You know we live in astonishing times when you can start your car by talking into your phone. But the era of the Internet of Everything--for all the great technology it has begun to enable--is filled with challenges for electronics design engineers.
- Bill of materials, especially for tiny and ubiquitous IoT nodes, need to shrink if the market is going to expand. Five-dollar BOMs will not unlock big market opportunities, so the pressure on miniaturization, integration, and more efficient design will only increase.
- IoT is an energy-driven application space. The premium on battery life and power management for devices will be exceptional; the focus on operations per watt is extraordinary.
- Since innovative software sitting atop silicon platforms has opened up the possibility for more startups, the competition to be the first to market is higher (more significant as well in a world in which many IoT devices will have a short revenue and profitability window before being displaced by the next thing)
- The need to future-proof your design to hedge against the relentless change swirling around any given IoT application space is more than ever
- If we think security is a major concern today with phone hacking, imagine the challenge when billions of nodes are potential gateways without bulletproof security
- And unfortunately for electronics designers, the dawn of the natural user interface era comes after years of technology breakthroughs (think Siri, Google Now). Those successes have created consumer expectations that only heap onto today's design teams more time-to-market pressures for tomorrow's solutions.
Just a portion of the IoT--the smart home's systems of systems (pictured below)--gives you a sense of the challenge ahead.
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