Showing posts tagged 'iot'
09 August 2022
Procurement executives concerned about digital innovation
Manufacturers are using digital advancements to battle current supply chain disruptions.
Almost all (97%) of those surveyed said they had significant disruptions in their direct materials supply chain.
67% said they were not confident that the technology can cope with the current or near-future challenges.
The most significant technology disadvantages seem to come with lack of visibility into supplier, ‘disjointed’ source-to-pay process with multiple systems, and a lack of spend reporting.
Even more (87%) said modernising the manufacturing procurement and supply chain takes precedence, and it is their biggest challenge yet. A further 92% said avoiding disruptions to their supply chain is their main goal for this year.
Among the main concerns for modernising the supply chain are potential disruptions during implementation, skills shortages, and scale and challenge of change management.
Around half of those surveyed (44%) predicted that the supply chain crisis would begin to calm by 2023. Significantly less (18%) thought it would reduce by the end of this year.
The study surveyed 233 senior procurement executives from US and UK manufacturing companies. It was commissioned by Ivalua, a spend management cloud provider.
See the original press release from Ivalua here.
While Covid-19 was seen as a factor in the supply chain instability, it was not the only culprit. Global supply chains had already been in a vulnerable position, partly due to factors like too much outsourcing and an overreliance on ‘just-in-time’ supply management.
What some are calling ‘outdated technologies’ are slowly being replaced in Industry 4.0. However, the implementation of tech like IoT, AI, machine learning and cloud computing is not a quick process.
The issue may be that this transition period would only further add to the current shortages rather than solving them in the short-term. Most companies are being deterred by this potential loss, and have been avoiding the change for as long as possible.
Whenever digital innovation comes, it will be a gradual and time-consuming process, but businesses will be better off for it.
09 March 2022
What is the Internet of Things?
In terms of IoT, a ‘Thing’ is anything that can transfer data over a network and can have its own IP address. They are most often ‘smart’ devices, that use processors or sensors to accumulate and send data.
These devices have little-to-no need for human interaction, except in cases where the smart device is controlled by a remote control or something similar. Due to the low cost of electronic components and wireless networks being readily available, it’s possible for most things to become, well, Things.
Technically, larger items like computers, aeroplanes, and even phones, cannot be considered IoT devices, but normally contain a huge amount of the smart devices within them. Smaller devices, however, like wearable devices, smart meters and smart lightbulbs can all be counted as IoT items.
There are already more connected IoT devices than there are people in the world, and as more Things are produced this progress shows no sign of slowing.
Applications of IoT
The automation and smart learning of IoT devices has endless uses and can be implemented in many industries. The medical industry can use IoT to remotely monitor patients using smart devices that can track blood pressure, heart rate and glucose levels, and can check if patients are sticking to treatment plans or physiotherapy routines.
Smart farming has garnered attention in recent years for its possibly life-saving applications. The use of IoT devices in the agricultural industry can enable the monitoring of moisture levels, fertiliser quantities and soil analysis. Not only would these functions lower the labour costs for farmers substantially but could also be implemented in countries where there is a desperate need for agriculture.
The industrial and automotive industries also stand to benefit from the development of IoT. Road safety can be improved with fast data transfer of vehicle health, as well as location. Maintenance could be performed before issues begin to affect driving if data is collected and, alongside the implementation of AI, smart vehicles and autonomous cars could be able to drive, brake and park without human error.
The scope of possibilities for IoT will only grow as technology and electronics become more and more accessible. An even greater number of devices will become ‘smart’ and alongside the implementation of AI, we will likely have the opportunity to make our lives fully automated. We already have smart toothbrushes and smart lightbulbs, what more could be possible in the future?
To make it sustainable and cost-effective, greater measures in security and device standardisation need to be implemented to reduce the risk of hacking. The UK government released guidelines in 2018 on how to keep your IoT devices secure, and a further bill to improve cyber security entered into law in 2021.
If you’re looking for chips, processors, sensors, or any other electronic component, get in touch with Cyclops Electronics today. We are specialists in day-to-day and obsolete components and can supply you where other stockists cannot.
14 July 2021
Active Electronic Components Market Growing Demand
Active electronic component demand is soaring. The market is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% during 2021-2026, fuelled by new technologies and faster and more globally available internet connectivity.
What’s driving it?
An explosion of new products with AI and IoT support and tailwinds like 5G are fuelling demand for active components.
