The industrial revolution between 1700s and 1800s and technological revolution during 1960s to 2000s gave the mankind a plethora of manned and unmanned systems and devices. Powered by machines and computers respectively, the growth of science and development in every aspect of life knew no bounds. Now, combining these two revolutions, the “Intelligent-Interconnected-Interactive-Informative” solutions and applications are on their way to make “Life, Things and Process” Smarter and Better.
The growing trends and technologies which are dominating the industry drives OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), startups and product makers to place new demands on component manufacturers and distributors. As a result, the electronic-component supplier’s innovativeness proves mettle to meet the designer’s requirements and are largely essential for global competitive marketplace.
IoT (Internet of Things) – a promising technology with sky as the limit, has a potential to change the world just as similar to what Internet did in the past.
-Connects devices (things, edges, nodes, systems) to the internet (seamless connection)
-Follows a common technological paradigm
-Enables remote services
-Exchanges actionable, real-time insights
Organisations are creating business value in smart, connected world and are realizing the capabilities and potential of IoT in areas such as Smart Home, Wearables, Smart city, Smart energy, Industrial applications, Connected cars, Connected health, Smart retail, Smart supply chain, Smart farming, Telematics/Transportation, Smart manufacturing, Factory automation, etc.,
Changes and Challengesare keeping up the Innovation
Progressing forward into an inevitable future, through IoT, the Things have started evolving. Successfully designing, developing and deploying solid IoT applications require various technologies and services to connect products. As it’s every business’ need for the day, the manufacturers are undergoing unprecedented change to deliver these essentials.
The connected products combine electronics, hardware, and software into systems that communicate with other products, services and people using mobile or wired Internet connections. The digital connectedness among various disciplines have become portion of the challenge thereby emerging as a core concept.
Influenced by the requirement of quick adaptedness and time-to-market, the cross-enterprise and extended enterprise processes are undergoing radical changes, techniques and updates. The business of engineering including design, component engineering, manufacturing and supply chain to maintenance, service and support are all looking up at innovative methods and cost-effective solutions to deliver and earn the best possible business results out of IoT.
“Autopilot did not put pilots out of a job; instead it foreshadowed an increasing collaboration between human and machine on complex tasks.”
Just similar to the above quote, IoT is neither aimed at ticking-off business parameters nor a business strategy but is an innovative paradigm shift to improve and accelerate product visibility, create information rich context for making informed decisions and improve operational efficiency.
IoT Impact on Semiconductor Industry:
Increased Buyers, Consolidated Suppliers and Interested End-users
Thanks to IoT’s penetration: 70% of global discrete manufacturers will offer connected products by 2017 and ~30 billion chips will used in IoT applications by 2020, says our market prediction.
Every IoT device would be equipped with memory, a microcontroller, wireless connectivity, power management ICs and bunch of sensors representing a direct growth opportunity for the semiconductor market. So, manufacturers should reassess their strategy around everything from billing to product design and from customer service to security inorder to rapidly adopt to the smart business.
It’s good news for semiconductor suppliers but may not be for semiconductor buyers. The growth of semiconductor usage in the IoT devices means a positive sales impact for the suppliers while the buyers can expect consolidation in the semiconductor industry leading to fewer supplier choices and increased cost for some parts. Consolidation can be in the form of acquisitions and mergers which enable the companies to broaden their product portfolios. To capture the maximum market in the IoT world, many chipmakers are aligning themselves to provide a platform solution aimed at offering most of the IoT requirements.
Companies with products that didn’t have much or any electronics content will now be the new customers for electronic components - all because of the IoT expansion. Non-electronics companies who are now developing new products with IoT functionality are required to qualify electronic component suppliers and hence more buyers for the semiconductors. Also, buyers are going to deal with more semiconductors than they had earlier as well as with suppliers that they had never dealt before.
On the other hand, the chipmakers are under severe pressure to develop chips suiting for IoT applications as well as overcome footprint and power constraints. Semiconductor manufacturers’ technology innovativeness are driving them to incorporate low-power, tiny, and wireless connecting capability requirements for IoT products. Also, IoT System-on-Chips (SoCs) can create huge demand if consume less power, have better connectivity and sensor integration features, and be cost-effective.
IoT –Component Engineering Aspects forSmart Decisions
Quality, reliability, efficiency, enhancement and innovation directly depends on the data collected. Data, in turn depends on the components and hardware used in the devices. Keeping in mind the latest trends and component technologies, the best-fit hardware components selection becomes more critical.
IoT’s potentials such as connectedness, higher reliability, real-time data capabilities, better functionalities and capabilities, etc., pose challenges to create, capture, manage and utilize the huge data. There are also risks involved such as managing design integrity and compliance, coordinating multiple activities and ensuring operational safety.
The tremendous growth ofintelligent-connected products and IoT devices is adding complexity into the design, development and supply chain processes. Electronic component engineering is thus becoming more challenging, inefficient, and risk prone. Managing purchased components used in products through the current disjointed practices are slowly breaking down. So, there is an immediate need for improving integration and streamlining processes such as selection, approval, sourcing and compliance so as to increase productivity while reduce liability and supply chain risks.
Few factors are given below which influences the electronic component part selection for IoT-product design. Determining and evaluating them well in advance can attribute towards speeder time-to-market.
1. Low-power or power-efficient (For battery-operation)
2. Long-range wireless capabilities (Complying to various standards globally)
3. Compact design (Small package / size / footprint)
4. Edge-based processing (End applications)
5. Single package-
-Development board(board-level or box-level)
-Embedded or Component level
6. Cost-effective and Time-to-market
7. Domain expertise level required
8. Product-as-a-service revenue model
9. Interoperability, Compatibility and Usability
Improving performance and agility in a world of increasing production and operations complexity are the key advantages of IoT. In addition to them, security, safety and applicable compliances should be taken care while developing IoT products. This is another important area where component engineering team together with compliance and design teams could assist in smart product development.
Guided by the latest market trends and technologies insight, component engineering team can offer significant value to the management. Focussing IoT, the assistance offered to gather the keydata-points can positively help in strategizing the decision moves in:
a. Choosing the solution partners(semiconductor makers, distributors, software providers, PLMs, ERPs, etc.,)
b. Analysing multiple solutions for a single problem at widely varying price ranges
c. Educating the partners or customers(often treated as a challenging task)
d. Identifying growth areas and competitive advantages
IoT’s impact on every business sector is set to change the way business practices are operating now. The headaches of supply chain, logistics, inventory tracking and manufacturing are being replaced with the power of things ie., communicating and optimizing operations in a better and faster method. IoT enables all the interconnected business processes and related devices to combine device-generated data with other information to deliver new value in real-time.