As CES 2020 came to a close last week, we wanted to take a look at what to expect in 2020. The Consumer Electronics Show is full of proofs-of-concept and prototypes, but it’s also a great place to look at what drives innovations and the tech leaders of tomorrow. Additionally, 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade and will thus be a seminal year for the products that will change our lives during the next ten years. Let’s, therefore, look at what seems to be peeking over the horizon.
10. Predictive Maintenance in Real World Applications
The last decade saw the rise of predictive maintenance: the ability to anticipate failure and better plan for maintenance operations thanks to machine learning. However, 2020 should be a symbolic year as solutions are becoming much more accessible. For instance, engineers can acquire development boards and start writing companion apps in a few minutes without worrying about cloud security, server farms, or computational throughput. Industrial actors are no longer simply thinking about predictive maintenance but actively implementing it.
9. Machine Learning at the Edge
During the last decade, machine learning required massive servers, complex models, teams of extremely rare experts, and excessive amounts of time and resources. Now, machine learning can fit inside a motion sensor, and we can expect a lot more intelligence at the edge. It will never replace what we can achieve with cloud computing, but it will rapidly complement it. By implementing decision-making systems inside sensors, engineers can optimize resources, save a lot of energy, and time.
- Nomination of the LSM6DSOX, First Inertial Sensor with Machine Learning
- STM32Cube.AI: Convert Neural Networks into Optimized Code for STM32
- SensorTile in a Box: More Powerful Sensors and Three User Modes
8. Data Science Everywhere
One of the major hurdles preventing the adoption of machine learning is the scarcity of data and the lack of data scientists. The creation of a neural network demands clean, accurate, and plentiful data, which means that the democratization of machine learning can only happen when useful data are freely available in large quantities. However, ST Partners like Cartesiam are approaching this problem from a different angle by replacing the data scientist with a system capable of performing training and inference operations on the same embedded system.
7. Critical Adoption of Sub-Gigahertz Networks and 5G
Connecting embedded devices to the Internet is getting easier thanks to the increasing popularity of sub-gigahertz networks and the arrival of 5G. We see more infrastructure as well as easier and cheaper solutions to connect to them. Even startups can now plan to use LoRa, Sigfox, or any other sub-gigahertz network without breaking the bank because developing for these solutions is also getting a lot more practical. It’s no wonder we started 2020 with the STM32WL.
- STM32WL, The 1st MCU with Embedded LoRa Transceiver, a Masterclass in Chip Design
- 2 New LoRa Nucleo Packs and the First LoRa Development Pack for China
- How-To: Asset Tracking on Sigfox in Minutes with our Function Pack
6. More Rigorous Cyber Security
At one point, some critics nicknamed IoT the “Internet of Threats.” However, companies have come a long way and better understand why it is crucial to secure embedded systems, the information it processes, and its update mechanisms. We can expect companies to protect their products better as consumers demand more rigorous defenses against hacks. A few years ago, a breach was simply an educational exercise with little repercussions. Today, it is a PR nightmare that can harm companies and even put lives at risk. STM32Trust is one of the ways we help our partners secure their embedded systems.
5. Crypto to boost data transfer and IoT?
Blockchain technology was one of the significant trends to come out of the last decade. However, companies are starting to realize that such systems can do far more than currency. With projects like IOTA and X-CUBE-IOTA1, we see entire communities harness ledgers to facilitate machine-to-machine communication, especially between IoT nodes. The project itself is gaining momentum, and 2020 could see a shift in the way we propagate information.
4. GUIs in Embedded Systems
For the longest time, embedded systems were black boxes with a few buttons and a routine. Nowadays, they are interactive systems conquering new industries and applications. One consequence is that a product’s success increasingly depends on its accessibility, which very often means that developers need to spend time creating a graphical user interface. A solutions like TouchGFX means that designing a UI is a lot simpler than it used to be while the latest optimizations enable low-power MCUs to support 60 FPS animations, as well as lots of colors and details.
- TouchGFX 4.12: From 9 FPS to 60 FPS with CacheableContainers and More
- Meet Chris, With an STM32F7 and ST MEMS Mics to Keep Drivers Eyes on the Road
3. Chargers Driving Electric Car Adoption
Electric cars continue to get cheaper thanks, in part, to new ST SiC devices. However, 2019 saw the rise of a new trend that should fully bloom in 2020: the rise of more efficient and practical chargers. Range anxiety can only be a thing of the past if chargers become ubiquitous, cities populate their streets with stations, and consumers can install them in their homes without breaking the bank. Our latest IGBT devices help create much more efficient systems, as we saw with Enel X.
- The World Needs Better EV Charging Stations, Check Out These 3 From Enel X
- IGBT Webinar: 3 Lessons for Industry Leaders and a Look at the Future
2. Education around Embedded Systems
ST worked with major universities to make a difference in the education of future engineers. For instance, Professor Kaiser, from UCLA, demonstrated a rotary inverted pendulum platform that is affordable enough to enable each student to purchase a kit and learn more quickly about control systems. We also showed how our drone kit could bring students to understand embedded systems better. 2020 will continue to see massive innovations in academia as educators prepare their students for the trends of the next decade.
- 3 New Curricula to Teach Embedded Machine Learning, Control Systems, and Drones
- ASEE Day 1: What Drones and Pendulums Tell us About Engineering
- ASEE Day 2 & 3: Audience Responds to All Curriculum and Students Rise Up
1. 2020, the Decade of Quality of Life Improvements
During the last decade, embedded systems truly touched people’s lives. From smartwatches monitoring heart rates to fitness bands tracking activities or fall detection monitors for the elderly, it’s all about what technology can do for us. 2020 should anchor this trend, and the next decade should all be about the improvements to our quality of life. We are going from gadgets to meaningful impacts, and thanks to machine learning, people get data and advice about ways to improve their health, reduce their stress, drive safer, and have more mindful interactions. 2020 will take what we learned from the last ten years and start to make it more meaningful.