One of the critical challenges faced by advocates of IoT is the significant attentiveness required for sustaining a device’s functionality throughout its operation cycle. For the sheer number of commercial IoT devices, it means an exponential cost of sending engineers into the field for device maintenance, which makes most projects financially unfeasible. With a variety of self-sustaining enhancement technologies becoming integrated into the IoT market, the “Fit and Forget” model will soon mean a larger scale of sensors and devices that will be able to improve IoT usability and even inspire new product ideas which will require far less hands-on maintenance.
Within the market horizon, Sony’s acquisition of Altair, a low-power consumption LTE chip manufacturer, has recently become the benchmark for the emerging “Fit and Forget” IoT model. With the ability to extend IoT device battery life to up to ten years or more, the integration of Altair’s chip will help Sony save other businesses money by reducing the need for human intervention and battery replacement every few months. As the acquisition leverages Sony’s competency in the cellular IoT market, it also signals an opportunity for Sony to leap into the enterprise sector. By implementing the enhanced LTE capability into its technology portfolio, Sony will be capable of increasing the reliability of network service for various industries, including logistics, construction, and agriculture, by facilitating a steady stream of monitoring and cloud computing activities to bring a more seamless end-to-end workflow into business’ operational cycles.
When the platform of prolonged LTE connectivity emerges, further opportunities for self-sustaining IoT will become viable. It is likely that IoT devices will no longer rely on human efforts for substantial system updates. The over-the-air maintenance technologies have been tested by several car manufacturers in the past year, and sooner than later we can expect more IoT devices to carry the same capabilities in their operation cycles. This is significant because large-scale IoT initiatives—such as smart-cities and industrial IoT—will be able to leverage this self-sustainability and, as a result, lower the cost for power supply management and field maintenance, which would otherwise bottleneck the operations.
The advancements in self-sustaining IoT indicate that the “Fit and Forget” model will inevitably become the standard, and will provide the foundations for the hyper-connected world we are building. Once this technology becomes widespread, self-sustaining IoT devices will undoubtedly become the industry leaders, providing insight for other connected devices and use cases to continue to meet the growing demand for more advanced IoT solutions.