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NXP claims internet of things needs devices to ditch mains power

Says wireless charging doesn't work
Wed Oct 17 2012, 11:38

AMSTERDAM: CHIPMAKER NXP said the internet of things (IoT) will only take off once devices can dispense with the power cord.

NXP, which is one of the main chip vendors behind the near field communications (NFC) standards, has been talking up the internet of things, a buzzphrase that has been doing the rounds for a couple of years. However, while NXP waxed lyrical about the internet of things it claimed that the concept will only really take off once devices can be truly autonomous.

NXP and many other 'mixed signal' chip vendors look to the internet of things as a way to sell billions of chips and make the somewhat fanciful dream of giving every light bulb an IP address a reality. The firm said that by 2020 it expects to see 25 billion devices connected but that figure "would increase by an order of magnitude once devices were able to be powered for 10 years on batteries".

NXP said it intends to integrate more sensors onto a single chip, which will reduce power, cost and physical size requirements. However when The INQUIRER asked the firm whether it is considering delivering electricity to its sensors over the air to provide long-term power, NXP said it has been working on such technologies but has yet to see it as a viable way of powering sensors.

The firm said it is working with the Holst Centre on true wireless charging, not simply power transfer through induction, but said, "we don't see this as commercially feasible because the losses over a few metres, the size of a normal room, [are] too high".

NXP's statements on the need to ditch mains power and the stumbling research on wireless charging put the onus on its silicon production teams and battery vendors. With NXP claiming IoT devices that service home utilities need batteries that live for 15 to 20 years, battery life and longevity demands are very high. µ


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