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Monday, October 16, 2017

Power news this week

By Nick Flaherty at

POWER NEWS from eeNews Europe

. LG Chem delays European battery megafactory

. EU warns on lack of battery manufacturing in Europe

. Heliatek raises €15m to take its solar films to China


. Pepsi backs paper-based thermoelectric generator for wearables

. Intel ships first 17 qubit chip to Dutch researchers

. Machine learning gives ultrafast atomic measurements of perovskite solar cell

. 48V battery targets smaller cars

. Drop in replacement for TO-220 linear regulator in harsh environments

. First USB-C buck-boost regulator replaces two converters

. Plastic optical fibre for battery management systems in 48 V powertrain architectures

. Protection against thermal runaway

. CUI: Medical Design Standards for Power Supplies to IEC-60601-1

ISARA and Utimaco team for post quantum hardware module

By Nick Flaherty at

ISARA in Canada has teamed up with Utimaco in Germany to test out different encryption technologies that could be used to secure the Internet of Things in a world with quantum conputers.

The two have successfully run quantum-safe hash, lattice and multivariate-based digital signature algorithms for a Hardware Security Module (HSM) in initial laboratory testing.

Utimaco, based in Germany, is a leading manufacturer of Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) that provide the root of trust to all industries, from financial services and payment to the automotive industry, cloud services to the public sector. HSMs help keep cryptographic keys and digital identities safe in order to protect critical digital infrastructures and high value data assets. 

“With the threat of quantum computers being able to break currently used public-key cryptography growing nearer and standards organizations, like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), working on creating new cryptographic standards, work on how these new schemes fit into existing protocols and systems needs to be done in parallel in order to ensure we are ready to mitigate the quantum threat in time,’’ said Thorsten Groetker, Chief Technology Officer of Utimaco. “In addition, it takes time and effort to ensure that hardware systems are able to run the new algorithms efficiently and that is why we are preparing Utimaco’s CryptoServer line of products for the challenge ahead.”

With immense computing power driven by quantum mechanics, quantum computing offers the potential for huge advancements in areas such as artificial intelligence and material design. But a quantum computer also will be capable of breaking the public key encryption standards that protect all of the data, software updates and technology we now safely store, share and use.

“Quantum computing will deliver amazing benefits and, in the wrong hands, could present serious threats,’’ said Michael K. Brown, CTO of ISARA Corp. “All organizations with critical data need to begin preparing today by protecting information whose confidentiality must persist over time. We are excited to work with Utimaco on quantum-safe HSM solutions as it allows the IoT industry to ensure their product’s roots of trust remain secure and over-the-air updates authentic.”

At the core of secure devices is a root of trust, typically in the form of an embedded public key or digital certificate. These are embedded in all Internet-enabled devices, from computers to vehicles to industrial equipment. The software updates sent to these devices are digitally signed and these signatures can be verified by the receiving devices using the embedded roots of trust.

Updating roots of trust is an urgent problem. A part of solving that problem is getting the quantum-safe algorithms to work on a Hardware Security Module (HSM). This module keeps the private keys safe in a tamper-resistant hardware and sign data that is fed into it, without revealing the private key. While providing physical protection to the private key, these HSMs have limited memory and computing resources.

Related stories:

Sony plans its first USB3 industrial camera module

By Nick Flaherty at

Sony Europe's Image Sensing Solutions division is planning its first USB3 camera module as part of its move to CMOS image sensors.

The first of the new modules is the XCG-CG160 which has a Gigabit Ethernet interface and a 1/3-type IMX273 sensor. Sony sees this as a low-disruption way to move from CCD to Global Shutter GSCMOS to replace cameras using the highly-regarded Sony ICX445 CCD sensor. The GSCMOS camera starred shipping in January 2016.

The first module runs at 75 frames per second in SXGA resolution with 8bit colour. Black/white modules are available immediately and colour modules will enter mass production in December 2017.

A version using the USB3.0 protocol is scheduled to enter mass production by Q1 2018.

The modules are aimed at embedded applications such as print, robotics and inspection to ITS, medical and logistics, as well as being suitable for general imaging.

The XCG-CG160 provides a simple migration path from CCD to GSCMOS without having to upgrade or change architecture. The IMX273 shares comparable sensor and pixel size characteristics with the ICX445, but offers improvements in sensitivity, dynamic range, noise reduction and frame rate. These include defect-pixel correction, shading correction with both peak and average detection and area gain to automatically adjust for the target object. The module also supports 2x2 multi-region of interest, flip and binning.

