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#02

Wide spreading IoT technology into society

Hello!

I’m Mr. Cube, a sensor engineer of AKM. In this second topic, I would like to discuss IoT technology, which is becoming increasingly widespread in society. 

IoT is an abbreviation of "Internet of Things" and refers to a technology that monitor and control the status of things through the Internet. To explain in more detail, IoT technology commonly refers to a system that accumulates and analyzes data obtained from sensors attached to things on the cloud through the Internet and feeds it back to users. 

For example, In the past, ranchers and veterinarians had to periodically look and palpate their animals to determine the health of livestock on the ranch. In the case of a large-scale ranch with more than several hundred animals, just observing the health required a lot of effort, and it was a dream to grasp the health status in real time. 

At present, this problem can be solved by attaching an IoT sensor (communication module that integrates GPS, thermometer, and heart rate monitor) to animals. The health status of them can be checked 24 hours a day from remote locations, so that even in emergency situations such as “sudden fever of livestock” and “sign of childbirth” can be received from IoT sensors, which is possible to respond quickly. Thus, man-hour and time costs have been significantly reduced by IoT technology. 

The utilization of IoT is progressing not only in the livestock industry but also in various fields, such as monitoring the operation status of equipment, performing predictive maintenance and remote control with various sensors in factories. Monitoring the security status by attaching "IoT open/close sensor" to building doors and windows is one of the utilizing examples. Attaching an "IoT GPS sensor" to a child's school backpacks and an old man's walking stick allow you to track the location of family members. Recently, a case of heart rate and electrocardiogram monitors installed in smart watches that have revealed abnormalities in the heart and saved lives have become a hot topic. This is also a good example of IoT technology. 

If IoT technology becomes more widespread in the future, it is said that "IoE = Internet of Everything" in which all things, people, and places in the world are connected to the Internet. Additionally, the era of "Intelligent of Things" in which IoT technology is linked to 5G and AI will come. Analyzing a large amount of sensor data uploaded to the cloud using AI technology, which is rapidly being put into practical use, will expand the range of applications. With the adoption of IoT technology in social infrastructure, there is also the potential for significant changes in our lives. 

 

Let's consider a little about why IoT technology has become so popular. I think there are the following three main reasons.

 

Widespread use of mobile Internet networks

The ability to watch streaming video on smartphones anywhere in the world (even from space) is an amazing progress. One of the reasons that accelerated the spread of technology is that smartphones, which are now owned by more than one per person, played a role of "interface between objects and people" which is essential for IoT technology.

 

Improving Battery Technology

A battery is not necessary if the product is used where external power can be obtained, but it is a necessary item for IoT products used where power is not available. In addition, IoT products are generally required to be inexpensive, small, and capable of operating continuously for a long period of time. (continuous operation of sensor is essential for monitoring applications). 

The Dry cell battery that is large and short its life is not suitable for IoT products, but the widespread use of lithium-ion battery has made it possible to integrate well into the products. Mr. Akira Yoshino, who is an honorary fellow of Asahi Kasei and was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has contributed greatly to the development of lithium-ion batteries. 

Reference) Asahi Kasei website - Interview with Dr. Akira Yoshino

 

Improving Sensors and Communication Device Technology

The required specifications for sensors and communication devices vary depending on the purpose. However, as a requirement to drive IoT products continuously for several months to several years, sensor and RF products with low power consumption are generally required.  

Recent progress in device technology makes widespread use of products that can be driven for a long period of time with the storage capacity of small batteries (energy harvesting in some cases). There is no doubt that it has led to the development of practical IoT products.

IoT technology has spread to the world only after all the above three conditions have been met. IoT technology will continue to spread throughout the world at an accelerating rate. In order to pursue further convenience of IoT technology and create a new added value, improving unique sensor technology is essential.

 

The S-cube sensor AK09970N/D is ideal for IoT products because it drives at ultra-low power consumption. In addition, you use in combination with AKM’s BLE devices (AK1594/AK1595) and ultra-low power consumption detection IC (AP4410BEC) so that you can develop environmentally friendly IoT products. I also want to contribute to the evolution of the IoT society by proposing new IoT products using S-cube sensors.

See you next time.

[Notes]

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