Radios move to a programmable model

Radio communications have expanded over the past few decades as new frequencies are made available to military users, first responders and others. This expansion is driving a dramatic shift in communication technologies as developers move away from single-frequency radios.

Software defined radio has been around as a concept for years, and it’s seen some use. Its growth rate should explode over the coming decade. Military strategists are making a strong push to adopt programmable radios. A number of field tests have proven that the concept works, providing a way for soldiers and officers to get the wealth of information available from satellites, unmanned vehicles and myriad other sources.

Automakers who have to bring in signals beyond HD radio and satellite radio that’s different on every continent are also starting to examine software defined radio. There’s a fair chance that the technology could reduce the number of radios, since one can handle the task of many.

But the increased openness could also drive more growth. It’s not uncommon for open architectures to improve usability. If more individual soldiers carry radios and more unmanned vehicles use them, the high reliability market could see some nice market growth.

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