The series uses a 1/2.9-type Sony Pregius GS CMOS sensor, delivering 1440 x 1080 (1.6 MP) images. The b/w module has a minimum illumination of just 0.5lx; the colour module requires just 12lx and comes with a manual, auto and one-push white balance setting. Both modules have a sensitivity of F5.6, a gain of 0 to +18 dB, a shutter speed of 60 s to 1/10,000 s.

"These cameras extract the best possible image from the IMX273 with additional performance enhancing unique features. With it, we believe, we have set the industry standard for an SXGA module," said Matt Swinney, Senior Marketing Manager, Sony Image Sensing Solutions.

Sony's v1.1 firmware is certified by Cognex VisionPro and is GigE Version 2.0 compliant; allowing both hard and software triggering, with the module able to act as a both an IEEE1588 (PTP) master and slave. The firmware uniquely allows for up to 16 action cue commands, plus acquisition sequence scheduling and GPO control.

The firmware also supports burst trigger and new event modes, as well as a reduced jitter function with single frame acquisition. An asynchronous image transfer enables a memory shot and output upon user demand, and its broadcast register write function enables synchronised camera feature controls to be implemented.
The C-mount module uses a highly compatible GPIO with 1xISO IN, 1xISO OUT and 1xTTL IN/OUT. It measures 29 x 29 x 42 mm, with a weight of 65g and has an operating temperature of -5°C to +45°C.

NXP and Synaptics team with Arrow for Alexa smart home dev kit

By Nick Flaherty at

Synaptics and NXP Semiconductor are using Arrow Electronics to distribute a variant of the Synaptics AudioSmart 2-Mic Development Kit for Amazon AVS that is supported by a commercially available NXP system-on-chip (SoC) application processor.

This variant enables device makers to quickly and cost-effectively integrate the Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) into a fully functioning prototype, and then take that work into design for manufacturing and production.

“Voice as a human interface is rapidly expanding in smart homes and the broader IoT landscape due to the broad global expansion of voice services like Amazon Alexa,” said Saleel Awsare, vice president and general manager, Audio and Imaging Business, Synaptics. “When voice services are combined with Synaptics’ AudioSmart far-field voice DSPs, new voice-enabled human interface devices can accelerate into numerous IoT applications whether consumer, enterprise, or commercial.”
The Synaptics AudioSmart 2-Mic Dev Kit for Amazon AVS includes Synaptics’ CX20921 Voice Input Processor with a dual microphone board and a wake-word engine tuned to "Alexa." It is built on the pico-imx7d board, a purpose-built small-footprint hardware platform which features NXP’s i.MX7D dual-core applications processor optimized for the internet of things (IoT). The kit also includes stereo microphones with an integrated processor, a microphone holder board, a micro USB cable, Type-A to Type-B cable, cable assembly and a +5V power supply.

The i.MX7D has dual Arm Cortex-A7 cores at speeds of up to 1.2 GHz, as well as the Arm Cortex-M4 core. It supports multiple memory types including 16/32-bit DDR3L/LPDDR2/LPDDR3-1066, Quad SPI memory, NAND, eMMC, and NOR. Several high speed connectivity connections include Gigabit Ethernet with AVB, PCIe, and USB. Both parallel and serial Display and Camera interfaces are provided, as well as a way to directly connect to the Electrophoretic Displays (EPD).

The development kit features a reference client built using the AVS Device SDK (software development kit), enabling commercial device makers to get to market faster with Alexa-enabled products.

“This new Synaptics development kit with an NXP SoC for the Amazon Alexa Voice Service can add intelligent voice control to connected products with a microphone and speaker, enabling developers and engineers to rapidly create Alexa-enabled proof of concepts and prototypes,” said Murdoch Fitzgerald, vice president of semiconductor marketing at Arrow.

The Synaptics AudioSmart 2-Mic Dev Kit for Amazon AVS with NXP SoC is available exclusively from for $375.

Friday, October 13, 2017

ST targets first Chinese Cloud-to-Node IoT platform

By Nick Flaherty at

STMicroelectronics has teamed up with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm and business unit of e-commerce group Alibaba to provide a complete cloud-to-node IoT solution.

The cooperation will allow any designer to easily create IoT nodes and gateways using ST’s key semiconductor building blocks for the IoT, run Alibaba’s IoT operating system AliOS on the node, and seamlessly connect with the Alibaba Cloud for faster time-to-market of large-volume IoT applications.

With the official release of AliOS, ST has made the AliOS available to run on its ARM Coretex-M-based STM32 microcontrollers (MCU). Beyond processing, designers will get access to ST’s complete portfolio covering all the key building blocks for the IoT, including connectivity, security, sensors, power management, and signal conditioning. ST’s modular and interoperable IoT development platform spans state-of-the-art semiconductor components, ready-to-use development boards, free software tools, and common application examples.