Semiconductor devices, optoelectronic devices, and display technologies are significant applications. Examples include smart home appliances, virtual reality headsets, connected medical devices, and electronic ordering systems.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of active components in high demand:
- Integrated circuits
- Digital and analogue circuits
- Batteries and power supplies
- Vacuum tubes
- CRT / LCD / VFD / TFT / LED displays
The increasing trends of the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual/augmented reality are expected to fuel demand for active electronic components for years to come.
Challenges lie ahead
This growing demand is not without its challenges. How will manufacturers get a hold of active electronic components if there isn’t enough to go around? Will geopolitical tensions affect supply? How will COVID-19 play a role in the future?
COVID-19 can create supply chain and market disruption and have a financial impact on firms and financial markets. If the virus persists in causing global disruption, this is likely to cause a shortage of active components in the future.
The US and China’s trade war in 2020 affected chip supplies around the world. Geopolitical tensions remain a risk in the future. Who knows if certain brands will be banned? It’s important that manufacturers stay in the loop to avoid supply chain problems.
The world is advancing at a rapid rate and electronics components manufacturers are struggling to keep up. While investment in new factories is ongoing, demand may exceed manufacturing capacity, causing a shortage of components.
Inflation is making everything more expensive. Add wildly fluctuating exchange rates and increasing demand for active components and you have the perfect recipe for price increases. This could cause a bidding war.
Active components and the future
The future is filled with more technology than you can imagine. Everything will be connected, including your car to your smartphone and your TV speakers to your smart home assistant (e.g. Alexa). Anything electronic can have a chip these days and you can bet innovators will find a way to make everything smart and connected.
With the active electronic components market predicted to increase in value significantly over the next five years, it is essential that companies have a reliable way to source the active components they need.
This is not a matter of beating the competition but a matter of staying operational amid impending shortages. The current chip shortage is a prime example of what can happen if a perfect storm of industry issues occurs.
If you need to source active electronic components, we can help. Email us if you have any questions or call us on 01904 415 415 for a chat with our team.
12 May 2021
Equivalents keep the supply chain moving in uncertain markets
In uncertain markets, the demand for specific, branded components tends to outstrip supply. We have seen this recently with the semiconductor shortage, where specific chips are hard to come by at a time when they are needed.
Equivalent components, also known as equivalents in the industry, provide an immediate solution. These ‘generic’ parts can be specified when specific parts can’t be sourced and in cases where parts no longer need to be from one brand.
Successive cycles of electronic component shortages (especially in the semiconductor sector) has led to manufacturers specifying equivalents on their order sheets. Outside of sectors that have precise specifications for safety, like aerospace and biotechnology, these equivalents are helping to keep supply chains moving.
Equivalent in quality and specification
One of the common misconceptions about equivalent components is that they are somehow castoffs or second-best components. This is untrue. They are simply equivalent components from a different brand/maker/OEM.
The term ‘equivalent’ is used to describe components that can be used as substitutes for specific components. They meet the size, power, specification and design standards set by design teams. They are ‘like-for-like’ on the spec sheet.
The quality aspect of equivalents is only a concern when the electronic component distributor cannot verify the provenance of the components. At Cyclops, we only source genuine, verifiable components. We would rather expand our supplier base than source a batch of equivalents that we cannot be sure of.
A pragmatic approach to managing supply
Companies that are fixated on using specific components run the risk of running into roadblocks. There is a global shortage for chip passives and discrete semiconductors and this problem is expected to last through 2021.
Specifying equivalents is a pragmatic approach to managing supply chains in uncertain markets for several reasons. For the customer, generic specification reduces supply chain risk. It allows the customer to meet demand requirements without the risk of backorders, supply constraints, or being outbid by other companies.
The biggest benefit is flexibility. Rather than be tied to what is in stock and what you can source from an OEM, you can specify a value and chip size for passives, or a generic diode designation, and let your distributor source equivalents.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of meeting demand for scarce electronic components, equivalents will need to form part of your supply chain. Otherwise you run the risk of disruption and higher procurement costs.
How we can help you
Cyclops specialises in the procurement and delivery of electronic components and parts for a wide variety of industries from the world's leading manufacturers.
We can source equivalent components for you from our global network. All we need is a value and chip size for passives or a generic diode designation for actives. We will work with your spec sheets and source high-quality, equivalent components.
If you are currently experiencing an electronic component shortage, we can help. Email us if you have any questions or call us on 01904 415 415 for a chat with our team.
07 April 2021
NXP Announces i.MX 9 and i.MX 8 processor line for Intelligent Multi-sensor Applications
NXP Semiconductors has announced a new line of edge processors that deliver a giant leap in performance and security at the edge.
