Plug-and-play comes of age

Jon Barrett Electronics Sourcing
Jon Barrett, Managing Editor, Electronics Sourcing

Thanks to a unique set of circumstances, there is a single day when I judge the accomplishments of the electronics industry over the previous year: Christmas day.

On that day, as if by magic, electronic products appear on the living room floor. The time frame to enable them is immediate. The userbase comprises demanding children. Finally, any form of meaningful technical support is non-existent.

This year the challenge was an app-controlled toy and this is how things went. Connect phone to WiFi: check. Find correct app on store and download: check. Register app using facial recognition: check. Enable Bluetooth on toy: check. Enable Bluetooth on phone: check. Allow app to find toy: check. Allow app to interrogate toy’s firmware: check. Automatically update firmware: check. Reboot toy: check. Play with toy: check.

Every single step worked perfectly. I do believe, after 25-years, plug-and-play has come of age. To be honest the concept of plug-and-play always faced an uphill struggle. No sooner were standards decided, technology quickly moved on and the goalposts shifted.

However, in a world of 5G IoT, a flaky handshake at any point along the data chain, regardless of the product, application or environment, is unacceptable.

As today’s children grow older, their app-controlled toy cars will become full size autonomous vehicles, a type of technology evolution which will eventually reach into every aspect of everyone’s lives.

Expect bill-of-materials to reflect secure, robust, reliable, ergonomic, 5G centric plug-and-play products, starting now.