By now, nearly everyone has heard of the Internet of Things, or IoT, the phenomenon of the interconnection of everyday objects worldwide via the Internet, allowing “things” to send and receive data. This includes just about anything you can think of, including smart phones, refrigerators, industrial machinery, airplane engines, lawnmowers and lights, to name just a few.
After steadily building steam over the last decade, we are amid an IoT explosion. According to Transparency Market Research, the global IoT market grew at a 20.6% compound annual growth rate to reach $334.22 billion at the end of 2016. There is no slowdown in sight, with analysts projecting the market to climb to $1.5 trillion by the end of 2024.
It’s a complex and dynamic space, with the technology underpinning it all constantly evolving to make connectivity faster and more reliable with greater broadcasting capacity.
At this month’s annual Consumer Electronics Show, NXT-ID, Inc. (NXTD) showed off what it believes is a first-in-class product. The Florida-based tech firm demonstrated a miniature module within a wearable smart band to enable devices powering the IoT. Dubbed an “IoT Stamp” because it is roughly the same size as a U.S. postage stamp, the module is an ultra-low power, highly integrated, intelligently-connected electronics module tiny enough for use in a smart card or watch band.
NXT-ID researchers leaned on their security and miniaturization skills to develop a module whose functionality includes multi-factor biometric authentication, identification services and the latest payment technologies. Button less wake-up, motion activation and other features used in devices today are covered as well for functionality and power efficiency.
The module is built on a chip supplied by Oslo-listed Nordic Semiconductor (OSE: NOD).
The clear differentiator is the fact that the NXT-ID module integrates Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Near-Field Communications (NFC) technologies on the same chip, representing an industry breakthrough. BLE was developed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group as a reduced power, lower cost version of classic Bluetooth technology without sacrificing communication range.
“This module, once fully developed, will be made available for sale to manufacturers of products that require highly capable, miniature, low power electronics for communication and payments,” said Gino Pereira, Chief Executive Officer of NXT-ID, in a prepared statement Monday.
That’s tech-talk to say that the module can serve as a critical component in countless next-generation devices that will lead to more powerful and efficient means of secure payments, data access, home automation and even smart clothing.
While generally independent from a chip standpoint, marrying BLE and NFC into one module is a competitive advantage for NXT-ID. As part of the Cisco Solution Partner Program, opportunities should abound to demonstrate their IoT stamp to potential buyers once complete.
Because of its size, it’s easy to forget that IoT is actually still quite young. Startups are leading innovation and grinding away trying to get market share, while majors like Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL) and Amazon (AMZN) and looking to use their size to dominate the market.
Regardless, each is looking for the next piece of technology that sets them apart by improving the user experience, and that’s exactly where NXT-ID is looking to make a mark.
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