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The Coming Yottabyte Era

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Goodbye, Zettabyte. Hello, Yottabyte.

If life seems to go faster and faster, so too does data creation and storage. We’re racing through the Zettabyte Era faster and faster as technology creates new opportunities for us to create content and data. By the end of this decade, after 18 years, we will leave the Zettabyte Era behind and enter the Yottabyte Age1. With our data creation and storage needs exploding on all fronts, data experts expect we will rocket through the age of yottabytes by 20402 — in almost half the time we spend in the Zettabyte Era.

There’s only one problem. The body of eminent scientists who created our standard of measure has never invented a word for what comes next: our official International System of Units ends with yottabytes3. It’s the very end of our number universe.

Our appetite for content has exceeded the numerical imagination of the world’s best data scientists — and these smart folks are now exploring new names for the numbers which can quantify humanity’s love affair with data and content creation.

BIWIN Technology is part of this exciting world: the creation of data and its storage. With our expertise in the manufacture of flash storage, we speed up the creation of computer content (for data, voice, video, or photo) and we enable faster and safer storage of that content (for business, for industry, or just for yourself).

What you need to know: Yottabyte Era

The International System of Units, from a body of smart math-minded scientists with a legacy going back to 1875, gives us our naming system for the numbers we use to measure our daily lives (e.g., meters, kilograms, seconds) and which our scientists use to set standards and measure scientific data (e.g., nano, zettabyte).

This austere body of eminent scientists gave us “bytes” to measure digital storage, and a zettabyte is a trillion bytes or 1021. When the digital data in the world first exceeded a zettabyte in 20124, we entered an era of super-growth for all forms of digital data. This includes the Internet and its content, but also considers other digital data– for example, video from security cameras and social media posts, voice on cell phones, and data from connected devices and wearables, both consumer and industrial.

By the end of 2030, we will probably reach 1000 zettabytes—entering the age of yottabyte. Yottabyte is the largest unit in our metric system, the factor of 1024(1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000), or one septillion. It has the symbol Y. And it’s the end of the line for the largest numbers our experts ever imagined we would need.

In practical terms, more data means our industries, homes, and offices will need faster and larger-capacity RAM (short-term memory) for processing and faster and larger-capacity solid-state drives (internal and external) for saving and storing data– as well as other types of network, industrial and data center storage.

It means newer PCs, tablets, and computing devices will require more capacities of storage and faster processing of data.  Beginning in 2022, look for the impact of SDRAM DDR5 and solid-state drives 2 TB (and higher. More and more consumers will be upgrading their computers and devices via internal or external storage.

It also means bigger internet pipes (faster broadband) and the new speeds of mobile (5G) and wireless WAN, LAN, and PAN (such as WiFi 6, HaLow, Bluetooth LE, and others).

Almost all the technology standards you know today are transforming to catch up to the tsunami of content and data created by our activities in industry, office, home, and on the go.

You can forget gigabytes or even terabytes. It’s expected that 2020 will see the creation of 44 zettabytes (1,000 bytes) of data. That’s 4421 bytes. And as IDC expects the world to generate 103 zettabytes of data by 2023, the impending age of the yottabyte (1,000 zettabytes) is in plain sight.

TECH DATA (now TD Synnex), the world’s largest high-tech distributor with nearly $60 billion in annual sales.

Digital Transformation of Business

With unprecedented power and discharge, three simultaneous volcanic eruptions in our IT landscape created today’s waves of massive data (and content) creation.

First, in the corporate world, businesses of all sizes must confront digital transformation6, the process of moving their business processes from the physical to the digital world. Every department — from accounting to production to sales — is involved and all the resulting information is stored as data or content.

Corporations also face external challenges gearing up for e-commerce, digital marketing, and a world of communication that is embracing video as its favorite form

If those challenges aren’t enough, their very office buildings need to become smart buildings where connectivity and hourly data save them time, energy, health, and resources (but require faster data processing and more storage).

Enterprise servers and data centers will use storage increasingly as they rush to catch up to the business needs driven by digital transformation, the move to the cloud, the pandemic-driven evolution of remote work, WFH (Work-From-Home), Everything-As-A-Service, the app economy, augmented reality and more.

The near future in IT is all about Big Data, AI and the network edge as storage and memory products are critical to capturing, holding, and storing the burgeoning amount of data.

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Industry 4.0 Redefines Manufacturing

Second, digital transformation in industries is often referred to as Smart Industry or Industry 4.07. The latest industrial revolution will adopt computers and automation — and enhance it with smart and autonomous systems fueled by data and machine learning.

