The Internet of Things (IoT) is so encompassing and such a buzzword in the electronics industry that it makes me wonder two opposing thoughts: It will succeed in becoming an economic force, and we are going blindly down a road where we don’t fully understand the consequenc­es of its implementation. If we don’t comprehend, then maybe we shouldn’t want to proceed until we investigate the social implications and the impact of the products we have (and will create). This IoT concept isn’t, and shouldn’t be (to borrow incorrectly from Gene Rodden­berry’s Star Trek monologue), to blindly go where no man has gone before. Most of us in the electronics industry think that IoT is an overused term and maybe we are becoming numb to the phrase and not thinking of its long-term effects. Definitions include the simple electron­ics description: the development of the internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity (an IP address), allowing them to send and receive data.  

I don’t think that any of us are naïve enough to think we can/should stop the development of the IoT infrastructure, but surely we need to start thinking about how to control its misuse. Un­fortunately, our lawmakers are not the best people to make decisions on new technologies.  

So, what do we need to do to move forward with our eyes wide open? Cer­tainly, information security and privacy are very important. What about cyberse­curity? You know, the ability of a hacker to bust into your personal information via something like a smart light or even your Wi-Fi-enabled central air/heat sys­tem? That makes me think that we need instructions for the general public, the non-technical users, to accompany the installation instructions.  

Presently, security information is very important for company IT depart­ments and we more or less expect them to know what to do to keep systems and products protected. There is also the idea of big data, where large amounts of data are collected, but not all of it is used for any one application. How do we prevent the data from being shared across applications that don’t use it? Fortunately, some organizations like the EU have taken on this problem and issued a report that speaks to the need for developers to build-in from the start, the rights of users to have data deleted, and rights of privacy and data protection.  

From the business perspective, where are we going with this Internet of Things idea? It has long been perceived as an area of growth for the semiconductor industry. What will be the impact of the IoT on the semiconductor indus­try? What types of semiconductors will benefit the most? What applications hold the most opportunity for each type of semiconductor? A new report from IHS brings together broad electronic device coverage with expertise in semiconduc­tor markets to answer these questions for the first time.

IHS_Viewpoint_dec2016

The IHS report, Semiconductors in the
Internet of Things
, offers histor­ical data (2014 and 2015), a five-year annual forecast (2016 to 2020), and an extended ten-year snapshot to 2025. The forecasts include device unit shipments, semiconductor unit shipments, and semiconductor revenue for three major categories of semiconductors — con­nectivity, processors, and sensors. Each semiconductor category will be further divided into segments that are relevant to that semiconductor type. All device and semiconductor data in the report are seg­mented by major markets — automotive, communications, computers, consumer, industrial, medical, and military & aero­space. In addition to detailed forecast data, the report examines each market and provides commentary and analysis on the trends, obstacles, and opportuni­ties that are unique to each. Maybe with this type information, we can develop a more secure and safe digital connection to the analog world. For more informa­tion, visit https://technology.ihs.com/api/binary/582984.