More on ambient battery-free IoT – Nordic duo strike deal, claim major advance

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It appears that the movement toward external energy-harvesting battery-free IoT is stepping up as 2024 draw near. In order to “bring to life a shared vision of self-powered IoT devices,” the Norwegian duo ONiO and Epishine have reached an agreement. The agreement combines the latter’s battery-less microcontrollers and the latter, its printed solar cells.

The announcement comes after a comparable rush of activity that is covered in these pages. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) met last week to discuss whether “ambient” IoT, which would enable energy-harvesting in battery-less cellular devices, should be included as a work item in the development of Release 19 of the 5G NR standard.

A few months ago, Dracula Technologies, a company based in France, announced that it was setting up new production facilities with capacity for 150 million commercial units per year. This facility has an energy-sucking low-light solution for passive (battery-less) LoRaWAN. If nothing is done, about 78 million batteries from battery-powered IoT devices are expected to be dumped worldwide every day by 2025, according to EU research covered by RCR Wireless in the summer.

ABI Research predicted at the beginning of the year that published electronics, such as circuit boards and batteries, would continue to be a work-in-progress for some time in 2023 and that energy harvesting IoT solutions would begin to gain some business traction. It stated in January that “energy harvesting companies… have all tended to be engineering experiments, but several are… being commercialized at scale.”

And now, at the end of December, ONiO and Epishine, two previously unknown Nordic companies from Norway and Sweden, have stated that they want to introduce” 100% batteryless IoT” to the market in order to eradicate the scourge of battery waste. Giving the story airtime seems appropriate. It was described by the two as a “groundbreaking model of eco-friendly, intelligent electronics” that “cut down on electrical waste and running costs.”

Epishine has reportedly tested their combined solution, which consists of renewable energy cells and battery-less microcontrollers, and found “exceptional warm start capabilities, powering up in mere seconds.” They stated that this is “a large order for various technologies that need some minutes.” and also stated that the working alliance and the mixed solution are “calls to action for a strong Northern initiative aimed at advancing green IoT devices across the industry.”

Our alliance marks the beginning of a Northern industry initiative to advance lasting electronics, according to Kjetil Meisal, CEO of ONiO. We are easily integrating the middle class of solar and semiconductor technologies thanks to Epishine’s natural solar cells, special ability to harness energy from low light conditions, and exceedingly energy-efficient microcontrollers. This opens the door for the upcoming generation of IoT devices, which will be absolutely autonomous, maintenance-free, and green.

This alliance, according to Anders Kottenauer, chief executive at Epishine, “is not only about combining two cutting-edge technologies; it is also about cutting back on reliance on conventional battery systems and leading the charge towards green electronics.” Collectively, we are developing tools that are not only self-sustaining but also demonstrate the effectiveness of green innovation.

Undoubtedly a story to watch in 2024.

Matthew Boyle

Matthew Boyle is a distinguished Smart City Consultant, renowned for his expertise in IoT (Internet of Things) and cutting-edge urban technology solutions. With a deep understanding of Smart City initiatives, Matthew excels in leveraging IoT innovations to transform urban landscapes into efficient, sustainable, and connected environments. His strategic insights and hands-on experience in urban planning, data analytics, and IoT implementation make him a trusted expert in the field. Matthew Boyle is your go-to consultant for navigating the complex world of Smart Cities, ensuring seamless integration of IoT technologies, and unlocking the potential of data-driven urban solutions. With his guidance, your city can thrive in the digital age, enhancing quality of life and fostering a sustainable future.

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