maximum Returns
Some of the key application areas of free space optics are data transmission, storage area network, defense, last mile access, security, healthcare, airborne applications, and disaster recovery, and others. Of these, the segment of data transmission dominated the market in 2015. Data transmitted via FSO is more secure compared to other wireless transmission technologies, a factor that works in favor of FSO, especially across sectors such as defense and security.
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Applications of free space optics across the defense industry also held a substantial share in the global market in 2015. Owing to the high bandwidth capacity, low bit error rates, less power consumption, and high communications security features, the deployment of FSO technology across several operations in the defense industry has been persistent. Over the forecasting horizon, the rising demand for FSO from other application areas such as healthcare and airborne travel is expected to bolster the global market.
Adoption Rate of FSO in Asia Pacific to Outpace Mature Markets
North America dominated the global free space optics market in 2015 and was followed by Europe. Collectively, these two regions held more than 60% of the market in 2015. The primary factors driving the market for free space optics in these regions include considerable research and development activities and early penetration of latest technologies. Moreover, facilitation of high bandwidth and high quality access to communication methods and constant upgrades to network infrastructure are also fuelling the FSO market in these regions.
The U.S. military has been using FSO technology for several years primarily in the areas of ship-to-ship and naval communications. In Europe, several technological endeavors sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA) and other space agencies have stimulated growth of the FSO market, especially in the domain of space laser communications.
In the next few years, Asia Pacific is projected to be the region with the most promising growth opportunities for free space optics. Developing countries such as India and China have witnessed steady economic growth and splendid development in sectors such as telecommunication and IT in the past few years. These factors are expected to fuel the growth of the FSO technology in the near future. The FSO market in Asia Pacific will see a significant rise in competitiveness owing to emergence of new players and advancement in free space optics technologies.
Some of the market’s notable players are Trimble Hungary Ltd., Optelix,Mostcom Ltd., AOptix Technologies Inc., LightPointe Communications, Inc., IBSENtelecom Ltd., Harris Corporation, Anova Technologies, fSONA Networks Corp., and Wireless Excellence Limited among others.