Thief River Falls, Minn. —Digi-Key Corp. has added several new suppliers in response to customer demand for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. By leveraging the global distributor's hybrid model, focused on product fulfillment and services, along with its highly trafficked website, these embedded and wireless solution suppliers are expected to expand their global reach as device connectivity continues to grow.
"The Internet of Things is today's fastest growing technology segment, far and away the most exciting development in today's fast-paced, volatile electronic component market," said Dave Doherty, executive vice president of operations at Digi-Key, in a statement. "Suppliers such as these have lowered the barrier of entry for implementation, and we forecast continued expansion as companies look to continue adding this functionality to their designs."
The projected growth for IoT is significant. Gartner, which identifies IoT as one of the top 10 tech trends for 2014, forecasts 26 billion units installed in 2020, up from 0.9 billion in 2009. IHS Technology expects the global market for connected, or Internet-enabled devices, to surpass 6 billion units in 2014, as new products including cell phones, tablets and computers enter the market.
But connectivity goes well beyond mobile devices. "Advanced technologies for wireless sensor networks are associated with emerging ways of interconnecting devices that have never been connected before," according to a recent report from WinterGreen Research.
"Semiconductor wireless sensor network markets are evolving as smart phone devices and technology find more uses throughout the landscape of the Internet of Things, said Susan Eustis, lead author of the WinterGreen Research report, in a statement. "Sensors can provide monitoring that has not previously been available. Differential diagnostic tools support provide differential information that helps manage our daily lives from traffic patterns to crime detections, to medical treatment."
The global semiconductor wireless sensor networks market, alone, is expected to reach $12 billion by 2020, up from $2.7 billion in 2013, according to WinterGreen Research. "The semiconductor wireless sensor networks markets will be driven by the adoption of 9 billion smart phones by 2020, creating demand for apps that depend on sensor networks," according to the researcher.
"As connectivity drives innovation, we're already seeing a significant spike in product demand," said J. Darren O'Donnell, director of sales for the Americas, Nordic Semiconductor, in a statement. "Digi-Key is the one distributor with the means to help us expand our reach on a global scale while delivering service excellence to the end customer."
To meet customer demand for connectivity solutions, Digi-Key has added the following electronic component manufacturers and products to its linecard in the past 12 months:
- BlueGiga – Range of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and BLE Modules
- connectBlue – Bluetooth low energy single and dual-mode modules
- CSR – uEnergy BLE evaluation kit
- Decawave – Single chip, CMOS, ultra-wideband ICs
- Electric Imp – Drop-inWi-Fi modules and software
- GainSpan – System-on-chip (SoC) Wi-Fi modules
- Laird Embedded Wireless Solutions – Simple to use Bluetooth and BLE Modules
- Lime Microsystems – Multi-Function RF Transceivers
- Linx Technologies – RF transceiver modules
- Nordic Semiconductor – Ultra-low Power, Bluetooth Low Energy solutions
- Sigma Designs – Z-Wave 500 Series