Thursday, February 20, 2020

(Semi)Conducting a way through the AIoT

XMOS, February 20, 2020

The IoT describes connected “things” – a diverse range of “things” that have an internet connection and can be controlled and/or interrogated from anywhere on the web. They can be anything from toys to industrial robots, from cars to rice cookers. Going forward, the application of machine learning to the data inputs from connected devices takes us into the Artificial Intelligence of Things: where data is given context and the end user experience is elevated into a natural, seamless interaction with technology. Catering for such a wide range of product requirements is a growing challenge for the semiconductor industry.

Historically the semiconductor business has been defined and driven by a series of dominant sectors – from defence applications in the 70s, to enterprise applications in the 80s and early 90s. By the millennium, the consumer device sector had exploded into life. Even then, the feature-sets and roadmaps for each sector were relatively predictable, enabling vendors to build a series of highly optimised solutions.  

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Internet From The Stars: 21st Century Space Race

Jaime Jones, NuWaves Engineering, February 17, 2020

Two weeks ago, SpaceX launched it’s third successful mission placing 60 more Starlink satellites into low earth orbit, bringing the total number of global internet powering satellites to 180. That is far from the planned system completion threshold of 12,000, but it does establish that SpaceX has the formula down and isn’t going to stop any time soon. While 12,000 may be a few years away, Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, has stated that 400 satellites would provide “minor” internet coverage and 800 satellites would achieve “moderate” or significant operational” coverage. Each subsequent launch of 60 satellites would deliver 1 terabit of bandwidth, potentially supporting 40,000 users streaming ultra-high-definition content at once. It’s safe to say with numbers like those, internet from space is going to be a house hold topic for years to come.

Musk has stated that one of the primary reasons for creating the Starlink system was to bring low cost internet to all areas of the globe and to give traditional telecommunication companies more realistic competition. Everyone is familiar with how current telecom companies have monopolized local areas, establishing themselves as the only viable internet options in the process. But how will competition work with space internet? There aren’t any wires in run in space, so can there be infinite companies providing service through satellites?

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