December 2020 IoT News

By Pilgrim - December 17, 2020

This is my 21st monthly IoT update.

Is IoT like Gaia's nervous system? That's my end-of-year reflection, as BP concludes that we've passed 'peak oil' and the UK Government aims to cut emissions 68% by 2030, including mandating EV-only car sales by then, as part of its 10-point Climate plan (including £1.3bn for charging points) - neat slogan "the end of the ICE age". 28 US companies form the ZETA consortium to push for the same goal 2030 in the USA. The UK's first "electric forecourt" opens with 35 bays with up to 350kW charging. Fiat has partnered with Kaluza to trial demand-response charging. Meanwhile, fresh from its disgrace and a €100m fine over Dieselgate, Bosch is implicated in "Aston-gate", an EV disinformation campaign. In Australia, a new battery will provide 300MW peak power – that's approaching power-station size, and new UK legislation enables a similar 350MW one in Wales. Lovely review of the learning curves for solar and wind towards the bottom of this article. Oh - and the UK govt is looking for a site for the UK's first fusion generator in 2040.

Shenigans in ARM China as ARM's acquisition by Nvidia trundles on, and everyone wonders how the ecosystem will respond once ARM is owned by one of its big users. A possible challenger to ARM's CPU IP crown is RISC-V, a completely open-source project started at Berkeley University. Berkley was responsible for the 1980's RISC research which inspired the original ARM chip. You can read a deeper analysis of the threat to ARM here. The feature that gave ARM dominance in mobile was efficiency – a high "MIPS per Watt" number – and a recent demo appears to demonstrate RISC-V delivering more than an order-of-magnitude higher "MIPS per Watt" number than ARM. I was also interested to spot that one of the major manufacturers of embedded IoT silicon - Espressif - have just launched a chip which is functionally compatible with their ARM part, but contains a RISC-V core instead. Make no mistake – ARM currently has the huge advantage of a well-established toolchain and massive adoption... but then, so did Intel.

In other news:

Until next month,

-Pilgrim

P.S. You can sign up to receive your own copy of this monthly newsletter (ahead of publication) here.

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