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Supporting your IoT system construction

What is IoT and power management IC to Ricoh?

Please tell us about Ricoh's concept on Internet of Thing (IoT).

We see IoT as a possible way to resolve the social challenge where all sorts of "things" are connected to the Internet, particularly where sensing devices are exploding.

What made Ricoh to concentrate on the IoT market?

We have a corporate philosophy, "To create new value with analog IC and contribute to eco-friendly social growth." We thought our analog power supply technology, which has been cultivated over the years, helps to achieve challenges on IoT market such as autonomous power supply, extended-life power supply, and sensing accuracy. This concept is settled after various discussion.

What are the technical challenges of IoT system?

The amount of data becomes enormous as sensing devices increase, and a load to the network is the major challenge. The security of the information gained from sensing devices and the communication distance of sensing devices are additional issues.

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What are the solutions to the challenges for IoT system?

There are two future IoT trends. First trend is the Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be built inside of IoT devices, and it enables required data be sorted and encrypted. The second trend is the change of the communication method for extending communication distance. Although it is hardly conceivable before, "The power supply capable of flowing large current while having ultra-low supply current" will be necessary. Ricoh will respond to these trends promptly and have an appropriate lineup available.

What are the features of the "power supply capable of flowing large current while having ultra-low supply current" ?

IoT devices do not always operate, they often operate intermittently. As for intermittent operation, having ultra-low supply current is necessary since the current at standby mode is an important element to determine a battery life. On the other hand, the large current is temporarily needed in order to sort/encrypt data and extend communication distance as an active operation. For example, the only 1 µA increase of current at standby mode of the IoT device that operates by 1 A within 5 ms once an hour shortens the battery life of device by half.

RP604

Buck-Boost DCDC Converter
RP604 Series

Ricoh offers lineups of DCDC converters that ensure important characteristics of power management IC including output voltage accuracy and output response while suppressing the supply current. The buck-boost converter RP604 suppresses the supply current to about 1/90, from 27.5 µA to 0.3 µA, comparing it with our conventional products. The buck converter R1800 for photovoltaic suppresses the supply current to 144 nA. Both of them have one of the top characteristics in the industry (Researched by Ricoh as of December 2017).

How did you manage to suppress the supply current while having the output characteristics ensured?

We can't mention too much details because it is our core technology, but using our original merged process and circuit design technology, we were able to reduce the supply current while maintaining the output voltage accuracy and the output response characteristics. You can experience this effect very well by using our products.

With these technologies, what are the benefits does the chipset vendor can get?

There are two major benefits; the first benefit achieves battery-less and maintenance-free IoT devices. The second benefit is the miniaturization of harvester and battery due to the ultra-low supply current of power management IC. IoT devices are miniaturized thereby.

Last but not least, tell us Ricoh's future prospects and resolutions.

The main line of our business is power management ICs, but we will continue to collaborate and propose total solutions with manufacturers of harvesters, secondary cells, sensors, microcomputers, and communication ICs.

Please look forward to our power management ICs for IoT market and our solutions.

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