How IoT will evolve this year and why disposability and recyclability will determine the future
The year is shaping up to be one of the most innovative in history, and you may be wondering which trends will emerge to drive connected life forward. After we saw IoT become a household name in 2017, says Vivek Mohan, director of Wireless IoT Products at Semtech, here’s what I believe 2018 has in store.
As people try to find greener and more energy-efficient methods, energy harvesting will be important in the Internet of Things (IoT), especially for low-power technology. This will have particular relevance with solar power, thermal energy, wind energy, salinity gradients, and kinetic energy captured and then stored for small, wireless autonomous devices like those used in wearable electronics. Wireless sensor networks will take on added significance as these new cutting-edge IoT technologies are developed.
The field service industry is huge, encompassing 20 million field technicians spread across the world. These individuals are responsible for maintaining everything from hospital equipment, to office elevators and heavy manufacturing machines. Maintenance can be a daunting and costly task, so creating efficiencies and leveraging predictive maintenance is crucial. IoT technology such as sensors and real-time monitoring are becoming more crucial because organisations need to know exactly where and when equipment needs to be adjusted or replaced.
Keeping rodents and pests, such as rats, mice and termites, away is an age-old problem that has deep consequences when it comes to meeting food and building safety requirements.
Leveraging sensors with IoT devices and networks is becoming more prevalent, and in the year ahead we will see even more creative applications of this technology for monitoring of pests, so people and businesses can detect possible problems before they become serious.
However, by far the biggest trend that I believe we will see this year will be the rise of disposable IoT. As IoT become more mainstream, new types of use cases and applications appear that require low-cost and low-power solutions with the ease of one-time usage.
Disposable technologies are not a new concept (think disposable cameras), but disposable technologies for IoT is new. The concept of disposable IoT is in its infancy, yet we are starting to see innovation in this area from large industries.
For example, the U.S. Marine Corps is now testing single-use drones made of cardboard, powered by inexpensive motors, to deliver supplies to combat troops. Tech companies have also begun using low-cost, low-power, green tags that can track real-time feedback.
Various challenges needed to be met before truly disposable IoT could become reality. Firstly, the diversity of the types of application that exist within IoT and the subsequent need for multiple types of technology – and the adaptation of others – has posed perhaps the biggest hurdle.
A further challenge has been related to the battery. Indeed, a key issue with IoT stems from the fact that many devices require batteries, but these energy sources need to incorporate materials with much lower levels of toxicity than, for instance, lithium-ion batteries, which are difficult to recycle. I’ve seen this innovation up close, as Semtech recently invested […]