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(Beyond simplistic thinking and models)
This lecture is one of a series ‘Grand Challenge Subjects’ designed to make students think beyond, and challenge, the status quo; to question what they have been taught and the established industry wisdoms; to look beyond the tech media and journal papers; to think, be original, and be creative in the widest sense. This all culminates in a design and build/project program spread over several weeks.
The notion that the IoT will see everything connecting via the internet using a wireless domain dominated by 5G is not only simplistic, it is fundamentally impossible. A moments thought and a few simple calculations reveal that there is not enough energy on the planet to power 50 - 250Bn or more IoT devices operating in such a mode. So how are we really going to design and engineer the IoT to become a workable proposition? Here are some clues:
3/4G: Carries <5% of all internet traffic; WiFi ~55%; Wired LANs @ 45%
Mobile Network coverage is sadly lacking @ <90% by geography
Mobile Device batteries and charging are major limitations
The internet consumes ~12% of all our energy
Mobile Devices consume ~ 1% and rising
Mobile Nets consume ~ 10%
None of the above takes into account the cost of raw materials, production, distribution, delivery, support, disposal and the ecological impact of civil engineering, equipments, and people.
During this lecture the following surprising conclusions quickly emerge:
Most IoT devices will talk to each other and never connect to the internet
IoT devices will require a range of bandwidths and not just low bit rates
The majority of IoT devices will communicate over very short distance
Our current wireless architectures are outmoded by the IoT
We will most likely need something beyond UWB
The power per IoT device has to be <<1mW
Security will demand auto-immunity
This then is the starting point; from here we can design and engineer solutions for an, as yet, unspecified and dimensioned IoT fit for this century.