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Power Supplies for a Smarter World

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an umbrella term that covers many groups of related concepts, but in essence, these concepts share the following features: distributed intelligence, multiple interconnected sensors/actuators and decentralized control. In practice, IoT means that certain spaces, environments or objects can be made “smart” by incorporating sensors that can communicate to make them behave intelligently. IoT examples include offices that adjust themselves to ambient light levels or to human presence, machines that monitor their own health or homes that learn our daily routines to automatically save energy without compromising on our comfort.

All of this new technology needs power: either highly efficient, low standby consumption AC/DC power supplies that can be used in a smart office with hundreds of intelligent sensor nodes, very low input current switching regulators that can scavenge power from the output of a wired sensor, low cost isolated DC/DC power supplies for multiple input channels or a very low input voltage boost converter to generate a useful power supply from a single battery cell. Not every power supply is suitable for an IoT application. They must be highly efficient at both low load and full load, they must be space-saving, they must be reliable and, above all, they must be affordable as they will be as ubiquitous as the sensors, processors and actuators that they supply.


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