The wireless industry is increasingly confident in WiFi investment, according to the results of a recent survey.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance’s 2017 Annual Industry Report, compiled by wireless infrastructure analysis firm Maravedis, found that more than 80 percent of poll respondents were as confident or more confident in WiFi spending than they were a year ago — a record high, the WBA said.

Nearly half of participants, meanwhile, felt more confident in unlicensed spectrum than they did one year ago.

The group argued that WiFi, and its impending new standards, will be vital to supporting the multiple radio access technologies needed to develop 5G networks.

“As WiFi continues to evolve, enabled by new technologies, it has the ability to support new connected services and use cases in the 5G era across all segments," WBA CEO Shrikant Shenwai said in a statement.

The report also indicated that the industry considers location-based services to be the most important factor in monetizing WiFi in 2018, with 37.5 percent of respondents identifying them as an important strategy. One-third, meanwhile, pointed to both roaming and marketing analytics.

The three use cases expected to drive near-term revenue were access to smart homes, cloud-based enterprise services and expansion of the WiFi roaming model. WiFi and Low Power Wide Area Network technologies could also allow for rapid deployment of Internet of Things technologies — provided regulators address interoperability challenges.

“Wireless use cases are expanding rapidly, enabled by new technologies and spectrum in the unlicensed and shared bands,” added Maravedis senior analyst Adlane Fellah. “These innovations are laying the foundations for the 5G era, in which WiFi will play a central role.”

The poll found that 23 percent of respondents had implemented WBA’s Next Generation Hotspot access and authentication initiative, with 30 percent planning to do so by the end of 2017.