CNET talks chipmakers and the Internet of Things

And who said big things can’t come in tiny packages? 

As seen throughout the CES 2015 show floor, the Internet of Things (IoT) is more apparent than ever before. From the kitchen to the office to the body, we’re entering a future world where all types of electronic devices are linked to each other via the web. In 2009, there were 2.5 billion connected devices, with a majority of these were smartphones, PCs and tablets. Over the next five years, that number is expected to rise to 33 billion — which is approximately four web-enabled “things” for every person on the planet. Furthermore, analysts project the IoT market to grow on average by 13% year-over-year through 2020, reaching $3.04 trillion.


Writing for CNETBen Fox Rubin highlights the ubiquity of IoT at the world’s largest electronics show, noting that it was nearly impossible to come across a booth or press conference without mention of the phrase and how it could change the way people interact with their cars, clothes and coffeemakers.

“There’s still an enormous amount of work to be done to make the concept a reality, but that’s not stopping chip companies from diving into the nascent space to define what a connected world will look like. The stakes are high. Chipmakers that succeed will be able to call the shots in a new and potentially lucrative market, while those that fall behind could be relegated to also-ran status,” Rubin explains.

While the Internet of Things may conjure a number of definitions, the general concept comes down to making just about any conceivable object “smarter.” The idea spans across a number of industries, ranging from smart cities to wireless health to wearable technology.

“We’re in for fun times because we are in the midst of a land grab,” Gartner analyst Alfonso Velosa told CNET. 

Rubin notes that looking at the battle at the chip level is useful because chipmakers are developing the foundation for the entire IoT market and, as a result, provide an early glimpse of the new world to come. He couldn’t be more correct. In fact, Atmel is powering the edge nodes that form the link between individual devices and the gateways that connect to the cloud, supplying Makers and designers with all the basic building blocks – from embedded processing and connectivity to sensors, security and software – and tying it all together with a rich ecosystem of design tools and development partners.


“Many chipmaker executives said that with just a dash of additional R&D, they can sell existing technologies into new industries,” Rubin shares. While larger corporations, such as Intel and Qualcomm, are able to take a multi-faceted approach by going after various targets simultaneously, moderately-sized players are taking a more targeted, strategic approach.

Gartner’s Velosa reveals that some of the leaders in IoT so far are major players in microcontrollers, including Atmel. “These microcontroller players should be able to worm their products into all sorts of new objects — from garage doors to lighting to sprinkler heads — potentially making such companies a much bigger part of consumers’ lives.”

Furthermore, given the fact that MCUs are already being embedded in countless products and places, analysts believe that the companies that build them are experienced in selling to thousands of customers in a variety of industries, making them well-suited for IoT.

“There’s going to be a huge appetite for the tiny things,” stated Forrester analyst Frank Gillett.

“I think the microcontrollers are best positioned, because they can sell to a broad base of products to a broad base of customers,” emphasized Atmel SVP Reza Kazerounian, which puts companies like Atmel in the “sweet spot” for tomorrow’s constantly-connected world.

Want to read more? Continue on over to the entire CNET article here.

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