Technology has a peculiar character; it tends to outperform the imagination of those who created it. Otherwise, unrealistic physical devices driving global communications were beyond our predictions. The Internet of Things adoption is growing and comprehensively sculpturing the industrial as well as the consumer facets. As more stakeholders join the network, the intricacy tends to rise and challenge our wit to innovate. While the trillion-dollar market size doesn’t look like a farfetched dream, businesses must not ignore zettabytes of data streaming through their networks. They must retrospect beyond the UI layers and evaluate the durability of the underlying hardware components.
The following key trends in IoT will have a direct impact on the approach to build quality hardware:
The rise in Semiconductor Consolidation
Broadcom’s famous 100 billion (USD) proposal to acquire Qualcomm had almost created a third front (alongside Intel & Samsung) while embarked on a new trend of enterprise consolidation. Over the past few years, chipset makers have collaborated to produce high-grade components for the fast-paced IoT markets. It had to happen because the rising costs of chip fabrication plants had almost risked the fate of many semiconductor titans. With these mergers, the industry looks forward to actualizing faster and qualitative builds.
However, the existing deployments are at risk. With more consolidation, legacy systems could face makeover notices such as Product Change Notice (PCN), End of Life (EOL), and Last Time Buy (LTB). Moreover, the new lines of consolidated chipsets are cleared by the latest regulatory guidelines from administrative and industrial bodies such as the FCC, FDA, and PTCRB etc.
Products that have surpassed their optimal performing life or those embedded with obsolete technologies are hindering the overall functioning of the IoT setup and should be eliminated. Therefore, new IoT hardware consultants, designers and product owners must make it a point to audit their legacy systems and make necessary modifications.
Sourcing hundreds of mechanical and electrical components, devices, circuit boards and design instruments is one of the leading factors for delays in prototyping and further development. In fact, most IoT projects devote 80% of the budgeting to hardware procurement, assembling and engineering. Given the heterogeneous type of devices, procurement is a major bottleneck that most businesses haven’t been able to resolve.
However, Ioterra foresaw the complications and introduced a brilliant solution simplifying hundreds of development projects. In one of its kind approaches, the firm provides a B2B marketplace for availing reliable IoT service partners or ready to use IoT solutions. The service partners can help all the way from designing a product to manufacturing and deployment. It makes it easier for the business user to sign up and handpick the components or IoT service firms required based on the exclusive project requirements. Furthermore, the business can request sourcing of hardware development professionals. So far, the IoT marketplace platform has empowered projects across healthcare, automobile, manufacturing and others.
A paradigm shift to Edge Computing
One of the major concerns with IoT hardware engineers is the oceanic data streaming to and from the sensors. Besides improving the durability of the devices to accommodate this influx, storage is another essential factor. After a decade of being everyone’s favorite, centralized cloud storage is under scanner as many firms face issues such as high network loads, latency in response and security risks. This has given rise to alternatives and Edge computing is leading from the front.
The idea of capturing, storing and analyzing data closer to its source has helped businesses reduce overhead costs and improvise system efficiency dramatically. What’s driving the demand is the humongous scope of accumulating and processing data when the market touches USD 724 billion by 2023.
Since localized storage streams high volumes of data in a shorter time, the high cost is an issue here. As an alternative, project owners must include low-power MCU architectures at the design stage so that the uninterrupted flow of data is assured.
The Rise of Low Power chipsets
Given the high budgets in IoT projects, cost optimization wherever possible is an essential consideration. Initially, the major IoT development cost overhead was identified with expensive chipsets for short-range requirements.
LoRaWAN, Low Range Wide Area Networks have emerged as an efficient solution in projects ranging from pharma industries, automobiles to end-to-end smart city developments. The building components of these networks are a low power and low-cost chipsets especially made for short-range communications. The global market for LoRaWAN is anticipated to value USD USD 5557 Mn by 2026.
Similarly, Narrow Band Internet of Things (NBIoT) is a low power Wide Area Network radio technology that promises limited range communication at dramatically lower costs. NBIoT offers a better Quality of Service than LoRa due to higher response times. The only drawback here is the fast consumption of battery life.
The way forward – hardware-centric approach
Hardware is the founding element of IoT that could drive the fate of projects to unforeseen risks. Accurate and detailed emphasis on the quality of every layer shouldn’t be surprising for a technology that promises billions in cost savings. That being so, product owners must look forward to fully understanding the complexity of hardware components in the network. A hardware-centric approach will help to make decisive predictions and ensure a longer stint in the semi-digital world.
The author of this blog is Abhinav Dubey.