"Stuck on stupid," is a famous phrase by one of my personal heroes, US Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who popularized this expression during Hurricane Katrina when he berated a reporter during a press conference for asking an inane question. There is a lot of stupidity that comes with the IoT hype, stemming from the lack of critical thinking and "me too" herd mentality. Much of the IoT today is all about pontificating, dreaming, surmising, and pie-in-sky thinking.
Bottom line: Just because something is possible from a technology standpoint doesn't mean it is practical, worthwhile or profitable. We should avoid the gold rush mentality.
Striking SoC gold
Perhaps the smart play is for the server-type systems that aggregate all the data coming from the connected IoT devices. This could be a smart television or advanced set-top box with integrated femtocell that has the processing horsepower to analyze all the input data and display actionable information in a browser, allowing end-users to derive some sort of value from the information.
The advice here is don't pan for gold in the Internet of Things. Instead, play the role of Levi Strauss and supply the 49ers with blue jeans.
IoT services will require more advanced system-on-chip architectures that will allow companies to aggregate and analyze data, and to differentiate with visionary approaches. Such devices will require more CPU horsepower than those edge devices, and they will require the ability to arbitrate a wide field of wireless connectivity protocol and software compatibility issues.
The value-added SoC is the smart play in the IoT business. Sure, use cases are interesting to ponder but the industry will only move forward when someone presents a cohesive vision of the entire ecosystem. Developing an innovative silicon architecture with flexibility will be essential in exploiting the IoT opportunity.
— Kurt Shuler is vice president of marketing at SoC IP company Arteris and has extensive IP, semiconductor, and software marketing experience in the mobile, consumer, and enterprise segments working for Intel, Texas Instruments, and three startups. Prior to his entry into technology, he served in the US Air Force Special Operations Forces.