The Internet of Things or IoT was first coined in 1999. Since then, public interest in IoT has skyrocketed. We now have millions of smart devices around the world constantly gathering, processing, and sharing data across the internet creating digital intelligence and autonomy.

Technologies That Will Shape IoT

What are the 5 Technologies That Will Shape IoT?

From wearables, medical devices, smart factories, to precision agricultural machines, IoT has come a long way and will continue to move forward in the coming years. We’ll take a look at five emerging technologies that will shape IoT in 2021.

Battery-Free Sensors

The race is on for self-powered sensors. With this technology, companies wouldn’t have to worry about whether their IoT devices are going to run out of power. Ever. This is a huge development especially with thousands of sensors deployed across multiple sites.

A California-based startup called Everactive aims to lead the way with its line of self-powered sensors known as Eversenor. These sensors are designed to last up to 20 years without routine maintenance including battery replacement. How? According to the company, their sensors will generate their own power from alternate sources like solar, thermal, and mechanical.

Containers For MCU Devices

Containers are making the leap from enterprise systems to IoT devices. These are lightweight virtual machines that make it easier to build, deploy, and maintain embedded designs. One area that has a huge potential for growth is containers for microcontroller units or MCUs. These small-scale, low-power chips are the brains of IoT devices – from simple heaters to sophisticated medical scanners.

A startup called Nubix is working on a solution to deploy application containers to MCU devices with real-time operating systems. “The edge right now is full of potential for companies to start to deliver new services and solutions that aren’t even thought of today,” says Nubix CEO, Rachel Taylor. The company hopes to make the development and management of IoT devices more agile and scalable.

Mesh Sensors

Wearable technology has been on the rise for the past ten years and the best is yet to come. Future wearables will not only measure your heart rate, respiration, and sleep but will track all your movement down to the tiniest detail. All of these are made possible with mesh sensors – a wireless network of sensors that can be integrated with any type of clothing. Data gathered by these sensors can be used by an app to calculate your body’s position in 3D space.

One company called Cipher Skin is working on this technology with their BioSleeve monitors. The applications for this type of tech will be endless – from sports training, physical rehabilitation programs, to entertainment.

Network Slicing For IoT Applications

With the surge of IoT devices, 5G networks need to adapt to the demand fast. Companies are currently developing their network slicing to address this need. Network slicing will enable service providers to build virtual end-to-end networks specific to application requirements like connectivity, speed, and capacity. For example, mission-critical IoT slice like self-driving vehicles will have a low-latency, high-bandwidth connection.

Ericsson is rolling out this technology to its customers. According to the company, “this can enable organizations to create new business models among different slices of their 5G networks while also improving the efficiency of infrastructure.”

TinyML

Not all machine learning processes are created equal. Some may require massive computing power using the cloud while others can be done in nearby edge gateways. TinyML presents an opportunity to leverage this difference. This approach involves using microcontrollers on IoT devices to run optimized models for machine learning algorithms.

Supported by companies like Arm, Google, and Qualcomm, the possibilities of TinyML are endless. Running real-time calculations quickly and efficiently can help developers come up with more responsive traffic lights, machines that can request their own maintenance, healthcare monitors that check vitals while maintaining privacy, and so much more.

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