What Happens when a Battery-Operated Device becomes a smart IoT device?

25 July 2019

For years, manufacturers of battery-operated devices such as programmable thermostats obsessed about battery life. The more power-efficient the device could be, the longer it could go without burdening the user with battery replacements.

Optimizing for battery life was possible because – no offense intended towards thermostat manufacturers – the device didn’t need to do too much. It needed to keep the time, to support a monochrome touch screen, and to turn off a relay now and then.

Then, these devices wanted to turn into IoT devices, and things started to change. They wanted to report temperature every minute to a smart building system. Users wanted to control them via an app. Maybe they needed to have proximity sensors or cameras to integrate into a security system. In short, these thermostats needed to do much more than they did before.

The results? One of two things happened:

  • Battery optimization became secondary so that all these features could be introduced. Now, the device needed to be wired to deliver enough power, or needed a significantly larger battery, or … needed a wireless power solution.


  • These extra features remained on the drawing board and the device was left behind.

As a device manufacturer, the IoT revolution requires more power, generating interest in new power delivery methods like wireless power. Visionary manufacturers also turn the tables and ask themselves “instead of waiting for features that require more power, what kind of innovative user experiences can I deliver if I had more power in my battery-operated device?”.

Will you be left behind in the IoT revolution?



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