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The Internet of Things, or IoT, is one of the most promising fields of technology. IoT enabled devices are embedded with electronics, feature Internet connectivity, and can communicate with other IoT devices over the Internet. However, to do all of this, these devices require energy, which when talking about a single device doesn’t seem too big of a deal. However, when millions of IoT enabled devices are at play, this factor matters a lot.
The Netherlands based startup Nowi aims to solve the energy problem with IoT devices. It uses energy harvesting technology to ensure that an IoT device can generate power from its surroundings. This is done by utilising every possible source of energy like light, heat, movement or even radio waves. The company’s brilliant tech didn’t go unnoticed as the startup has announced a collaboration with Huawei, which is one of the biggest tech companies around.
As mentioned above, IoT devices don’t run for a long time and even with the best possible solution, at best, they might barely last for a decade. While one would say that 10 years of battery backup is ample, it becomes an issue when we talk about thousands of devices. In such cases, it is not feasible to spend manpower and money to change the depleted energy source.
The startup Nowi started researching the problem and found that IoT devices use sensors that are mostly dormant for long periods of time. When they wake up, they draw a surge of power for a few milliseconds, which deteriorates the energy source and significantly reduces the overall battery life. To tackle this problem, the company invented a new PMIC (Power Management Integrated Circuit) called NOWI PIMC.
Nowi PIMC uses an innovative energy harvesting technology that can capture energy from ambient sources such as light, temperature gradients or radio frequency with the highest efficiency. The company has also reduced its PCB assembly footprint by 30 times, which means there’s no need for external components such as inductors. This enabled the company to provide solutions for IoT devices, which virtually never need to be replaced.
Collaboration with Huawei
Huawei noticed Nowi’s PIMC tech that is said to indefinitely power an IoT device. The two companies have now announced a collaboration where Huawei is showcasing its Boudica V150 NB-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things) chip that is powered via a new PMIC and attached solar panel.
Simon van der Jagt, CEO of NOWI, says, “The low-power design of the Boudica V150 chip together with the high energy harvesting efficiency of the NOWI PMIC make it possible to harvest sufficient energy for frequent NB-IoT transmissions, allowing autonomous connectivity for up to 15 years. That means no more cables or battery changes needed. Simply, Plug & Forget.”
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