by Nikos Zervas, CAST, Inc.
The phrase “IoT” for Internet of Things has exploded to cover a wide range of different applications and diverse devices with very different requirements. Most observers, however, would agree that low energy consumption is a key element for IoT, as many of these devices must run on batteries or harvest energy from the environment.
Looking at how IoT devices actually use energy, it is clear that most:
- Sit idle much of the time,
- Wake up periodically or in response to an event,
- Perform some kind of processing,
- Transmit the results, and
- Go back to sleep.
Most power-saving design strategies have focused on Step 3, making processing as efficient as possible. But new IP cores that simplify the incorporation of lossless data compression enable significant power saving in two additional phases, Step 2, booting or waking up, and Step 4, transmitting data.
In this paper, we examine the opportunities for power savings in these two steps. Specifically, first we show how GZIP data compression can help lower energy dissipation in embedded systems that use code shadowing, a common technique employed in IoT devices. Then we show how it also saves power for devices that use wireless communication links, where the radio frequency (RF) subsystem is the dominant energy consumer, and putting this power-hungry communication link to sleep for longer periods is essential for lowering overall power consumption.
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