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What is Ambient IoT?

Telink Staff

May 17, 2024


Harness the energy around you with Ambient IoT—a more sustainable and low-cost method of wireless communication.

With technology, we often think about how much new devices and protocols can do for us, but what happens when we make the most of what we already have? With Ambient IoT, this new generation of technology aims to do just that, representing a groundbreaking shift in how devices interact with their environment.

By leveraging ambient energy—ranging from radio waves and light to motion and heat—Ambient IoT devices operate without conventional power sources, opening new avenues for short-range, low-cost wireless communication. According to Grand View Research, the Ambient IoT market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24.4% from 2023 to 2030. With its potential rising to its peak, it’s time to harness this new class of technology to provide the energy efficiency and sustainability many consumers today are looking for.

How Ambient IoT Works

So, what is Ambient IoT? In short, it’s a unique category of IoT devices that use external sources of energy like light, heat, kinetic energy, and radio waves to continuously power batteries and create more self-sustaining technology. Ambient IoT fits seamlessly into existing IoT architectures, extending device battery life as well as the network coverage of today’s IoT infrastructures. For example, ambient IoT sensor nodes can send data to an existing IoT network with the help of connectivity technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy while remaining energized by ambient sources for continuous data transmission. 

Since Ambient IoT devices harvest energy from the environment, they can help businesses reduce costs, eliminate maintenance needs, and offer a more scalable option for automating homes, warehouses, or business offices.

Applications for Ambient IoT

From retail and hospitality to supply chain systems and smart homes, Ambient IoT can be implemented in almost every industry.

Industrial Markets

In the industrial sector, Ambient IoT can revolutionize how businesses monitor operations. Sensors equipped with ambient energy harvesting capabilities can continuously monitor machinery health and performance for predictive maintenance that reduces downtime and repair costs. Ambient IoT devices can also track the location and status of equipment across large industrial sites without the need for battery replacement or manual charging. Plus, these energy-efficient devices can also help monitor environmental conditions to keep both products and workers safe.

Commercial Markets

Within commercial buildings, Ambient IoT devices can help manage lighting, heating, cooling, and security systems more efficiently, adapting to occupancy patterns and environmental changes without human intervention. In retail applications, electronic shelf labels (ESLs) powered by ambient energy can help retailers update product prices and inventory in real-time without having to worry about them running on low batteries.

Consumer Markets

For consumers, Ambient IoT brings enhancements and convenience into their everyday lives through easy-to-use, low-maintenance devices. For example, ambient-powered sensors and controls can help users manage thermostats, control lighting, and activate security systems based on occupancy and surrounding conditions. Ambient IoT also holds potential in wearable and audio devices. These devices can harness energy from light, body heat, or movement to provide a more satisfying user experience, thanks to their longer battery life.

As Ambient IoT grows in adoption and innovation, more use cases and applications are expected to keep developers busy with creating smaller devices with energy-harvesting capabilities.

Benefits of Ambient IoT

Why is Ambient IoT so significant? It offers even more flexibility and sustainability to existing smart environments through:

  • Maintenance-Free Functionality: Since they operate autonomously, Ambient IoT devices eliminate the need for regular battery changes or wired power, making them inherently maintenance-free.
  • Low Complexity and Cost: The reliance on ambient energy promotes the design of simpler, task-specific devices that communicate less frequently and are more focused on performing particular functions.
  • Environmental Sustainability: By harvesting energy outside of traditional power grids, Ambient IoT promotes the use of renewable energy in the tech industry and encourages less reliance on batteries that can leave an ecological footprint.
  • Deployment in Power-Limited Areas: Remote locations, such as rural communities, isolated industrial sites, and developing regions, can greatly benefit from ambient devices that extend IoT capabilities into areas that lack a complex power infrastructure. For example, Ambient IoT can provide critical data on geographic and weather conditions in disaster-prone areas to enhance emergency response efforts, even with limited power available.

With 93% of businesses worldwide ready to upgrade their energy efficiency within the next three years, developers can find plenty of ways to align with the growing needs of consumers.

Embrace This New Ambience with Telink

As a protocol-agnostic IC vendor, Telink is ready to help you create devices and solutions that embrace this new era of Ambient IoT while aligning with specific business needs. In collaboration with industry partners specializing in energy harvesting and power management ICs, Telink offers a range of reference solutions to take existing technologies to the next level. Whether you’re designing products for smart homes, remote control, environment monitoring, location services, or human interface devices, Telink matches your passion for innovation to create Ambient IoT solutions for a variety of today’s applications.

By harnessing the power of ambient energy, this new wave of IoT technology not only presents a sustainable path forward but also paves the way for more intelligent, autonomous, and sustainable device ecosystems across all industries.

Visit Telink’s wiki to learn more about our development tools, ask us a question through our Technical Forum, or contact us directly today.

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