Where are the opportunities for Semiconductor companies?
Easy money and massive opportunities are not in hardware, as most of the Semiconductor companies would like to see, because the chips that provide intelligence and connectivity to IoT devices are very small and cheap to produce, using older, well-understood technologies. The real money is in building out environment in which relatively dumb chips operate. The IoT works only if there is the right infrastructure around it. Most of the IoT devices will not require constant high-speed connectivity and they won’t drive need for high performance processors and memory.
There is a different kind of play for semiconductor companies and that is in low power integrated circuits, with built in analog and digital sensors including connectivity such as WiFi, Bluetooth and RFID. The market segments these opportunities will come from are Industrial, Automotive, Home automation and Medical.
The bigger opportunities are in Software and services that is why the large semiconductor companies are rushing to make apps and things that billions of consumers will buy. The opportunities will be in massive volumes of low cost devices.
Consumer Software and Business Development Opportunities
The typical end-user consumer IoT solution revolves around the consumer and in most cases a mobile device,
The business IoT solution revolves around the enterprise and its data. The data path in a business-oriented solution typically has to pass through multiple tiers of application logic and data storage. Mobile apps will still have a place in this distributed system but will no longer be the centerpiece. This concept introduces the idea of the “connected app.” The software that drives the app will need to interconnect with “Things” and other systems to deliver a complete solution.
This presents many challenges for software developers. The developers will have to write software that interconnects these disparate pieces into a cohesive solution. They also need to write the software that delivers new and innovative user experiences that integrate “Things” requiring varied approach in using many different connectivity technologies, from SDKs, to REST calls, to AT commands, sometimes over Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth, or wired connections.
This presents a lot of opportunities in virtually every industry from fitness and healthcare to manufacturing to retail and point-of-sale to smart home automation.
To get the most out of IoT, application developers should focus on new user experiences and software architecture that addresses distributed data storage and application logic to expand beyond mobile-centric and consumer focused apps. Building “connected apps” is how software developers will bring IoT solutions to reality for business and industry and impact the way everyone experiences engaging applications.
Author: Naresh Batra, President SFiveI
Naresh Batra is a Sr. Charter member of TiE Silicon Valley. He is President of SfiveI, a company engaged in Software product development, Services, Solutions, Systems, and Sensors for Internet of Things. Naresh’s career spans across Texas instruments, VP and GM, Brooktree, VP and GM Sierra Semiconductor, Global head Semiconductor Engineering Practice, TCS, Founder/CEO Xaqti (acquired by (Vitesse Semiconductor), Founder/CEO UptimeOne, Founder/CEO of Intelleflex Corp. He is holder of 14 US patents in the RFID and IoT space. He holds MSEE and MBA degrees. He is a registered professional engineer from the State of Illinois and Lifetime member of IEEE.
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