As edge computing rapidly evolves around us and demand for edge computing soars, performance demands are increasing at an exponential rate. This requires a new approach to security, power consumption and performance. Existing edge processors offer a solution now but are not ready for the next generation of real-time data.
Technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous driving and next-gen wireless infrastructure all depend on the edge. NXP Semiconductors is meeting the challenge with new i.MX 9 and i.MX 8 processor lines.
i.MX 8ULP and i.MX 8ULP-CS
The ultra-low power i.MX 8ULP and i.MX 8ULP-CS (cloud secured) Microsoft Azure Sphere-certified processors have the EdgeLock secure enclave, a pre-configured security subsystem that simplifies complex security technologies and helps designers avoid costly errors. It automates the following security functions:
- Root of trust
- Run-time attestation
- Trust provisioning
- Secure boot
- Key management
- Cryptographic services
The i.MX 8ULP-CS is Microsoft Azure Sphere-certified with Microsoft Pluton enabled on EdgeLock for highly secure hardware. With Azure Sphere, it has chip-to-cloud security built in, enabling use in a wide range of applications.
Both i.MX processors utilise Energy Flex architecture, which delivers as much as 75% improved energy efficiency compared to previous generations.
They have heterogeneous domain processing and 28nm FD-SOI process technology, making them among the most advanced edge chips in the world. The processors have one or two 1GHz Arm Cortex-A35 processors, a 216MHz Cortex-M33 real-time processor and a 200MHz Fusion DSP for low-power voice and sensor hub processing.
Every Azure Sphere-certified i.MX 8ULP-CS device also gets ongoing OS and security improvements for over ten years.
The i.MX 9 series is NXP Semiconductors’ range-topping high-performance edge processor for intelligent multi-sensor applications.
The i.MX 9 debuts a new generation of processors that have an independent MCU-like real-time domain and dedicated multi-sensory data processing engines for graphics, image, display, audio and voice. The i.MX 9 series also features EdgeLock secure enclave, Energy Flex architecture and hardware neural processing.
The i.MX 9 is for the next generation of edge computing applications including machine learning and artificial intelligence. It’s the first NXP line to use the Arm Ethos U-65 microNPU which enables low-power machine learning.
Importantly, Azure Sphere chip-to-cloud security is enabled within the i.MX 9 line, providing a clear upgrade path from the i.MX 8 series.
EdgeLock secure enclave is the big ticket item of the new processor lines, combining complex security technologies into a single pre-configured platform. With device-wide security intelligence, it provides a simplified path to certification, enabling non-stop trusted management services and applications.
With the release of these new processors, organisations of any size can now pursue IoT development and real-time technologies with the confidence that NXP and Microsoft have laid out a foundation of security via Microsoft Azure. The low-power requirements and chip-to-cloud security deliver innovation in the right areas.
You can find out more about the processors here.
If you are looking for NXP parts contact us today! firstname.lastname@example.org
18 June 2015
Semiconductor Stocks to look out for
The Globe and Mail, a newspaper in Canada, have been running a feature called The Future is Smart: How the Internet of things is changing business. In it they look at the Internet of Things (IoT) and how the electronics industry is changing and adapting to it. Their latest post looks at which semiconductor stocks are worth purchasing as these companies are in a better position for creating new and innovative products.
If a semiconductor company wants to make money, they had better look at moving into IoT, if they haven’t already - Analysts at Citigroup forecast IoT semiconductor sales to grow at a 29 per cent annual rate from 2014 to 2017, versus 3 per cent for the overall semiconductor industry.
Of course, as we know, there are a huge number of chipmakers (over 100 on the US exchanges whose primary business is semiconductors) so how do we narrow it down? Harsh Kumar, an analyst at Stephens Inc has realised that the companies most attuned to the IoT are focusing on a broad range of products – sensors, analog chips, microcontrollers and communication chips. This enables them to be the go to company for a new connected device or product – without having to rely on other companies for parts.
The leader in this respect, according to Harsh, is Silicon Labs who have a pretty impressive portfolio of various chip types and products. The other names to look out for are:
- Microchip Technology Inc
- Atmel Corp
- NXP Semiconductors
- and, of course, Intel Corp.
For more in depth analysis you can read the Globe and Mail’s report here. Cyclops Electronics stock components from all the major semiconductor companies and offer short lead times and fast delivery. Check out our stock availability by using our Fast Component Search.
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