We have entered the “connected intelligence era1,” a time when networked devices are constantly engaging in communication and lessening the human workload. These IoT networks, like humans, rely on the sensors that work as its eyes and ears.
IoT sensors are part of a device category called microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), which enables IoT devices to register changes in temperature, light, pressure, sound, and motion.2 Like our own eyes and ears, devices rely on the sensors to perform many of the basic functions and would be greatly debilitated without them.
Creating IoT sensors is rarely simple because the MEMS is a very tiny component and most sensors are only a thousandth of an inch in size. Still, around 3 million IoT sensors are manufactured daily, facilitating the functionality of everything from activity trackers to smartphones and are likely to remain a crucial part of the IoT’s anticipated growth.3With the number of connected devices worldwide expected to jump over 285 percent between now and 20204, sensor manufacturers would be wise to capitalize on the rapidly expanding IoT market now, before it’s too late.
How IoT Sensor Development is Driven Forward by the Burgeoning IoT Market
Connected devices are increasingly crucial to our infrastructure and lifestyle and their sensors are increasingly crucial to them.
The following advancements are helping bolster their popularity and usability for the future:
Improved scalability with IPv6 – Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is incredibly flexible. IPv6’s packet header structure, for example, gives IoT device developers a more expandable approach to implementing VXLANs (virtualization technology that simplifies cloud deployments by encapsulating MAC-based OSI layer 2 Ethernet frames within layer 4 UDP packets).
Support from major network providers – When a technology is backed by big players like Amazon, Cisco Systems, IBM, or other major network providers, it’s definitely likely to succeed for years to come, such is the case with the IoT. Each of these companies have already announced that they’re supporting the IoT technology and many more globally recognized brands are likely to join the connected device movement soon.
Reduced need for hardware – Revenue from hardware sales related to IoT devices will be only $50 billion, or 8 percent of the total revenue from IoT-specific efforts, according to BI Intelligence.5 IoT devices are designed to simplify our lives and thus reduce the need for additional hardware.
Faster time-to-value – IoT solutions offer the ability to collect and analyze disparate data, in real-time and across timelines. They empower businesses and consumers with actionable information when they need it, delivering faster time-to-value.
Don’t expect the demand for connected devices, or the sensors that power them, to slow down anytime soon, either. In fact, some tech experts are predicting that over 16 billion connected devices6 will be in use globally by the end of 2015 and 38.5 billion connected devices will be in use by 2020.
Developing Sensor Technology in Sync with IoT
IoT provides unique challenges for sensor manufacturers. It’s a comparatively new market, and requires special research into market demand and technical specifications.
Here are three factors every sensor manufacturer needs to consider during research and development:
Device size – How much physical device space do you have at your disposal? There are often space limitations with IoT devices, but getting device specifications as early as possible ensures that you develop sensors that will fit.
User needs – Developing a strong body of market research is vital to the sensor development and design process. Especially in a market where technology changes so quickly, developers need to stay on board with the rapidly changing tastes of consumers.
Advancements in market technology – During the development of any technology within the umbrella of IoT, changes in one line of technology can affect the demand for tangential lines of development. For example, with each update to the iPhone iOS, new features could be added that would affect or create needs for sensor functionality.
In conducting pre-development research for IoT sensors, manufacturers strike a balance between maintaining reasonable development costs and meeting high market expectations. Sensor manufacturers that make a solid up-front investment in research and development, partnering with an experienced company like Altran, can produce hardware that meets both requirements consistently.
A New Era of Integration: New Development Needs for Sensor Technology
With the full integration of IoT into the users automated lifestyle, everything from smartphones to refrigerators will be connected to the Internet. As more companies take advantage of the opportunities available through connected devices, sensor manufacturers must find ways to address changing real-world needs and create tangible value for the people that use sensor-integrated technology.
Finding a partner that can provide a wide range of technologies and solutions can help sensor manufacturers get the right products and services to market quickly. Plus, a reliable partner ensures sensor manufacturers can control costs and ultimately, capitalize on the rapidly expanding IoT market.
Partnerships are a key tenet of Altran’s success, which is why we constantly connect and collaborate with other key organizations. As the world’s No 1 product engineering services firm in the semiconductor industry, Altran can play a pivotal role in your IoT market success by ensuring your deliverables are at the leading edge of innovation.
The IoT is transforming the way businesses operate because it connects users globally via an open standard, integrated architecture from the cloud to end devices. Please contact us today to learn more.
Sharma, C. (2014, September 24). Connected Intelligence Era: The Golden Age of Mobile. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
Thibodeau, P. (2014, May 6). Explained: The ABCs of the Internet of Things. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
3 MEMS: The micro-machines inside your most beloved technologies. (2015, January 14). Retrieved September 17, 2015.
4 IoT Connected Devices to Reach 38.5 Billion by 2020. (2015, July 28). Retrieved August 28, 2015.
5 Research for the Digital Age. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2015.
6 Chetan Sharma: Technology & Strategy Consulting. (n.d.). Retrieved August