Last year I wrote a series of blogs concerning the Internet of Things(IoT). In that series I layed out what the IoT is and some ideas for what IoT may become. As incredible and impactful as the IoT is there is something holding it back even today- power! More specifically, I’m talking the ability to take electrical power with you, aka the battery. Crazy, no? The battery is a common enough and relatively simple device. How on earth could this be holding technology back?
The problem lies with the fact that batteries are old technology. The lithium-ion battery(LIB) is the type of battery that powers most mobile devices today. For those of us who have used a smartphone or smart wearable we know all too well the troubles of ‘low battery’. LIBs were invented in the 1970’s- that’s almost 50 years ago! It may not seem like a long time, but when you consider the rapid pace at which technology changes today, it’s ages ago. According to Moore’s law, integrated circuitry will double in performance every 18 months, and that has held reasonably true since he postulated it in the 1960’s. Batteries have improved in that time but they simply have not kept pace.
Another area of technology that demonstrates this fact is the electric car industry. All but a few of the best fully electric cars struggle to range above 200 miles. There are a few that break this rule but the two that really stick out, with ranges at or above 300 miles are both made by Tesla. Of course, getting this kind of range out of an electric car comes with a high price tag. The X starts at $85,500 and goes up from there. The S, with the longest range, starts at $68,000. These cars are loaded with premium options but one of the biggest costs is giving it a longer range. That requires upgrading the battery package on the vehicle which significantly increases the price.
In software development, as in the development of all technology, there are always constraints. Memory, storage, processing power, and many other factors must be considered when designing and implementing any software solution. When it comes to development for software that runs on a mobile device, power consumption is always a very real concern.
In technology there are few areas that have to consider power consumption more than the IoT and embedded systems. At this level, the quality and efficiency of the code makes a difference in every milliwatt used. At Metova we pride ourself on providing the best software solutions to our customers. This includes understanding the constraints of the platforms our software will be executed on.