Electronic meters and counters markets expand with wireless

Frost & Sullivan says wireless technologies will help increase market for electronic meters and counters. The global growth forecast for electronic meters and counters is driven in part by growth of wireless technologies, according to a recent report by Frost & Sullivan, "Test & Measurement Press Release—World Electronics Meters & Counters Markets."


Frost & Sullivan says wireless technologies will help increase the market for electronic meters and counters. The global growth forecast for electronic meters and counters is driven in part by growth of wireless technologies, according to a recent report by Frost & Sullivan, "Test & Measurement Press Release—World Electronics Meters & Counters Markets." The report says electronic meters and counters market revenues totaled $578.5 million in 2002 and are projected to reach $686.2 million by 2009. Other drivers include manufacturing growth in Asia and higher anticipated defense spending, the research company says.

Sankar Prakash, Frost & Sullivan Test & Measurement Research Analyst, says, "With the geographical growth of electronic manufacturing services and automobiles looking for low-cost locations, particularly China and Asia-Pacific in general, the meters and counters are likely to witness a growing demand from these regions in the future. In addition, these regions are the next growing markets for the communications products and services. This translates into an increased, but moderate demand for meters and counters from this region which is likely to offset the slowdown in demand in the North American and European regions."

A decade ago, the defense sector was the dominant user of meters and counters, Frost & Sullivan states. There have been signs during the last couple of years that the trend of military expenditure decline has been halted because of the uncertain security environment. Consequent deterioration in the security environment after the Sept. 11 events is expected to result in the resurgence of defense sector in the near-to-medium term. The expected higher defense spending is likely to drive the meters and counters market.

Issues pertaining to bandwidth, frequency spectrum limitations, signal power, and signal-to-noise ratio, among others, are important considerations in the development of 3G (third generation) systems. Development of next generation mobile systems requires test instruments capable of complex modulation, high signal purity, and high-resolution measurements. Although in the manufacturing and network operations environment, some general (frequency based) tests can be performed by power meters and counters used for testing systems, modulation/standards-specific tests for GPRS and W-CDMA systems require new instruments, says Frost & Sullivan.

Bluetooth wireless technology eliminates the need for cables. Bluetooth is a widely accepted and supported technology, expected to emerge as the dominant standard for short range peer-to-peer and home networking of devices and appliances because of its low expected unit price ($5) in the near future, says Frost & Sullivan. In addition to cellular radio, Bluetooth-enabled handsets require an additional radio. Because of the different frequency band (2.4 GHz) and modulation for cellular and Bluetooth, such handsets require instruments capable of catering to both functions. With the increasing use of such handsets, the demand for meters and counters to test them will increase, predicts Frost & Sullivan.

—Mark Hoske, Editor-in-Chief, Control Engineering, MHoske@cfemedia.com

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