The global UWB market is forecast to reach more than 316.7 million units shipment in 2022 and more than 1.8 billion units shipped by 2030.
The global UWB market is forecast to reach more than 316.7 million units shipment in 2022 and more than 1.8 billion units shipped by 2030. This, according to our latest report, 2022 UWB & Bluetooth Direction Finding.
In our estimates, by 2030, smartphones will be the biggest application segment of UWB, followed by smart home, consumer tag, automotive, consumer wearable, and RTLS B2B.
UWB RTLS B2B
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and Industry 4.0 trend have pushed forward the demand for UWB. In China market, UWB have high volume shipments thanks to mandatory regulation that impose the employee monitoring in plants, mines and other indoor sites. Moreover, in 2021 and beyond we expect a robust growth for the UWB market supported by 5G pairing and UWB AoA anchors that enables UWB technology integration into lighting, enterprise Wi-Fi access points, and in the future: indoor navigation in public areas.
Based on these factors, we forecasted the market volume of UWB for RTLS B2B applications in 2030 will be more than eleven times than in 2018, with a CAGR of more than 21% in the same period.
Bluetooth AoA RTLS B2B
Bluetooth direction finding (AoA) is adopted as a RTLS wireless positioning technology for high precision. In some applications Bluetooth AoA is in competition with UWB, like: Hospitals (patients, employee and asset tracking) and industrial asset tracking. Additionally, Bluetooth AoA could pair with 5G technology for more flexible transmission, minimize network delay and cost. After 2020, a stronger market growth was supported by Covid-19 social distancing momentum use cases and industry automation demand. Moreover, China market in recent times have its own Bluetooth direction finding algorithm and locator supplier (BlueIOT). This could enabling a faster adoption of Bluetooth AoA installation also for China market.
Bluetooth AoA tag and locator market is expected to have a CAGR of 10% between 2018 and 2030.
UWB mobile products released between 2019 and March 2022
Apple: iPhone 11/12/13 Series, Apple watch 6/7 Series and Airtag.
Samsung: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 2, S21 Series (S21 +, S21 Ultra), Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy S22 Series (S22+, S22 Ultra) and Samsung Galaxy smart tag+
Xiaomi: Mix 4
Google: Pixel 6 Pro
Apple was the first company to have launched on the market the UWB technology in its iPhone series and based on our market research, we expect that iPhone will remain the major UWB smartphone up to 2024.
Samsung has already released several flagship smartphone with UWB, and during the 2H of 2022 is expected to launch additional mobile devices. Among Chinese smartphone manufacturers, only Xiaomi in 2021 has released its first flagship smartphone with UWB. Oppo and Vivo are expected to release their first UWB smartphone during 2022.
In 2021, Apple and Samsung has launched their consumer tag and in 2022 are expected that several players will come to the market with this devices. Tile has already revealed that will release a tag with UWB. Among others, Xiaomi is expected to launch its first consumer tag during the 2H of 2022. Tuya has released a UWB+BLE consumer tag reference design and Minew as well is developing a UWB+BLE consumer tag.
Overall, we forecast that UWB smartphones will account for 58% of the total smartphone market by 2030.
Smartphone as a key market trend
“Smartphone as a key” is the major trend in the automotive industry. In 2021, 7% of car shipment is estimated to support Bluetooth or UWB based “Smartphone as a key” solution mainly in China.
BLE with secure MCU is the main smartphone as a key solution by 2022. BLE keyless access is mainly used in China market. However, due to security concern BLE with secure MCU will not penetrate in Europe or North America.
In Europe and North American market, the security from relay attack is required for smart key access therefore high accuracy ranging technology is necessary.
Bluetooth HADM is developed as another secure phone as a key solution. It is expected to arrive the market in 2025, however it is forecasted to have a slower growth due to UWB promotion supported by CCC standardization and UWB Apple’s promotion. Despite Bluetooth HADM solution is expected to achieve lower cost than UWB, it will have 4 years behind from UWB in commercial adoption.
3DB Access/Microchip UWB LRP (Low rate pulse) cars in 2020: VW ID3 and Golf 8.
