Enterprises shouldn’t get too caught up in the buzz over USB 3.0 as the technology will not bring many benefits to business devices, according to Burnaby, B.C.-based Icron Technologies Corp.
The USB and video extension firm said the latest iteration of the USB standard is a great technology that will take a few years to make its way into devices, peripherals and PCs. The company also advises organizations to avoid rushing into finding new use cases or business requirements for USB 3.0.
“USB 3.0 is coming and for certain apps and devices it’s going to make a lot of sense,” said Brian Donnelly, vice-president of marketing and business development at Icron. “But don’t forget USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 because they’re not going away anytime soon.”
Donnelly said Icron is working on USB 3.0 extension technology and has early plans to offer a demonstration of the technology sometime next year. He said USB 3.0 will not gain significant traction among consumers until late 2011 or early 2012.
For businesses, Donnelly said, adoption may be even slower because USB 3.0 will initially be targeted at device categories such as high-definition cameras, camcorders, and Web cams.
“Businesses don’t need Web cams and hard drives are not a business driver within many enterprises,” Donnelly said. If anything, he added, tight IT budgets will slow adoption of new USB 3.0-enabled devices.
Donnelly also warned users that USB 3.0 cable length limits will be reduced to three metres (down from five metres in USB 2.0) and USB 3.0 sockets will only be compatible with USB 2.0 inputs at USB 2.0 speeds. Users will have to have a USB 3.0 connector, host and device in order to get the fastest data speeds.
Brian O’Rourke, a principal analyst of digital entertainment covering wired and wireless interface technologies for Scottsdale, Az.-based In-Stat LLC, agreed on Icron’s timetable for USB adoption, but said that limited use case or not, businesses will have to deal with USB 3.0.
The key to USB 3.0 adoption is its integration into core-logic chipset, which will be driven by computer parts manufacturers such as Intel Corp. in 2011. This will mean OEMs will start to be able to integrate USB 3.0 into their PCs in late 2011 and early 2012, O’Rourke said.
“There’s a lot of life left because of the core-logic integration issue,” he said. “USB 2.0 will be the standard for the next 18 months.”
For businesses, O’Rourke said, USB 3.0 will be the next standard and is coming whether they like it or not. But whether devices such as printers, scanners or other multi-function peripherals will come outfitted with the new standard remains to be seen, he said.
O’Rourke said that because USB 2.0 was adopted on such a wide scale — bringing devices more speed than they may have actually needed at the time — the latest iteration of USB will not improve the performance of many office peripherals.
The likely route for USB 3.0 into the enterprise will be via mobile PCs, flash drives and external hard drives, he said.