Internet of things at Electronica: Implications for power supply vendors
Nov 21, 2016
Considered one of the most important fairs for electronic systems and components, Electronica, was held in Munich November 8–11. Electronica takes place every two years. A total of 2,913 companies from more than 50 countries exhibited their products and services. According to the fair’s organizers, attendance at this year’s exhibition had an increase of 7 percent over the attendance at the 2014 exhibition. Not including Germany, countries with the largest number of exhibitors were China, Taiwan, the USA and Great Britain.
Exhibition sectors and themes
There were almost 20 sectors at Electronica this year. Popular sectors included automotive, semiconductors, sensors, wireless and power supplies. Companies at the show present their components in the context of applications. A predominant theme at this year’s show was “Connected Worlds—Safe and Secure,” which was loosely categorized in the application area Internet of Things (IoT) and crossed over several sectors.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a conceptual framework, enabled by embedding connectivity and intelligence in a wide range of devices. The embedded connectivity allows the device to be directly connected to the internet or to an IP addressable device. This connectivity can be wired or wireless. As well, devices can include sensors and/or user interfaces.
IoT has been driven by nearly ubiquitous connectivity, decreasing cost for processing and sensor technologies, and the use of the Internet for communication. Connected devices can increase communication, automate industrial processes, enhance customer relationships, and provide information that can be processed into useful actions.
The importance of infrastructure
Networking infrastructure makes the landscape of connected devices work. Routers, switches, base stations, and servers are all critical to the IoT market. Reliability of the network depends on the successful operation of its components. Dramatic increases in internet activity and commercial cloud traffic can put a strain on networks during peak demand periods and increase the power use. Further, the growth of networking traffic can require the deployment of more network hubs and gateways that must be powered from the AC line.
Opportunities for power component/supply vendors
IoT provides an opportunity for power designers to develop solutions for a new market segment. Some new developments and technologies include:
- External power supplies that meet the US Department of Energy (DOE) Level VI and the European Union’s (EU) Code of Conduct (CoC) Tier 1 or CoC Tier 2 energy efficiency standards can help to offset the increase in power demand. For example, CUI recently announced that the majority of its line of external AC-DC power supplies now meet the European Union’s (EU) Code of Conduct (CoC) Tier 1 and Tier 2 energy efficiency standards, as well as the US DOE Level VI energy efficiency standards.
- Energy-harvesting technologies with power management ICs that can replace battery or extend battery life. For example, Cypress PMICs enable energy harvesting from ambient light, vibrations and thermal variations to fully power or extend battery life in IoT applications.
- Research from Graz University of Technology in Austria that uses silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This battery technology enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery. The on-board power supply of a microchip has the potential to extend the range of applications of microelectronics.
In summary, power solutions that provide energy efficiency, low cost and simplicity will be paramount for success in IoT applications.
For more information, see IHS Power Supplies Intelligence Service.
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