3DB Access/Microchip UWB LRP (Low rate pulse) cars in 2021: VW Group vehicles (Golf, ID3, ID4 (GTX), Polo (from 9/2021), Caddy, Seat Leon & Leon Tourer, Skoda Octavia, Enyaq, Audi A3 Sportback, Cupra Formentor). Mercedes Benz S-Class (2021) and Land Rover Defender (2021). 3DB Access/Microchip UWB LRP solution is estimated that will continue up to 2024.
For automotive CCC digital key standard, the first model that has started to embed UWB HRP (High Rate Pulse) solution was BMW iX in the end of 2021, with NXP UWB IC onboard.
3DB Access/Renesas Electronics UWB HRP/LRP dual mode solution is compatible with CCC digital key solution and it is expected to be in the market by 2023.
During 2022, are expected more cars that will adopt UWB digital key system promoted by CCC. UWB LRP solution is expected to continue up to 2024.
Due to semiconductor shortage situation that hit in particular the automotive industry, UWB entry system adoption is forecasted to have a gradual adoption with an acceleration between 2025 and 2027, reaching more than 33% of total cars by 2030.
UWB Smart Home
Apple was the first maker to launch a UWB smart home device on the market. The HomePod mini is the first smart speaker with embedded UWB technology.
In May 2021, Plume Design is the first firm to release a Wi-Fi router/mesh (SuperPod Wi-Fi 6) with embedded UWB technology.
In August 2021, Xiaomi has released two high-end segment UWB smart home devices: the smart speaker “Sound” and the smart TV “Master 77” OLED” that could interact with the Mix 4 UWB smartphone using the: “point to connect” technology.
UWB technology adoption into smart home appliances will be driven by relevant applications using precise positioning and relevant use cases interacting with smartphone. In the report we forecasted that UWB smart home devices will reach more than 31% of total smart home devices by 2030.
Other Applications of UWB: Smart Doors, Gate Access, Payment
Apple with the iOS release 15 has enhanced its wallet including several new partners that will offer UWB keys support for its upcoming feature other than car access key, such as: Hyatt Hotels, Walt Disney World, Schlage, Proxy, Evergreen, Latch, Assa Abloy and many others. The upgraded function will add support for compatible digital hotel keys and even smart homes as well.
NTT Docomo, Sony and NXP demonstrated NFC touchless payment using UWB in 2020.
Snowball Technology is already partnering with several smartphones and smart device OEMs for enhancing NFC and eSE for transportation access and fare payment.
We expect between 2024 and 2026 could be the starting point for gate access application and later in 2027 for payment applications.
UWB-IR radar (6-9 GHz)
UWB radar has the capability to recognize the presence detection and under a certain distance is able to identify breath and vital signs.
In automotive, UWB radar is considered competitive compared to other technologies such as 60GHz radar for the following three points: lower power consumption, easier integration with UWB RF ranging digital key systems, and higher penetration rate compared to higher bandwidth technologies.
In the consumer field, presence/absence detection improve the automation and saving energy for example on notebook PC, where the device stays on as long as the person in front is detected. In case of absence UWB radar recognizes the absence and triggers the locks, improving security and battery life.
Presence detection functionality could be addressed to: thermostat, air conditioner, fun and baby monitors.
In the industrial sector: lighting and HVAC automation (Hotel, Hospitals, Nursing homes, Office buildings, etc.). Moreover, M2M collision avoidance presence detection in a mustering area in case of emergency, H2M presence detection and collision avoidance (off-zone) and patience monitoring.
Currently, the main UWB radar chip supplier in the market is Novelda. By 2023, is estimated that other players will join the market, such as NXP, Qorvo, Mauna Kea Semiconductor, and Truesense.
The UWB radar chip market is forecast to reach 34.9 million units by 2030.
For more information, and be in touch with the analyst of “2022 UWB & Bluetooth Direction Finding market analysis”, please visit: https://www.t-s-r.co.jp/en/report/4062.
Giorgio Zanella is a market research analyst at TSR (Techno Systems Research Co. Ltd). He focuses on ultra wideband (UWB) and GNSS.
TSR is a market research firm based in Japan, and specialized in electronics industry. TSR offers customized, multi-client, and periodical report covering worldwide market.