According to a new report from Communications Industry Researchers, Inc. (CIR) the Active Optical Cable (AOC) market is about to get a boost from the digital signage industry. The new report, ACTIVE OPTICAL CABLING MARKETS: 2013 AND BEYOND, says that by 2018, AOC sales for digital signage will hit $0.7 billion, while data centers will buy $0.5 billion in AOCs. Other non-data center markets will contribute $225 million.
The report notes that copper solutions are persistent, but says that is changing. Bandwidth requirements for multiple uncompressed video streams are pushing signage vendors towards fiber. Video processing OEMs have already built alliances with AOC specialists. AOCs can compete with expensive USB 3.0 shielded twinax cable. Corning has already introduced an optical USB 3.0 extender.
Currently, data center managers are making the best of what they have. CIR believes that AOCs can be sold today to optimize existing infrastructure, by providing higher data rates between storage facilities and servers. Starting in the 2014-15 period, CIR expects AOC data center sales to grow rapidly responding to new demand from Big Data applications. The future of data center AOCs will be in 40 Gbps, 100 Gbps and high-speed InfiniBand.
This report also discusses the rise of Chinese suppliers in the AOC market, exactly as CIR predicted in its 2011 AOC report. According to CIR, these new entrants can now offer product quality that makes them competitive with AOCs from established firms in developed countries. It believes that this will significantly change market shares in the AOC business.