Energy Harvesting IoT

Powering Smart Devices for the Internet of Things

Energy Harvesting For More Efficient Devices

As technology pushes electronics innovation into new, exciting directions year after year, one thing that brings new devices together is the internet. The fact that nearly everything in the built environment, including our automobiles, will be connected to the Internet means that we’ll increasingly rely upon them for information and services. This complex and diverse network of connected devices and electronics, known as the Internet of Things (IoT), demands smart solutions to deal with the need for efficient sources of power. Energy harvesting technologies are currently in demand to innovate the wireless network capabilities of IoT. With Jabil’s expertise and leadership in electronics manufacturing, companies looking to find solutions to powering the Internet of Things have found a trusted, capable partner.

The number of IoT devices — from toys to industrial equipment — equipped for connectivity, sensing, and computing is skyrocketing. Sophisticated materials science, precision engineering, and advanced manufacturing techniques have enabled product designers to includes smart capabilities, cost effectively, in an amazing diversity of applications. Despite the technological advancements and innovative solutions for power, batteries and other power sources simply lag behind other electronics innovations. With Jabil’s involvement in all areas of IoT development and manufacturing, sensible solutions to lower power requirements are leading to new innovations of electronics. For example, small wireless sensor components, such as those used with many medical implants or e-textiles, require only micro- to milliwatts of current. These wireless sensor networks are in many components of IoT devices and their smart power consumption is key to leveraging the power of energy harvesting.

Energy Harvesting Technologies

Motion, temperature differentials, and light are all power sources. Energy harvesting capitalizes on these technologies to better power the innovations of the future:

  • Piezoelectrics — when piezoelectric materials, typically quartz and other crystals, undergo mechanical stress, their electrical charge shifts, generating current. In a microphone, sound waves apply pressure to a crystal, and the crystal emits a signal. The principle enables harnessing many types of motion (stress), from foot traffic on special floor tiles to blood flow in an artery.
  • Thermoelectrics — thermoelectric generators convert temperature differences between two different materials into electric voltage. For example, if two surfaces are sandwiched together and connected, and one side is heated, current will flow from the connection. Typical thermoelectric materials include rare-metal alloys and silicon germanium.
  • Photovoltaics — advances in harnessing light for electricity have enabled capturing up to several hundreds of μW/cm−2 from ambient indoor light. This is enough power to enable wireless sensors in even the lowest-light conditions, without the need to wire a circuit or repeatedly change batteries.

Even radio frequency energy from TV signals, wireless radio networks, and cell phone towers can be used in energy harvesting using a power generating circuit linked to a receiving antenna. This free-flowing energy can be captured and converted into usable DC voltage. Commonly, at distances up to 10 meters, the sensing device wirelessly sends a radio frequency to a harvesting device to supply enough power to control communications.

Comprehensive Jabil Expertise

Advancements in energy harvesting—using the properties of piezoelectrics, thermoelectrics, and photovoltaics—is the answer to the issue of generating the tiny currents needed to power smart IoT components. And Jabil, with its expertise in all the disciplines and capabilities needed to design, engineer, and cost-effectively manufacture connected, sensor-equipped products, is the partner of choice for leading brands and their OEMs worldwide.

No matter the industry, a strong manufacturing partner is needed for optimized growth and measured success. Jabil’s global manufacturing presence helps build literally everything in the Internet of Things ecosystem. From giant hyperscale servers that will house Internet of Things communications to the wearable devices we use to stay connected and healthy, Jabil builds them. Jabil designers and engineers provide high quality innovations with the potential for reduced cost.

With such an extensive network of suppliers and access to leading manufacturing technologies, energy harvesting solutions and innovations come quickly with Jabil. Our design, engineering teams optimize energy harvesting and wireless sensor network capabilities so that they exceed our customer’s expectations, putting our design for manufacturing expertise to work to improve quality, speed-to-market and customer satisfaction. Jabil’s vast, intelligent digital supply chain capabilities means that the Internet of Things and the energy that powers it can scale intelligently, securely, rapidly and cost- effectively.

Most importantly, partnering with Jabil offers more than just the advanced technology to produce high quality, in-demand products. Our collaborative culture and expertise provides unique end-to-end solutions that elevate customer performance. Our culture of integrity, ingenuity, and inspiration make us a trusted manufacturing solutions provider for the world’s top products.

Jabil’s Energy Harvesting expertise is located throughout the world.