If you think light switches and thermostats are not very high tech, think again. EnOcean GmbH is shipping wireless modules that use energy harvesting techniques so no batteries are required. To meet the new thrust to manage lights and temperature using wireless technologies that offer more precise control, modules must be small enough to fit in a light switch and be cost-competitive with battery-powered systems. EnOcean's 1.5-inch square module gathers energy from solar sources while also monitoring minute changes in pressure, temperature, vibration and motion to generate electricity. A Microchip Technology controller manages power gathering and radio communications. A proprietary radio transmitter helps keep power demands low.
Practically all electronic devices today contain metals that may
be coming from conflict-ravaged African countries. And political pressures will increasingly influence how these minerals are sourced and used in products.
Weaned on the relatively effortless connectivity of today’s massive variety of consumer electronic products, automation users in the IIoT will likely not tolerate too many competing, piecemeal standards for long. And the Industrial Internet Consortium is trying to preempt history.
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