Even though there’s little in the way of standards for the internet of things (IoT), the revolution is already here, according to research published by Gartner.
In a report released today, Gartner said that 1.1 billion connected things will be used by smart cities this year but that figure will soar to 9.7 billion by 2020.
But a significant number of connected things this year will be down to so called smart homes and smart commercial buildings – right now the share is 45 percent but the percentage will reach 81 percent by 2020.
Gartner said most of the money will be spent from the private sector. It released figures which showed that public services and in particular healthcare are lagging behind other sectors including transport and utilities.
For the home, connected devices include smart LED lighting, such as Philips Hue lights, healthcare monitoring, smart locks, and sensors that detect things as diverse as motion and carbon monoxide. The highest growth will be in smart lighting – in 2015 there will be only six million units shipped but that will grow to 570 million units by 2020.
Major applications in cities include IoT deployments for parking, traffic and traffic flow. And the UK is leading the way in the field.
Commercial IoT applications will span multiple industries and firms specialising in analytics will see a rise in revenue as big data generated by the billions of devices will represent challenges for the industry.
Scientists at Berkeley National Laboratory
claim to have solved a problem associated with organic semiconductors.
Organic semiconductors include light emitting diodes (LEDs), field effect transistors (FETs) and photovoltaic cells used in solar panels.
Researchers know that performance problems occur within organic semiconductor thin films but were unsure of the cause.
Now they appear to have figured it out, using a type of microscopy to study interfaces in a solution organic semiconductor.
Naomi Ginsberg at Berkeley and her colleagues said that random nanocristallites get trapped in the interface during solution casting, hindering charge carriers “a bit like debris on a motorway”.
The methodology will help manufacturers to predict affordable solution processing and maximise charge carrier mobility.
The end result will be better performance of products based on organic semiconductor processes.
Increased use of light emitting diode (LED) technology in the authomotive industry means that revenues by 2018 will amount to a staggering $2.5 billion.
The reason is high end developments in technology, along with higher margins from the automotive market than in other applications, according to Taiwanese market research company Trendforce.
Traditional light bulbs look like they’ve had their day as manufacturers adopt LEDs not only for internal lighting but for high power headlights that consume low power.
While LED beam lighting has been confined to high end ranges, designs are migrating steadily to the medium priced market too.
Trendforce thinks that this year the use of LEDs in cars has already hit nine percent and will rise exponentially during the following few years.
LEDs are set to displace backlighting for car panels and that will lead to price cutting by the manufacturers as they vie for market share.
Revenue from worldwide sales of semiconductors will rise by nearly 10 percent this year, its strongest performance since 2010.
Figures released by IHS Technology show that global revenues will be worth $353.2 billion this year, a rise from $322.8 billion in 2013.
Dale Ford, chief analyst at IHS, said the growth is broad based – a nearly all semiconductor suppliers have benefited.
IHS segments the semiconductor market in 28 ways, and Ford said that 22 of those have grown this year, compared to 12 showing growth in 2013.
DRAM and flash memory were the movers and shakers in the market, and while revenues for those sectors have risen by around 20 percent, other segments are also showing healthy growth.
DRAM and light emitting diodes (LEDs) have shown growth, and microprocessor markets are also showing strong growth.
Mediatek and Avago are showing strong growth in the semi league table.
The top five players, as the following table shows, are Intel, Samsung, Qualcomm, Micron, SK Hynix and Texas Instruments.
People who pay good money for electronic fitness sensors based on silicon technology could soon be faced with a far cheaper technology based on organic electronics.
Researchers at UC Berkeley said different pulse oximeters measure pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation levels but they’re based on LEDs that send light through fingertips or earlobes and sensors that measure light that comes through the other side.
The scientists have come up with a far cheaper organic design that deposits green and red organic OLEDs on a flexible piece of plastic and uses the detection of fresh arterial blood to calculate a pulse.
Ana Arias, a professor at the UC Berkeley team, said: “We showed that if you take measurements with different wavelengths ir works, and if you use unconventional semiconductors it works. Because organic electronics are flexible they can easily conform to the body.”
Components of conventional oximeters are relatively expensive, she said, and need disinfection.
But she added that organic electronics are so cheap that they can be thrown away like a sticky plaster once they’ve been used.
Light bulbs using LED technology that know where they are and can be programmed are still in an early stage of development.
But that is about to change, said ABI Research – suggesting that while shipments were less than 2.5 million units in 2013, by 2020 the installed base is likely to be over 400 million.
LEDs using 802.15.4 protocols – that’s wi-fi – are likely to be the winners representing a three quarter share of the market. ZigBee Light Link will be the preferred way of connection.
Prices of LED bulbs are continuing to fall and the market is likely to be saturated pretty quickly because of their typically longer life.
There is quite a gaggle of players in the market already including Philips, GE, Osram, Belin, Insteaon, LG and Samsung.
Malik Saadi, director at ABI Research said that smart lighting will be fuelled by customer lifestyle patterns including automation and high energy efficiency.
Philips already sells light bulbs and lighting strips that can be programmed to turn on or off as people arrive at or leave their houses, and can be switched off and on remotely using the internet.
The Noble Prize for physics has been awarded to the three inventors of LEDs (light emitting diodes)..
The invention of the LED was awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura and has led to a market worth billions of dollars.
IHS, a market research company, said the invention of the technology in the early 1990s was worth $17.7 billion in 2013, leading to 250,000 jobs. And that’s not counting all the LED markets including lighting, signage, and consumer electronics.
IHS research manager for LEDs and lighting at IHS, William Rhodes, said the invention changed all the rules.
The market before LEDs mostly used indicator lights in toys, industrial and car applications, said Rhodes. This year over 90 percent of all displays were backlit by LEDs while LEDs will represent a third of all lightbulb sales in 2014.