Even though industry forecasters began predicting the demise of analog a decade or two ago, analog remains alive and well. The move to digital has actually created a bigger need for analog, which we can broadly define to include sensors, signal conditioning, power management, and wired/wireless connectivity.
Indeed, the complete analog signal chain is both enabling and benefiting from Industry 4.0, or the industrial internet of things (IIoT). The use of artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and IIoT in factories can help increase productivity while reducing waste of time, materials, and product on the factory floor. From a sensor standpoint, what’s needed are intelligent, small, and low-power sensors that can analyze data locally and upload significant results.
Vendors who will be successful in this environment will be those who can supply ICs, reference designs, software tools, and connectivity standards to OEMs developing products for specific applications niches in industry. One example of such a complete package is Maxim’s Pocket IO PLC development platform. Read my article, “Industry 4.0 is Coming on Strong, and Analog Integration is a Major Beneficiary,” to learn more about how the Pocket IO can support your Industry 4.0 applications.
By Jeff DeAngelis, Managing Director, Industrial & Healthcare Business Unit, Maxim Integrated