Internet of Things driving semiconductor industry

NXP recently hosted a special Innovation Day for Europe’s leading electronics journalists

The event was held in the impressive Beurs van Berlage venue in Amsterdam, the site of the former Dutch stock exchange.

As well as hearing about NXP’s visionary position in areas of innovation including the Internet of Things (IoT), the Connected Car and NFC (Near Field Communications), the journalists were able to experience at first-hand a series of demos that showed how NXP’s technology is being used in real-world applications, from traffic systems to credit cards to washing machines. NXP even overcame the challenge of how to drive a smart car featuring the latest in-vehicle technologies into the venue!

Wouter Leibbrandt, Senior Director and Manager, Advanced Applications Lab at NXP, introduced the Innovation Day by looking at the ‘Future of the Internet of Things’, identifying the four key mega-trends driving this world of intelligent connected devices: energy efficiency; smart devices; security; and healthcare. He predicted that the IoT will drive the next big wave of growth in the semiconductor industry and that in five years’ time, there will be over 25 to 50 billion connected devices around the world.

Wouter also predicted that between 150-200 devices could soon have their own IP address and be connected in every home. He pointed out that end-to-end security was vital in this scenario – particularly with the coming of the smart grid – and that the IoT will expand even further when self-powered and self-organising autonomous devices such as nodes in a wireless sensor network become more commonplace.

Pieter Hooijmans, Vice President R&D and Strategy at NXP, picked up on this theme when talking about ‘Technologies for the Internet of Things’, saying that currently, most IoT devices are mains-connected, power-hungry and driven by bandwidth. This will have to change as the IoT becomes more sophisticated, with NXP’s research into very low power batteries and the integration of temperature, humidity, light and pressure sensors onto a single chip being of vital importance.

Pieter also pointed out that NXP’s expertise in ultra-low power and magnetic induction was helping to make the ‘Body Area Network’ a reality, where implants and wearable monitors are connected to help alleviate conditions such as hearing impairment, high blood pressure and glaucoma.

Carol de Vries, Vice President R&D Automotive at NXP, then talked about the ‘Future of the Connected Car’, where every vehicle on the road will become part of an active network, wirelessly relaying information about traffic jams, accidents and weather conditions to other road users. Carol also highlighted NXP’s involvement in the roll-out of ‘eCall’ across Europe, an emergency response system where vehicles automatically issue a wireless distress signal as soon as they are involved in a collision, saving lives by getting crash victims to hospital sooner.

Finally, Alexander Rensink, Director of Product Marketing for Identification at NXP, talked about the ‘Future of Near Field Communications’, emphasising that, while NXP’s NFC technology is used by eight of the top ten mobile phone makers, there are many other applications for NFC. These include smart multi-app cards (for payments, travel and ID), tags in magazines and books for proximity marketing and additional information, the integration of physical action figures into computer games, and NFC in white goods for the download of manuals and service data. All of these applications are bolstered by NXP’s expertise in secure element chips for NFC.

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Source: NXP