What’s Next in Hardware

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What’s Next in Hardware

FountainBlue’s July 16 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘What’s Next in Hardware’, with our hosts at Renesas. Although our executives in attendance represented a wide range of roles, organizations and industries, they all agreed on the following:

  • Hardware innovation has been accelerating as the pendulum swings back to the need for hardware to support the rampant innovations on the software side.
  • Use cases abound for both enterprises and for consumers. The trick is to drill down on a particular use case and address a problem which the market would fund.
  • The form factor must be smaller, while the functionality must be broader and more versatile. 
  • Digital, analog and power solutions will be integrated and optimized as we continue to innovate.

A key to effective hardware innovation is balancing privacy, security and access. Just as it’s impractical to design a house without windows or doors, we can’t design solutions which are absolutely secure with the utmost protections of our privacy while providing optimized access only to the approved parties all the time, every time.
Another key is the need to focus on real problems which need to be addressed, particularly when decisions need to be made quickly, when lives are at stake. Whether we quickly get more hardware at the edge, integrating with more distributed cloud solutions, or whether we leverage hardware to be more efficient and effective at work, more immersed and involved in life, the truth is that hardware innovations in the next few years will continue to be revolutionary and transformational.
Below are some highlighted opportunities for hardware innovation mentioned by our executives in attendance.
Edge Computing

  • Optimizing hardware solutions on the edge so that processing is more efficient and effective;
  • Designing wireless solutions which provide faster end points;
  • Providing drones to collect data such as gas leaks; 

Energy Management

  • Proactively managing energy efficiency and renewables at data centers and complex end points;
  • Providing low-power, hardware-driven connectivity for enterprise and consumer usage;

Sensing

  • Leveraging hardware to sense everything from light to heat to sound;
  • Designing augmented reality solutions for enterprise and consumer usage;
  • Replicating human senses such as smell and taste;

Integration Challenges and Opportunities

  • Reducing the weight and size of hardware, so that it can be more easily integrated into solutions;
  • Utilizing AI and ML to optimize custom hardware design so we can optimize durability, usefulness and manage risk and wear and tear; 
  • Replacing human functions with hardware and prosthetics;
  • Supporting the growth of the equipment-to-equipment, equipment-to-cell-tower 5G network; 
  • Stretching the capacity in memory so that we can process more information more efficiently; 
  • Offering Confidential computing solutions, embracing hardware as part of the security strategy.

The bottom line is that hardware innovation is a work in progress, with much at stake, as hardware continues to make software smarter. And it’s not just about the technology, just the hardware and software. It’s also about collaborations across organizations and policies and compliance requirements.Although the conversation this morning was eerily futuristic, it was also at the same time utterly real, and absolutely practical and prophetic, exciting and daunting at the same time. 


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