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SoftwareTech

IoT in the Digital Economy

In the post-epidemic era, the housing economy has triggered a wave of digital transformation and upgrading, with the proportion of business online rising sharply and the IoT truly becoming the main theme of industrial development.

With the promotion of 5G, artificial intelligence, and other technologies, the connotation of IoT is also expanding and upgrading. As the expanded application and network extension of communication networks and the Internet, IoT realizes real-time interaction and seamless connection between people and things and drives the long development of the Internet of everything and intelligent manufacturing with its perception, control, and decision-making capabilities. According to ABI Research statistics, the number of global terminal connections reached 6.616 billion in 2020. And the expected value by 2026 is 23.72 billion. In terms of the global IoT market size, it will exceed $1,100 billion in 2024.  The IoT market still retains a huge growth space and has a broad development prospect.

With the prevalence of the digital economy, the industry-wide demand for intelligent interaction of terminal devices is increasing, and the number of IoT connections is showing exponential growth. On the other hand, upstream chip and module costs are dropping significantly, and downstream application scenarios are expanding, which are undoubtedly accelerating the commercialization of IoT. 2020 will see a historic breakthrough in IoT, with the number of global connections exceeding the number of non-IoT connections for the first time, which also means that in the next decade, IoT will enter a period of rapid development, and the penetration rate and application landing level will be significantly upward.

The underlying technology of IoT is booming

As the market demand for IoT continues to emerge, the development of its underlying technology is becoming more mature. The industry divides the IoT into perception layer, transmission layer, platform layer, and application layer, and the participants of each layer are competing to enter and the products are constantly innovating and iterating, building great prosperity of the IoT industrial ecology. Among them, the perception layer is the bottom layer of IoT, which is responsible for capturing external environmental parameters and collecting data information and is the foundation to realize the connection of things. In the perception layer, sensors and main control chips play an important role and become the core components to realize intelligent control.

Sensors

Just like human beings use five senses to sense the world, sensors are the “five senses” of IoT devices. By converting the collected analog information into electrical signals that can be processed by computer systems, sensors become the hub of seamless connection between the real world and the digital world.

As one of the three pillars of modern information technology, the importance of sensor technology is self-evident. According to data from the Foresight Industry Research Institute, the global sensor market size continues to grow, with the global market size reaching $226.5 billion in 2019. In recent years, sensor market size is at a growth rate of more than 10%. Its expected value is 295.2 billion yuan by 2021. With the growth of demand and industrial upgrading, sensor technology is also gradually developing in the direction of intelligence, high precision, miniaturization, and so on. Among them, MEMS sensors integrate communication, CPU, battery, sensor, and other components to meet the market requirements for sensors small size, low cost, low power consumption, high integration, and intelligence, and gradually become a new trend in sensing technology.

Master Control Chip

The final control of IoT terminal devices and the realization of the corresponding functions are inseparable from the analysis, processing, and execution capabilities of the master control chip. In addition to sensors, MCU, SoC, and other master control chips are also the core devices of IoT architecture, which play a role in the control and decision-making ability of IoT systems.

IOT chip

With the wave of industrial intelligence, the market demand for MCU master control chips is growing and the volume of the MCU market is expanding. We can see MCU in various fields such as automotive electronics, industrial control, medical, computer, and consumer electronics.  The global MCU market size will grow to $27.2 billion in 2025 in terms of overall size,. In recent years, the electrical architecture of automotive electronics has been upgraded, and the development of new energy electric vehicles, ADAS, and autonomous driving has accelerated, making automotive electronics the largest application market for MCU, accounting for about one-third of the global market demand.

Wireless connectivity

If sensors are the touch of IoT, then the transmission layer with wireless communication technology as the core is the neural network, which is the bridge to build the interconnection of everything and can realize the information transmission and interaction from the sensing layer to the application layer. According to the different transmission distances, there are two categories of wireless communication technology. One is long-range wireless communication, including 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G including cellular mobile communication technology and LPWA (low power wide area network) technology LoRa, Sigfox, eMTC and NB-IoT, etc.; the other is short-range wireless communication technology, including Bluetooth, WiFi, ZigBee, etc. Local Area Network (LAN). Of course, devices connected by the traditional wired networks also belong to a branch of IoT, but at present, when it comes to IoT connection technology, it mainly refers to wireless access technology.

From the statistical data of Smart Research Information, IoT application scenarios have different requirements for communication distance and data transmission express, if divided by high school and low network speed, low rate IoT connection accounts for 60%, while high rate connection is only 10%. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology proposes that the important goal of the current phase is to deepen 4G network coverage, accelerate the landing of 5G applications, and establish a mobile IoT ecology with the synergistic development of NB-IoT, 4G, and 5G.

IoT industry ecology is gradually maturing

Although “let every stone connect to the Internet” is a joke, the tentacles of the Internet of Things have been extended to all aspects of society and life. There are many manufacturers working on the 2B and 2C sides, which help push the IoT industry chain to perfection and maturity. The industry is technology-driven and shows fragmented market characteristics as a whole, with fierce competition from hardware to software and even extending to ecology.

In recent years, the surge in the number of IoT connections has triggered explosive data growth. Technologies such as edge computing and cloud-native tend to mature. That allows massive data storage and computing to be carried out in the cloud, thus freeing up terminals to focus on sensing and control functions instead. In addition, 5G with its high bandwidth, low latency, and wide connectivity has become a catalyst for the full implementation of IoT.

Next five years, IoT will enter the industry windfall and usher in a golden period of development. With its underlying chips and modules transforming toward new materials and new functions, communication protocols will be more abundant, and the connection with cloud computing will be closer. The upstream and downstream of the IoT industry chain are continuously optimized, and a new model of “IoT+” is gradually formed. On the one hand, IoT continues to combine with traditional industries in-depth, helping traditional industries to transform and upgrade intelligently. On the other hand, artificial intelligence, edge intelligence, blockchain, and other emerging technologies collide and integrate, broadening the boundaries of the industrial Internet of Things applications.

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