How chip design is evolving in response to IoT development

As the IoT continues to grow, chip designers will quickly find themselves becoming the most valued part of a billion-dollar industry.

wireless network - internet of things edge [IoT] - edge computing

The rapid development of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) has pushed many old industries to the brink, forcing most companies to fundamentally reevaluate how they do business. Few have felt the reverberations of the IoT more than the microchip industry, one of the vital drivers of the IoT that has both enabled it and evolved alongside of it.

So how exactly is chip design evolving to keep up with the IoT’s breakneck proliferation? A quick glance at the innerworkings of the industry which enables all of our beloved digital devices to work shows just how innovative it must be to keep up with today’s ever-evolving world.

Building a silicon brain

Developing microchips, which are so diverse that they’re used to power coffee makers and fighter jets alike, is no simple task. In order to meet the massive processing demands of today’s digital gadgets, chip design has been forced to take some tips from the most efficient computer known to man: the human brain.

Today’s interconnected world requires more complex chips than those of the past. Unlike the do-it-all chips of yesteryear, today’s chips are often purpose-built for a specific task. By designing specialized chips, these companies are better equipped to meet the unique demands of today’s tech giants, who may require a special chip specifically designed for their own brand of autonomous cars or drones, to name but a few products.

Silicon Valley’s ability to churn out cheaper and faster chips better capable of meeting the demands of a 21st Century economy has been vital to the growth of the IoT, which itself has put money right back towards chip development. Today’s internet users who are heavy users of social media services, largely have the IoT to thank for incentivizing the chip industry to diversify itself so much; global semiconductor sales now top a staggering $335 billion a year, in a clear display of how many different varieties of chips are needed.

A new type of market

As the IoT continues to drive investment in areas like cloud computing, sensors, and interactivity, an even more diverse array of chips will be needed to power tomorrow’s unique devices. The semiconductor industry is already pivoting towards new business goals; rather than focusing on processing power like in the past, tomorrow’s chips will have a heavier focus on miniaturization, software compatibility, and better security.

It is thus likely that, in the future, forecast of the prospects of the chip industry are likely to be predicted not by Moore’s law, like in the days of old, but rather in how IoT-suited purpose-built chips and their producers are faring economically.

The IoT will reshape competition, too. Companies in the industry will be competing to achieve status not as massive producers of powerful processor chips, but rather as the head honcho of the IoT-chip industry. As the IoT continues to take over, chip designers capable of meeting its demands will quickly find themselves becoming the most valued part of a billion-dollar industry. 

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