Chandana Pairla
Chandana Pairla
Vice President, Connectivity Solutions Group, Analog & Connectivity
Published: July 3, 2024

Last December, I was featured in a Q&A interview for the Renesas Executive Blog series, where I discussed the array of wireless connectivity solutions Renesas has developed – and acquired – over the years. I also shared our strategic vision for integrating those complementary technologies into a smart, connected, network-edge portfolio. At about that time, Renesas announced a reorganization along product lines, leading to the creation of the Analog and Connectivity product group. The connectivity portfolio now houses our Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE), Wi-Fi, ultra-wideband (UWB) and near field communication (NFC) offerings, among others.

Connectivity Market Growth

With this strategic reorganization in place, we are well positioned to capitalize on the burgeoning market opportunities that lie ahead. We believe that the served available market (SAM), for connectivity solutions will be a $10 billion opportunity by 2030, up from $4 billion last year.

Connectivity Served Available Market

These impressive projections will be driven by several growth factors, including the adoption of smart, network-edge devices used in the home, at work, and on the go. The majority of these devices will either be untethered or operate on extremely limited power. Additionally, the need for seamless connectivity to ensure end-to-end data flow and integration is becoming increasingly critical. AI-enhanced computing and data movement, which requires real-time processing closer to the data source, will further fuel this growth.

With the rise in connected devices, security and privacy have become paramount, and solutions that address these concerns are critical to gaining user trust and meeting regulatory requirements.

Overcoming Connectivity Challenges

To fully leverage this fast-growing market, we must overcome a number of technical hurdles. Many edge devices, for example, must balance complex compute needs using batteries or other low-power sources to extend operating life in challenging radio environments.

Maintaining data accuracy and consistency is also crucial, especially when dealing with distributed systems and real-time processing on the edge, where any corruption or data loss can have serious repercussions on system performance and reliability. Users are also expecting real-time data processing and responses, particularly in low-latency applications, such as autonomous vehicle operation, industrial automation, and smart healthcare.

Renesas Innovations in Wireless Connectivity

To address these challenges, Renesas has developed a scalable, three-pronged connectivity strategy that includes:

  • Ultra-Low Power-Architecture: Minimizing power consumption without compromising performance through innovations in chip design, power management, and communication protocols.
  • Localization & Identity Connectivity: Providing superior performance to protect data integrity and enhance data security on edge devices.
  • Software: A comprehensive offering including our Flexible Software Package (FSP) deployed on the majority of our industry-leading MCU portfolio and support for embedded connectivity standards such as Matter, Thread, and RTOSes such as FreeRTOS and Zephyr.

We believe that high levels of integration with support for real-time analytics, security, and connectivity management will facilitate faster time to market for our customers and positions us well to deliver on our growth projections.

The Renesas Advantage

In presenting to investors recently at the Renesas 2024 Capital Market Day, we cited the competitive differentiators that we believe set us apart from other connectivity solutions.

Our low-power architecture slashes power use by up to 50 percent compared to the nearest competitors in our class. This allows some of our Wi-Fi products to run for more than two years on two AA batteries and some of our Bluetooth LE products to operate for more than 10 years on a CR2032 cell battery, which extends product lifespan, reduces maintenance costs, and promotes customer sustainability goals.

Despite such low power consumption, Renesas wireless connectivity products deliver performance that fuels edge innovation. Our NFC solution, for example, enables secure access with the industry’s longest range and is the only NFC offering able to certify payments from behind the screen on a mobile device. Likewise, our UWB solution has demonstrated twice the interference robustness of our nearest competitor, particularly in noisy environments.

Customers also appreciate our commitment to lowering the total cost of ownership by reducing the size of customer printed-circuit boards by up to 30 percent while combining power management and MCUs into a single package to simplify layout and eliminate complex matching circuitry.

Beyond power, performance, and cost, we created a user-friendly development ecosystem complete with IP libraries, development tools, reference designs, and access to our Winning Combinations program, which provides Renesas customers with a one-stop shop for reducing their development time and accelerating time to market.

What Lies Ahead for Renesas Connectivity

Among the first campaigns we are launching out of the newly formed Connectivity unit is what we call Connected Health, Fitness and Care at the Edge. This includes localized AI processing made possible through our acquisition of Reality AI, which is crucial for a number of reasons:

  • Privacy: Protects sensitive patient/user medical and biometric data
  • Personalization: Generates user profiles based on lifestyle and metabolism data
  • Optimization: Reduces power by only transferring required data to healthcare professionals
  • Real-time Operation: Potentially life-saving data is analyzed in real time without the latency inherent in cloud-server processing

Equipped with these powerful technology differentiators, Renesas’ Connected Health, Fitness and Care products support a range of use cases. Our Bluetooth LE solutions provide a wide range of integrated functions to reduce component count and save space in healthcare devices such as continuous glucose monitors.

Designers of connected-health smart rings will benefit from Renesas’ single-chip NFC solution for faster and more robust connectivity and wireless charging to monitor sleep patterns, heart rate, temperature, and other health metrics. And by eliminating EMC filters and simplifying antenna design, smart ring manufacturers can now make a single charger for a range of smart ring sizes.

A Renesas AI-enhanced artificial pancreas is designed for low-power processing in devices such as insulin pumps or pods, while our AI-powered smart insoles collect and analyze a wealth of data, such as pressure points, walking dynamics and biomechanics to help design personalize insoles to offset anomalies in gait and foot health.

As will soon become evident across the board, Renesas connectivity solutions excel in three key areas – lower power consumption, superior performance, and reduced cost for our customers. This expands our market opportunity and establishes a clear path to growth for Renesas as an enabler of reliable, efficient connectivity that defines the future of the edge.

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