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Displays for IoT

 

IoT devices? No doubt, we are surrounded by various IoT solutions. Our experience shows that in some applications, we can refer to specific “standards”, e.g., in wearables, commonly used are OLED displays. In this article, we describe three exemplary IoT devices, indicating which display technologies are most often chosen in such IoT applications by Unisystem's clients.

Introduction

What is IoT? In the report “IoT and the Polish Economy”, drawn up by the Working Group for the Internet of Things at the Ministry of Digital Affairs, IoT definition has three variants. For this article, we employ technological description: “IoT is a wired or wireless network used to connect devices which work autonomously (without any human interaction) to collect, share and process data, or to interact with their surroundings on the basis of said data (…).” We can assume that the usage of IoT devices is possible in every area of life – today, they are applied in, e.g., medicine, industry, transport, or agriculture (not forgetting typical use in smart buildings). 

Forecasts for IoT market

According to the International Data Corporation’s forecast, in the coming years, we will witness the precipitative expansion rate of the IoT market in Poland – in 2023, it will rise to almost 24%. It seems that pandemic has not damped down the development of IoT. IDC states that in 2020, we globally bought 444.7 million pieces of wearables, so the year-to-year growth reached 28.4%. Among those wearables are, e.g., smartwatches, which we use not only to be up-to-date with our smartphone but also to, e.g., more and more popular cashless payments. In recent months, we also could notice the potential of telemedicine. The need for constant monitoring of the patient’s health creates demand for, e.g., pulseoximeters, which alert emergency services in case of vital function disorders. However, there might be a problem with the availability of IoT devices. Due to last and this year’s broken supply chains, we still notice the prolonging lead times for certain electronic components shipments, including, e.g., displays. Analysts say that this situation might last till the end of 2021.

Displays for IoT

Smart buildings. Placing importance on our comfort, we use more and more IoT devices in, e.g., our homes. These are, e.g., quite popular cleaning robots. Worth noticing are also central heating management systems used to regulate the temperature level in each room. Usually, we manage the parameters of devices in such systems, e.g., heaters, via control panels, which currently ought to be not only ergonomic but also aesthetic; that is why clients choose LCD-TFTs for such applications. On the market, there are ready-to-use modules, e.g., 5-inch RVT50AQEFWC00 by Riverdi, which you can program in Python.

Industry. An example of IoT devices used in the industry is, e.g., portable measuring devices, which can provide gathered data in real-time to the central database. We can say that they are “demanding” applications. If they are intended to operate in, e.g., production facilities, they might be exposed to various adverse factors, e.g., interferences, bumps and shakes, vibrations, low and high temperatures, as well as dust and water.

In portable measuring devices, you can use, e.g., monochromatic OLED displays, which provide perfect readability of presented content (both in the light and in the dark, no matter the viewing direction) in a wide range of temperatures (they can operate even between -40 and 80°C). If you want to purchase an OLED display, take a look at, e.g., the 2.42-inch WEO012864G series by Winstar, available in four color variants: white, yellow, blue, and green. 

If your portable measuring device is going to be used to present complex data as, e.g., diagrams or figures, you can apply LCD-TFTs of properly adjusted parameters such as brightness (at least 1000 cd/m2), viewing angle (full), and operating temperature (at least -20~70°C), e.g., 4-inch WF40ESWAA6MNN0# by Winstar (1000 cd/m2, 80°/80°/80°/80°, -30~80°C, supports MIPI interface).

To provide additional protection against dust and water, you can set your electronics in the enclosures of appropriate tightness, e.g., IP65. According to the Polish EN 60529 norm (corresponds to an international IEC 60 529 norm), the IP65 enclosure is totally dustproof and partially waterproof. Learn more about IP codes

Retail. In retail, monitoring systems are still one of the most popular IoT solutions. Today, they are used not only to monitor the shop’s spaces but also the customer’s behaviours, so it is possible to optimize, e.g., the products’ arrangement. The other IoT solution, which you can notice in shops, are electronic price tags, e.g., EPDs like 2.9-inch EL029TR1 or 5.65-inch ED057TC6 by E Ink. The e-paper solutions can be applied in intensely lighted retail spaces – the presented content will be perfectly readable from any direction. What is more, they are energy-efficient – they need only a little bit of power while the image is changing, that is why they can be battery supplied. Moreover, using electronic information carriers yields in the automatization of content management – e.g., the prices on the price tags can be changed at any moment by a click in a central content management system; no need to engage a group of employees. 

Summary

The presented solutions are only exemplary case studies. However, in some applications, we can “experiment”. Imagine that the client needs a display to control panel intended to install in the eco-friendly home. Why not use EPD, which will accentuate the “green” character of the building? (If it is possible due to budget constraints, of course.)

 Uni's Guide