The Growing Internet of Things
The term Internet of Things ( IoT ) describes the expanding interactive capacities of smart networks of processing systems. Increasingly communicating with each other, they drive enhanced smart automation in many fields, including:
- aerospace and aeronautic communications,
- energy-harvesting devices,
- neural networks as adept and powerful as upper-echelon parallel computers,
- smart RFID memory applications and tags,
- ultra-low power instant-on MCUs, and
- wearable medical devices.
More practically, IoT products have already encompassed such everyday instruments as asset tracking devices, industrial; machine controls, personal fitness bands, thermostats, and weather monitors. Wired or wireless, these products and systems are connected to each other and to their users through the IoT. It seems likely IoT will claim an ever-growing influence in the way most everything on the planet is done, perhaps throughout the century.
To demonstrate its impact on the marketplace, current global sales of products and systems associated with IoT processes and technology are expected to exceed $60 billion in 2015, and grow in value to nearly $105 billion by 2018. These figures reflect Internet users growing expectations of IoT functionality built-into equipment and web-enabled objects. The evidence is this regard is substantial:
- The quantity of cameras, embedded systems, industrial equipment, meters, sensors, and similar items connected to the Internet now exceeds the number of people using computers, smart phones, and related electronics for information technology.
- By 2020, Web-connected things will comprise 85% of 29.5 billion Internet global connections (representing a total of 25.075 billion connections worldwide).
Among the performance and market standards that require further definition for IoT are those informing component protection. To be cost-effective, these systems must maintain maximal operating performance at very low power, and remain adaptable to a wide range of operating conditions. Printed circuit boards (PCBs), semiconductors and similar electrical components power the IoT, and require durable yet often extremely flexible protection to function optimally. Conformal coatings have proven exceptionally useful protecting these components. Because of its wide range of product applications, parylene may be the most versatile of existing conformal coatings for IoT purposes.
Parylene Applications for IoT
Better-designed, more efficient microcontrollers and sensors are critical components of IoT systems and communications. It is vital that chips and devices are properly protected. Their increasingly small scale can encompass microelectricalmechanical systems (MEMS), requiring often specialized protection to assure expected functioning. Parylene helps manufacturers provide their IoT devices more comprehensive protection, improving the overall quality of their products.
Responsible for a growing number of critical functions, microcontrollers are important to the function of IoT products. Prevalent among their functions are managing user-interface displays as well as those for security, sensor-interface and processing, and both wired or wireless connectivity. Most conformal coatings -- acrylics, silicones, urethanes, potting compounds -- do not provide the protection of parylene for these purposes.
Parylene generates the most reliable protective covering for these components under the largest range of performance circumstances. Protection for IoT-related semiconductor products remains essential; sales are expected to double in value, growing to $11.5 billion in 2018. Sales of integrated circuits are forecast to account for about 65% of projected IoT semiconductor revenue, with the remaining 35% generated by sales of IoT-required optical, sensors and actuators, and discretes (O-S-D).
It should also be noted that, as the IoT expands its use and influence, microcontrollers, sensors and related assemblies will be increasingly used to drive public infrastructure applications. For instance, cities will become further connected, exemplified by smart electric grids, roads and street lights. In this regard, the trend toward municipal LED lighting helps both cities and citizens, because it cuts city energy costs by 30% or more. Parylene provides the greatest level of operational protection for these systems.
These applications are germane to provision of essential public services on a large scale, and will require the highest degree of durable protection through often extreme operating conditions. Parylene is best-situated to provide the required conformal coating protection, with reliable coverings so thin they are applicable to MEMS' uses, as well as larger scale projects. Other materials' substrate coatings are thick and uneven in comparison to parylene, and lack its flexibility of surface, which supports its adaptation for a wide range of uses.
Other IoT venues will similarly continue to grow. Primary among them:
- Private industry will experience considerable IoT input, as the industrial Internet develops and implements Internet-driven factory, logistic, and medical systems' applications.
- Connected homes and passenger cars will become more prevalent, as will wearable systems that connect to the Internet.
- By 2020, Internet infrastructures for Cloud computing and Webservers will require upgrades to efficiently manage growing quantities of data emanating from attached online systems and Internet things.
These changes are unavoidable. IoT microcontrollers, semiconductors, sensors and similar assembles benefit from parylene protection. Its ability to completely cover all surfaces, without affecting product-function demonstrates parylene's value for IoT.