Technical Articles

New Chip Architectures, Sensors

New special purpose chips, more sophisticated and low-cost sensors, combined hardware and software for trust platforms plus deployment of new wireless technologies will emerge as some of the top strategic Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and trends over the next five years, according to Gartner.

Gartner presented its top 10 strategic IoT technology trends for 2018 to 2023 at its symposium in Barcelona last week. The trends included:

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Gartner forecasts that 14.2 billion connected things will be in use in 2019, and that the total will reach 25 billion by 2021, producing an immense volume of data. The volume of data generated will only make IoT meaningful if AI is applied to a wide range of IoT information, including video, still images, speech, network traffic activity and sensor data.

2. Social, Legal and Ethical IoT

As the IoT matures and becomes more widely deployed, a range of social, legal and ethical issues will grow in importance. These include ownership of data and the deductions made from it; algorithmic bias; privacy; and compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation. Successful deployment of an IoT solution demands that it’s not just technically effective but also socially acceptable.

3. Infonomics and Data Broking

By 2023, the buying and selling of IoT data will become an essential part of many IoT systems. Organizations will need to understand the risks and opportunities related to data broking in order to set IT policies required in this area.

4. The Shift from Intelligent Edge to Intelligent Mesh

The shift from centralized and cloud to edge architectures is well under way in the IoT space. However, this is not the end point because the neat set of layers associated with edge architecture will evolve to a more unstructured architecture comprising of a wide range of “things” and services connected in a dynamic mesh. These mesh architectures will enable more flexible, intelligent and responsive IoT systems — although often at the cost of additional complexities.

5. IoT Governance

As the IoT continues to expand, the need for a governance framework that ensures appropriate behavior in the creation, storage, use and deletion of information related to IoT projects will become increasingly important. Governance ranges from simple technical tasks such as device audits and firmware updates to more complex issues such as the control of devices and the usage of the information they generate.

6. Sensor Innovation

The sensor market will evolve continuously through 2023. New sensors will enable a wider range of situations and events to be detected, current sensors will fall in price to become more affordable or will be packaged in new ways to support new applications, and new algorithms will emerge to deduce more information from current sensor technologies.

7. Trusted Hardware and Operating System

Security is the most significant area of technical concern for organizations deploying IoT systems. This is because organizations often don’t have control over the source and nature of the software and hardware being utilized in IoT initiatives. However, by 2023, Gartner expects to see the deployment of hardware and software combinations that together create more trustworthy and secure IoT systems.

8. Novel IoT User Experiences

The IoT user experience (UX) covers a wide range of technologies and design techniques. It will be driven by four factors: new sensors, new algorithms, new experience architectures and context, and socially aware experiences. With an increasing number of interactions occurring with things that don’t have screens and keyboards, organizations’ UX designers will be required to use new technologies and adopt new perspectives if they want to create a superior UX that reduces friction, locks in users, and encourages usage and retention.

9. Silicon Chip Innovation

Gartner says that while the majority of current IoT endpoint devices use conventional processor chips, with low-power ARM architectures being particularly popular, traditional instruction sets and memory architectures aren’t well-suited to all the tasks that endpoints need to perform. For example, the performance of deep neural networks (DNNs) is often limited by memory bandwidth, rather than processing power.

Hence it expects that by 2023, new special-purpose chips will reduce the power consumption required to run a DNN, enabling new edge architectures and embedded DNN functions in low-power IoT endpoints. This will support new capabilities such as data analytics integrated with sensors, and speech recognition included in low cost battery-powered devices.

10. New Wireless Networking Technologies for IoT

IoT networking involves balancing a set of competing requirements, such as endpoint cost, power consumption, bandwidth, latency, connection density, operating cost, quality of service, and range. No single networking technology optimizes all of these and new IoT networking technologies will provide additional choice and flexibility. In particular network technologies like 5G, the forthcoming generation of low earth orbit satellites, and backscatter networks could be explored further



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