Connecting the factory of the future to all its devices and systems requires an ever-increasing number of storage solutions of all shapes, sizes, speeds, and capacities.

Special industrial storage applications serve to support industries like chemical, and oil-and-gas where environments can be harsh.

Meanwhile, Industrial IoT (the Industrial Internet of Things) opens plenty of opportunities in industry: automation, optimization, intelligent manufacturing and smart industry, asset performance management, maintenance, industrial control, moving towards an on-demand service model, new ways of servicing customers, and the creation of new revenue models.

IoT connects and aggregates data from sensors, devices, and machines to generate previously unattainable big data which is turned into knowledge, action, value, and better industrial performance and execution. 80% of industrial manufacturing companies believe they will adopt IoT technology8.

While the factory and modern machine production require embedded storage and memory (often custom solutions), the products coming out of the factories also require unique storage solutions as our world becomes transformed via digital technologies.

For one example, let’s consider the automotive industry. A modern car can easily have more than 3,000 chips9. Electronics are responsible for 40% of a new car’s total cost — and that’s expected to be 45% by 203010 because of autonomous driving features and the increasing popularity of electric vehicles.

While the digital revolution in the auto industry is underway, the hardware tech driving that change is fueled by memory and its bandwidth.  High-performance computing functions that run algorithms for perception, planning, and control in autonomous driving systems require faster, higher-capacity memory subsystems.

Also, in-vehicle infotainment systems are more immersive with features like speech recognition and 4K displays.  From a hardware perspective, the lines between infotainment and Advanced Drivers Assistance Systems (ADAS) are increasingly blurred as these functions share resources, making functional safety of these systems paramount.

The role of memory in automotive manufacturing has designers of safety-critical systems relying upon Dynamic Random-Access Memory (DRAM) for diagnostic coverage for their system safety objectives11.

And it’s not just consumer vehicles that required memory chips. Autonomous trucks will be running on our roads long before passenger cards. Another less recognized trend is the rise of autonomous tractors. The autonomous farm equipment market will be worth US$150 billion by 203312. At CES 2022, John Deere revealed its autonomous tractor with six pairs of stereo cameras, granting 360-degree obstacle detection and allowing calculation of distances13. Of course, memory chips are planted in every autonomous tractor, so the self-driving system can harvest useful data.

Lest you think the rest of the transport industry lags, there is more demand for capturing and measuring data in trains, planes, taxis, and public transport as they embrace the digital era. How else will they be able to make more “memorable” travel experiences?

IoT is the economic accelerator that will underpin Europe’s economy, serving as an enabler for digitizing industry, society, the green deal, and sustainability goals. The Economist Intelligence Unit reports that: “IoT will generate US$1.1trn in revenue for companies across the world by 2025 – almost 1% of projected global GDP… Businesses adopting IoT solutions typically see 20-30% efficiency gains in their operations.”14

Eva Kaili, MEP, European Parliament Chair of the Future of Science and Technology Panel.

Consumers as Content Creators

Third, driven by the always-on generations that have grown up with the internet, consumer technology is re-shaping today’s world. Let’s look at the factors driving exponential growth in consumer data storage. 

More and more people in the world access the internet and it’s become a required utility like electricity. ITU’s latest figures​ show 4.9 billion people used the Internet in 2021, or roughly only 63% of the world’s population15. This was an increase of almost 17% over 2019, with almost 800 million people estimated to have come online during that period.  More people create more data which begets more storage. It’s that simple.

The internet, on top of being more ubiquitous, has become a video-intensive communication and social media dominates. More than 50 million people consider themselves content creators as the internet becomes the voice of the population16. That content is of personal and commercial value so the YouTube videos, the podcasts, the streaming, the TikTok memes are precious data cargo to be saved after creation.

High-tech giants now want to move the internet to the metaverse. Just think what storage requirements are involved when we all go in 3D for Internet 4.0.

Mobility, the intersection of the smartphone and the internet, out scales even the huge computer market. According to researcher IDC, shipments of smartphones grow 5.3% in 2021, reaching 1.35 billion shipments17. Mobile data traffic reached record highs in 2020, with global data per user reaching more than 6 GB per month – double the data usage for 201818.

Smartphones add more performance with each passing day– and one of their key components is DRAM, a high-speed-low-latency memory module that serves as a temporary memory for an application processor. The global average DRAM capacity almost reached the 5GB mark in Q4 2020 and grew 22% YoY in 2020 overall19.  And the average smartphone NAND flash capacity crossed the 100GB mark in 2020 for the first time20.

