Wiliot’s sticker-mounted transmitter powers devices by collecting radio waves instead of relying on a battery. (Image Credit: Wiliot)
The Internet of Things is constantly expanding with more connected devices. However, more connected longevity challenges arise as many of them are added to the network. Some challenges involve improving device components’ reliance on power. Now, several companies are finding ways to reduce power consumption in devices, allowing them to add intelligence and connectivity where it may otherwise be impractical.
Even though WiFi began in the 2.4 GHz band, backers have made attempts to extend it to any unlicensed spectrum. After it established the 5 GHz range, the wireless standard is being implemented in the 6 GHz bands. However, not every move with WiFi’s 60 GHz implementation hit the market. Some made little progress.
One company, Morse Micro, is introducing WiFi HaLow (802.11ah) to another area of the WiFi spectrum, effectively expanding it. WiFi HaLow standardizes the 800 and 900 MHz bands, providing long-range connectivity that potentially extends beyond a home’s boundaries. However, the speed is slower, making it ideal for audio rather than a 4K video transmission. HaLow is also competing with several long-range WLAN solutions, such as LoRaWAN, Sigfox, and various IoT-optimized cellular standards for LTE and 5G. The company believes multiple networks could coexist, and other methods could perform better than HaLow for other applications.
Bluetooth, a more common power-efficient standard, is being tuned to consume less energy with Bluetooth LE. Now, Wiliot came up with a different approach that makes Bluetooth far more efficient. Instead of relying on a battery, it utilizes a sticker-mounted transmitter that allows power to flow by collecting ambient radio signals nearby. The second generation of this technology is currently being shipped. Some of its main applications include inventory tracking, transmitting prescription information from a pill bottle label, and powering smart clothing in the future.
Wiliot made these stickers as part of a SaaS implementation. Recently, it partnered with Blyott, a Belgian health tech provider that developed a Bluetooth system to track hospital assets.
Perceive is proposing to have intelligence integrated into sensors, allowing its devices to operate more efficiently. This could be achieved by reducing battery consumption. For example, a surveillance camera equipped with a Perceive device performs on-board analysis and transmits video segments when it detects suspicious activity. Qualcomm’s XR1 smart glasses are utilizing this idea. The company discovered that adding some processing in the viewer end reduces battery consumption even when a smartphone handles most of the processing.
Perceive also says that its AI processing performance compares to the most efficient modules from Qualcomm and Nvidia while consuming less power. Meanwhile, Ambiq and Greenwaves Technologies focus more on portable devices like smartwatches and wireless earbuds, respectively. The company could also shift toward entertainment-focused devices since it’s incubated within Xperi.
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