Episode 6: The senses of IoT - Giving human senses to “things” to make our lives easier

Sensors make IoT devices smarter, enabling the “things” involved to “see”, “hear”, “feel”, “smell” and therefore understand their surroundings. Inspired by human nature, Infineon intuitive sensing solutions are designed to take the complexity out of our interaction with devices and to increase their efficiency. Infineon provides different sensors with state-of-the-art software to create a comprehensive picture of the world around us – known as “contextual awareness. In this episode we talk with Philipp Schierstaedt, who is a Senior Vice President & General Manager at Infineon, how sensors mark the starting point to each and every IoT system and give "things" human senses.

Visit our "Inspiring mobile business" webpage for more information about contextual awareness. Or click here if you want more information about our XENSIVTM sensors portfolio.

Transcript

Guest: Philipp von Schierstädt
Date of publication: 12 July 2021

Moderator:

The potential of the Internet of Things is well known. But how do we actually implement it? How can people and companies benefit from it? In this podcast, I meet with experts from infineon, partners and customers who tell me how it can work and what it takes to Make IoT work.
My name is Thomas Reinhardt, I am your host, and I am excited to bring this podcast to all of you.

Sensors make IoT devices smarter, enabling the “things” involved to “see”, “hear”, “feel”, “smell” and therefore understand their surroundings.
Inspired by human nature, Infineon intuitive sensing solutions are designed to take the complexity out of our interaction with devices and to increase their efficiency. Infineon provides different sensors with state-of-the-art software to create a comprehensive picture of the world around us – known as “contextual awareness. About this topic, I will talk with Philipp Schierstaedt, who is a Senior Vice President & General Manager at Infineon and in this role heading the business line Radio Frequency & Sensors.

Welcome Philipp, it’s a pleasure having you as guest today.

Guest:

Thomas, it’s great to be here in this podcast!

As you said, we live in a world, where technology shapes almost every aspect of our daily life. At Infineon, we aim to be the link between the real and the digital world. Our technology is developed to make our lives and your life easier, safer, greener and also more efficient. And intuitive sensing is at the very core of this mission.

You know that we believe that the essential value of sensor technology is to make our lifes easier and more energy efficient as I said. This is why we aim to take experiences with sensing devices – let’s call it – to a whole new level of naturalness. Imagine a world, where all the technology is unobtrusive and seamlessly integrated into our life. Where active communication between people and devices is no longer necessary. In this world, there is no need to push buttons or issue commands because the devices are directly addressing your wishes because they are contextual aware.
This is happening because our technology is capable of interpreting implicit uses and the context. This takes user experiences to a whole new level of naturalness. It feels as though smart devices could intuitively understand what we want them to do.
And this is of great help.

Modeartor:

Wow. That was a really impressive intro. And it shows how sensors make the IoT work. Can you please elaborate a bit on that? What role do sensors play within our ever connected lives and the Internet of Things?

Guests:

At the end of the day it’s about how we can leverage this new level of natural communication with smart devices, which is based on a better contextual awareness. Sensors make the IoT work, by measuring what matters.

Let’s become a little bit more specific and let’s talk about presence detection for example. Modern radar sensors such as our XENSIV™ 60 GHz radar enable the detection of human presence within a configured distance. Anything within a smart home or a smart building, from screens & displays, lighting to security devices can “see” that someone is close enough and can trigger an action – for example turn off the light when nobody is in the room. That makes our life easier – but also greener as energy is only consumed, when and where needed.

But sensors also make our lives safer. For example in elderly care. In smart and connected homes one can image continuous fall detection, where people might got hurt, or even worse and also do vital sensing to ensure that everything is ok, even when you are asleep.

Moderator:

That are really interesting examples. From your point of view, what is important to consider to make such a use case work?

Guest:

Well, that’s a very good question. Trust matters a lot. To create trust into the measures that might get triggered out of what the devices sense, it needs two things. First the sensor quality, meaning the accuracy and robustness. Second the software algorithms that immediately evaluate and interpret the collected data in the right way.

To stick to our example, this combination of sensor quality and software is particularly important for elderly people so the device can differentiate between normal movements and a fall. One major advantage of sensors applied in the area of elderly care is the additional safety they provide, by measuring what matters, without violating the privacy of the resident. Radar is not like a camera.

Moderator:

You just said, that the combination of the sensor, meaning the hardware, and the software, especially the algorithms, is essential to create applications that make a difference and create a positive impact on our life. How can we as Infineon create this fusion of hardware and software? Is it only about us – or do we need support?

Guest:   

Also a good question. Infineon is very strong in hardware and market leader in most of the relevant building blocks to make IoT work. Also in software we have invested heavily and increased our expertise significantly. When it comes to real use case application software, we are also working with partners to provide the full value to the end customer. So we are capable to serve the full stack from technology all the way to enabling the use case. It is the combination of hardware and software.

It is obvious that one party cannot do everything. I am convinced that by co-innovating we can create more value. On the one hand, we create more value for our customers by shortening Time-To-Market. On the other hand we create more value for the end-use by enabling attractive new use cases.

Moderator:

As you probably already concluded serval of these co-innovation activities – what is one of the most important points to make it a success?

Guest:

I made quite some good experiences with an approach, which focuses on the minimum viable product. Here, the focus is on getting concepts very fast to customers. Hereby we foster an open exchange and we find out whether the use case is an actual valuable use case – or just a wish case that we dreamt up. That means, we come up super fast with a prototype, the minimum viable product and customers test it, whether we have an actual use case – and whether this use has the potential to be scaled –meaning, whether it is relevant for a large number of customers.
One of our latest good practices here is our XENSIVTM PAS CO2 sensor which we have lately integrated into designs such as smart and connected lamps.

In the end, it is about being fast, agile – and brave enough to try something new in order to make our life easier, safer and greener in the future by measuring what matters!

Moderator:

That is a perfect ending for today’s episode. Let’s try to be agile, let’s try to be brave. Let’s make IoT work.
Thank you very much, Philipp, for your inspiring insights.

Dear listeners, for more information, please visit infineon.io. We will publish the next episode soon. Take care. And until the next time.