The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to an evolving and rapidly expanding global ecosystem comprising the connection via the Internet of all kinds of common objects with embedded electronics, and the processing of the data collected, shared and stored in “The Cloud.” Small embedded controllers, actuators and sensors as well as larger, more complex communications and computing systems will be tasked with acquiring, storing and processing mountains of information.
IoT can be considered as a highly intelligent type of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication coupled with sensor-based data gathering and processor-based decision making. Within the IoT ecosystem, MCUs and other processing engines will be tasked with learning and sorting vast amounts of acquired information to provide meaningful results to either other machines or to humans. IoT is poised to open the door for IP vendors, silicon foundries and software designers to develop products for literally tens of billions of connected devices over the next few years.
The explosion of information that IoT devices will gather will require huge numbers of processors to process and manage the data from these IoT devices along with lots of low-cost, secure and reliable embedded non-volatile memory (NVM) for code storage, sensor trimming, device configuration, security keys and other storage functions. Virtually every one of the projected billions of IoT devices can use some amount of one-time programmable (OTP) memory.
The IoT ecosystem, comprising a vast number of data gathering and data crunching devices, will impact a very broad range of market segments, including but not limited to the following:
- Industrial (utility Smart Meters, equipment wear-out sensing, manufacturing control, climate control)
- Consumer (smart home control including lighting, security and comfort, product ordering, energy use optimization, home maintenance)
- Retail (tracking, inventory, focused marketing)
- Medical (implanted and wearable devices, remote patient monitoring [telehealth])
- Automotive (parking and traffic flow, smart key entry, location, anti-theft)
- Environmental (endangered species tracking, weather prediction, resource management)
- Military (resource allocation, threat analysis, troop monitoring)
- Agriculture (crop management, soil analysis)