Power trends for 2019

Power trends for 2019

Feature articles |
By Nick Flaherty

“Data equals energy,” said  Witham. “We see huge amounts of data changing in society – it’s not just our smartphones but all the equipment, IoT and controlling them with systems, we see tremendous amounts of blockchain activity not just in monetary but in security, and then there is the rollout of 5G.”

Data centres will see a continued push for energy efficiency and density – as computationally heavy demands grow and tech such as AI, electric vehicle, 5G and blockchain begin to be integrated across the infrastructure and operations of key industries.

Operators will need to evolve from today’s server rack designs, and IoT devices will require the data centre industry to continue to reinvent itself – not just adding more security and robustness, but also evolving the edge with new kinds of edge or locally-focused data centres. Highly-efficient power supplies are key to this evolution says Witham.

Using wideband GaN technology in power supplies to create smaller and more energy efficient hardware. This will enable blockchain to scale for business needs by processing more transactions per second without significantly increasing energy costs.

When it comes to the integration of blockchain and the impact of artificial intelligence, faster traceability will improve companies’ business operations and accelerate delivery of their products to market – while enabling them to do so at lower power costs. 

GaN technology will play an important part on the rollout of 5G because of power density, energy efficiency and device size. 5G microcell base stations require very high efficiency and power density. Low cost power electronics using GaN technology will be needed so these can be installed economically.

“For the next 12 months what’s supercritical for us is that GaN is a basic building block so whether it’s at the edge or in the data centre it doesn’t matter to us,” said Witham. “The central data centre is a thing that we have and edge computing is trending up so we will see more and more edge computing as there are more sensors and users, EVs and AVs talking to the network. With 5G we will see the huge increase in bandwidth will only increase that and the proportion of edge will increase.”

Wireless charging will also be a key driver in 2019. “We are going to see an inflexion point in wireless charging and I think that will happen in 2019,” said Witham. “15 or 20 years ago voice, data and power were all wired. The everyone cut the cord on voice, and then cut the ethernet cable with WiFi and we will see the same things in power. The guys doing phone and laptop chargers are already going wireless but in the last year industrial customers have been using the higher powers.”

“We have a 300W reference design from Mouser to move their design along so we are seeing an explosion of applications in industrial where things don’t have to be plugged in to be recharged, recharging in a the box or a robot driving up to a wireless charger, and I think 2019 will show more and more of that. I don’t think people realise the amount of activity out there,” he said.


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