And then there are the smart wearables, the mobile devices that use memory so they can bring personal health statistics to millions: this year sales hit 232 million units. By 2025, analysts predict that number to reach almost 380 million devices21, and they don’t expect the growth curve to end there.

There are more factors but one more we need to mention here: the explosion of gaming and the evolution of esports. In 2021, more than 3 billion people (up 5.3%) played on PC, console, or mobile devices.  And there are more esports fans in 2021 than ever before: 465.1 million people watch esports (up +6.7% year on year)22.

Gaming demands higher spec devices with more SSD storage capacity and faster, higher-capacity DRAM. Modern AAA titles like Cyberpunk 2077 take 70 GB (and about 10 to 20 GB extra for updates and patches) 23. And if you are not a gaming enthusiast, it’s hard to appreciate how many gamers and fans record storage-intensive games or streams.

It all adds up to a whole Yotta storage and memory.

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BIWIN: Enabler of Yottabyte Era

At BIWIN, we are a primary enabler of the Yottabyte Era, bringing storage solutions to industries, corporations, gamers, and content creators.

We’ve prepared well for the coming years by investing (already a $124 million project in Phase I) by building the BIWIN Science and Technology Campus. Opened in Q4 2021, this state-of-the-art campus includes offices, labs, staff housing, and 10X more factory production lines.

We’ve also signed official license partnerships with some of the world’s top brands proving our products and solutions satisfy the most stringent international quality requirements.

The future for our storage chips, testing, drives, and solutions business is based on the undeniable global growth in data. That allows our business to rapidly expand to all corners of the world and across many industries and markets.

Follow our progress here on our website: soon we’ll announce another big corporate step in preparation for the coming of the Yottabyte Era.

References

1. Mills, Mark (2020) AES, Blowing Past the Zettabyte Era

2. VSmil, Vaclav (2019) IEEE Spectrum, Racing Toward Yottabyte Information

3. BIPM (2022) SI, International System of Units

4. Watson, Thomas (2021) FINANCIAL POST, The Data Age Is Here: Good Or Bad, We’re All Digitally Addicted And There’s No Recovery In Sight

5. TECH DATA (2020) ARN by IDG, Where Are You Going To Keep Your Yottabytes? The New Era Of Storage

6. Mueller, Benjamin and Lauterbach, Jens (2021) HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW How to Speed Up Your Digital Transformation

7. Wallach, Omri (2022) VISUAL CAPITALIST, Industry 4.0: What Manufacturing Looks Like in the Digital Era

8. Maayan, Giled David (2020) SECURITY TODAY, The IoT Rundown For 2020: Stats, Risks, and Solutions

9. Ewing, Jack and Boudette, Neal E. (2021) NEW YORK TIMES, A Tiny Part’s Big Ripple

10. Tingwall, Eric (2020) CAR AND DRIVER, Electronics Account for 40 Percent of the Cost of a New Car

11. Boehm, Aaron (2021) DESIGN NEWS, Don’t Overlook The Importance Of The Reliability Of Computer Memory In Automotive Systems

12. Editors (2021) FUTURE FARMING, Autonomous Tractors Are The Future

13. John Deere (2022) DEERE.COM, John Deere Reveals Fully Autonomous Tractor at CES 2022

14. Dahlqvist,Fredrik and Patel, Mark and  Rajko, Alexander and Shulman, Jonathan (2019) MCKINSEY & COMPANY, Growing opportunities in the Internet of Things

15. ITU (2022) ITU PUBLICATIONS, Facts and Figures 2021

16. Yuanling, Yuan and Constantine, Josh (2022) SIGNAL FIRE, SignalFire’s Creator Economy Market Map

17. IDC (2021) IDC.COM, Global Smartphone Shipments Expected to Grow 5.3% in 2021, Despite Supply Chain Constraints, According to IDC

18. Carboni, Isabelle (2021, GSMA, The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity

19. Bhatla, Siddharth (2021) COUNTERPOINT RESEARCH, Smartphones Beat DRAM Drum to Meet Performance Demand

20. Wang, Brady (2021) COUNTERPOINT RESEARCH, Average Smartphone NAND Flash Capacity Crossed 100GB in 2020

21. Søderholm, Thomas (2021) NORDIC SEMICONDUCTOR GET CONNECTED, Consumer Appetite For Sophisticated Wearables Demands Wireless Tech To Match

22. NEWZOO (2022) NEWZOO.COM, Key Numbers

23. Zahid, Saad (2021) MAKEUSEOF.COM, How Much Hard Drive Space Do You Need for PC Gaming?

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