The Storage Technology Revolution in IoT

By Tetsu Ho

DRAM Product Technology Manager

Winbond Electronics

February 22, 2023


The Storage Technology Revolution in IoT

In a recent IoT Analytics Research report, the IoT semiconductor market is set to grow from $33 billion (in 2020) to $80 billion by 2025, with the four fastest growing fields being IoT microcontrollers (MCUs), IoT connectivity chipsets, IoT AI chipsets, and IoT security chipsets and modules to achieve better performance and lower power in applications such as smart watches, automotive, and smart homes.

With the continuous expansion of terminal IoT devices capabilities, the shipment of IoT AI chipsets should extend to 600 million by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 22% (2019-2025).

Let's take a smartwatch, for example. The data monitoring in a smartwatch includes heartbeat, blood pressure, respiration, and in some devices, even blood oxygen content. This data is all safely and securely enabled through memory devices including SRAM, HYPERRAM, low power SDR, and low power DDR.

Through these memory solutions, smart watches for cyclists can accurately record the data collected from multiple sources such as speed sensors, GPS, and pedal power meters. Users can then archive and share the data through apps such as STRAVA.

Automotive Applications

Automotive has always required memory to run several applications in cars and the demand for memory and interface products is escalating as cars adopt more advanced and intelligent systems and functionality for instrument clusters, infotainment systems, telematics, ADAS, and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication.

As automobiles become more intelligent, consumers can connect their mobile phones to cars via Bluetooth and transmit data such as speed, oil temperature, and turbine speed/pressure through OBD (On-board Diagnostics) or install system updates OTA.

Smart Homes

Introducing the Matter standard in smart homes has come a long way to improve device compatibility issues. The Matter standard ensures that consumers don't need to worry about whether their Nest thermostats are compatible with Apple HomeKit, or whether Amazon Echo devices can control third-party smart door locks. For manufacturers of smart home products, it is possible to build products with a unified standard, which simplifies the development process. At the same time, the Matter standard is an IP-based standard that provides developers with a familiar and established communication foundation.

An estimated 20 billion wireless-connected smart home devices will be sold worldwide between 2022 and 2030, with a significant portion following the Matter standard. Most of these smart home products, as well as consumer robots and smart appliances, will also support the Matter standard of compatibility. OEMs should therefore see a trend towards more partners and suppliers providing integrated connectivity, security hardware and software platforms, services, and infrastructure to simplify device creation, connection, and management.

Choosing the Correct Wireless Protocols

With seamless support for many wireless communication protocols such as 5G/4G/IoT/Wi-Fi being so important, more powerful memories with larger capacity are replacing SRAM from the 3G era through 5G terminals. Support for short-range, low-rate wireless protocols represented by NFC, Zigbee, Bluetooth, BLE, and even Wi-SUN, WiFi-HaLow, and LPWA are critical.


The Anticipated GP-Boost® Memory

In the early stages of the IoT era, data mainly came from various types of sensors at all levels. The information was simple and required less bandwidth. In the Industrial IoT (IIoT) era, the IoT terminal equipment became more complex, and some basic data decision-making and computing needed to be done locally. With the development of 4G, seamless networking has become extremely important. As we enter the era of AIoT, a considerable amount of computing tasks are placed on edge terminals, increasing the requirements for low latency, security, privacy, edge AI, and network connectivity. This changed the conventional thought that most computing happened on edge servers or routers.

As the demand increases for memory in IoT devices, low power, design simplicity and space are important design considerations where hybrid sleep mode, less active pins and lower pin counts can make a difference as shown in the above chart. Memory plays an important role in the future of IoT and I look forward to seeing new innovations in 2023.