According to a recent report from IDC, the number of connected devices used globally will reach 41.6 billion by the end of 2025. The IoT world continues to expand and develop at a rapid pace, so what trends should we expect in the IoT in 2020? Here are a few of our predictions for the upcoming year.

Prediction #1: 5G will enable more growth for Bluetooth devices such as beacons, asset tracking, sensing, tags and locationing.
There’s been a lot of hype and excitement around 5G, but what hasn’t been discussed much is how 5G will impact the market for Bluetooth devices. For large IoT deployments, Bluetooth and 5G will play pivotal roles in connecting devices at different points in a system. For example, a network of sensors in a factory can communicate with each other using Bluetooth Mesh technology. Atmosic chooses Bluetooth 5.0 as its platform of choice because Bluetooth connectivity is ideal for devices that require mid-range, low power operation and extended battery life. These devices can connect to a gateway point that is also connected with 5G, enabling the gateway to take advantage of the ultra-fast speeds of 5G to send information to the cloud or a server over longer range.

Prediction #2: Always on, always connected edge processing devices will demand low-power extended battery life.
As the number of IoT edge devices grows, the trend continues towards true “wireless” (i.e., no power line or data line). Edge processing will allow connected devices to process information faster for a more seamless user experience. Edge processing capabilities are especially true for connected devices that process sounds, motion or other types of inputs for sensing, tracking, remote access, wearables and mobile accessories such as audio headsets. These devices need to be always on, always connected to instantly process information without the latency involved in connecting to central nodes on a network. As a result of more processing being pushed to the edge, battery life is becoming more and more critical. Connection and processing elements need to be very low power for these devices to operate efficiently. Atmosic enables very Low Power Wireless and On-Demand Wake Up receivers to conserve energy to enable battery-free or forever battery devices. Extended battery life, in turn, will support more smart devices at the edge. We will see a growing need for embedded solutions that enable low-power and extended battery life so edge devices will not require frequent battery changes.

Prediction #3: More connected devices will use energy harvesting to prolong battery life.
With an increase in 5G and edge processing devices, extended battery life and energy harvesting will become significantly more critical. Atmosic’s M3 SoC solution enables energy harvesting technologies that can pull power from ambient photovoltaic (light), radio frequency (RF), and thermal sources, and mechanical (motion). We begin to see energy harvesting used for connected devices that don’t require significant power; devices such as indoor locationing beacons might use indoor lighting sources for energy, while smart light switches might use motion power. Beyond these, we will see more products featuring “battery-free life” technologies. Devices that use energy harvesting will allow consumers to enjoy their favorite smart home devices without worrying about changing batteries as often. However, industrial use of these energy harvesting solutions will be the real game-changer. Devices with extended battery life or without the need of any batteries will significantly reduce deployment and maintenance costs for IoT fleets, while also reducing the environmental impact of batteries.

Looking forward to 2020, Atmosic is focused on driving the battery-free IoT revolution with its lowest-power Bluetooth and controlled energy harvesting technologies. Atmosic’s M2 and M3 solutions enable extended battery life and battery-free operation for IoT devices used for a wide variety of applications. The company is committed to innovation and will continue to create new solutions to reduce the environmental impact of batteries and decrease the cost of battery maintenance, thereby benefitting the planet, consumers, and the IoT industry.