The global market for free-space optics (FSO) transmitter and receiver link devices used in stationary nonmilitary/aerospace applications registered at $29.83 million in 2012, an increase of 13 percent over 2011, according to a report from ElectroniCast Consultants of Aptos, Calif. The Europe, Middle East and Africa region held a slight lead in terms of relative market share in 2012, but the US will take the market-share lead in 2013, the company said. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to take over gradually by 2018. This region – particularly Australia, China and India – is forecast to see the fastest annual growth in FSO technology through 2018. European inner-city areas, which are relatively difficult for cable installations, also may be a promising market for FSO technology, according to the report. Continued upgrades and network facilitation in the US and Canada as well as accelerating economic growth in the major cities of Latin America are expected to contribute to the consumption of FSO links in these regions. More communications links will be needed for growing infrastructures such as in mass transit, security systems, television and telecommunications, ElectroniCast predicts. FSO technology uses directed laser beams, optical bandwidth transmitters and receivers to link voice, video and data intelligent transfer. The optical wireless technology has advantages over typical optical communications systems, particularly in that it does not have fibers that must be installed and maintained. One huge challenge to FSO technology deployment is that carriers often require backup or alternative technical redundancy, ElectroniCast said. The report is titled ElectroniCast Executive White Paper: Free Space Optics Global Market Forecast & Analysis (2012-2018).