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.