The ST/Alibaba collaboration assures development efficiency and access to the first Chinese IoT turnkey platform, bringing greater convenience and productivity to developers when creating IoT nodes and to integrators when connecting to the Alibaba Cloud. Customers also get a head-start on time-to-market with AliOS’s pre-validation of all software components on the platform, easing security provisions and field device upgrades.

“By collaborating with Alibaba, we can provide developers in China with the STM32 platform to build IoT nodes running AliOS. This gives customers a head-start to using the combination of AliOS Node-to-Cloud complete vertical solution and the broad portfolio of ST’s IoT technologies that includes sensors, processing, security, connectivity, and power,” said Arnaud Julienne, Vice President, Microcontroller, Memory, and Secure MCU & IoT, Asia Pacific Region, STMicroelectronics.

“Alibaba, a rich and powerful platform for everyone to conduct business, will help different IoT market players, both large and medium/small businesses, to find their customers or vendors. Alibaba is cooperating with ST to build joint solutions from Cloud to Node, to include security in applications, and we definitely believe AliOS and ST chipsets can help customers achieve their targets in the IoT mass-market,” said Ku Wei, general manager of IOT BU of Ali Cloud BG.

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MIPI moves into automotive

By Nick Flaherty at

The MIPI Alliance,has formed an Automotive 'Birds of a Feather' (BoF) Group to get industry input from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers to enhance existing or develop new interface specifications for automotive applications. 

The group is open to both MIPI Alliance member and non-member companies to represent the broader automotive ecosystem.

While MIPI stared out developing interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced industries, cars have become a new platform for innovation, and manufacturers are already using MIPI Alliance specifications as they develop and implement applications for passive and active safety, infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). 

MIPI interfaces such as Camera Serial Interface 2 (MIPI CSI-2), Display Serial Interface (MIPI DSI) and Display Serial Interface 2 (MIPI DSI-2) are used for a variety of low- and high-bandwidth applications that integrate components such as cameras, displays, biometric readers, microphones and accelerometers. MIPI I3C helps automotive systems designers use multiple sensors in a space-constrained form factor. Highly sensitive, mission-critical automotive applications also benefit from MIPI interfaces' low electromagnetic interference (EMI).

However interfaces such as MIPI CSI are designed for short distance links in cell phones up to 30cm, The Automotive BoF Group's initial focus will be to examine how MIPI specifications can potentially be extended to support communication link distances up to 15m, and at the same time support the high data rates associated with cameras and radar sensors for autonomous driving systems.

"Automakers already rely on MIPI Alliance's industry-standard interfaces to enable a wide variety of applications, including collision mitigation and avoidance, infotainment and navigation," said Matt Ronning, chair of the MIPI Alliance Automotive Subgroup and the Automotive BoF. "This call for participation helps ensure we cast a wide net to capture expertise to aid with extending existing and shape future MIPI specifications and collectively help realise the vision of how connected cars and automotive applications will evolve over the next decade. Just as mobile handset manufacturers benefited from the standardisation that MIPI Alliance has provided, automotive OEMs would similarly benefit."

"Active participation of automotive OEMs, tier-one and tier-two suppliers is greatly appreciated and necessary to, for example, work out the data link requirements between surround sensors, electronic control units, actors and displays for driver assistance and autonomous driving projects beyond 2020 and incorporate them into MIPI interface specifications," said Uwe Beutnagel-Buchner, vice chair of the MIPI Alliance Automotive Subgroup and the Automotive BoF.

The MIPI Automotive BoF is seeking additional qualified experts from OEMs, tier-one suppliers, component suppliers and related companies to provide key input into current and future MIPI interface specifications. The Automotive BoF is expected to convene via teleconference on a biweekly basis, with face-to-face meetings planned as necessary.

Companies already participating in MIPI Alliance’s Automotive BoF Group include: Analog Devices; Analogix Semiconductor; BitSim; BMW; Cadence Design Systems; Continental; Etron Technology; Ford; Microchip Technology; Mobileye, an Intel Company; NVIDIA; NXP Semiconductors; ON Semiconductor; Parade Technologies; Qualcomm; Robert Bosch; Sony; STMicroelectronics; Synopsys; TE Connectivity; Tektronix; Teledyne LeCroy; Texas Instruments; Toshiba; Western Digital and others.

To learn more and submit an interest form, visit:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Analog Devices taps imec research for the IoT

By Nick Flaherty at

Analog Devices (ADI) has signed a strategic research partnership with imec in Belgium to develop the next generation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The two already have two programmes underway for low power systems with improved—or completely new—sensing capabilities. 

The IoT continues to grow and mature, and by 2020, it is expected to consist of billions of connected, “smart” objects that rely on unobtrusive sensors to constantly monitor the environment, provide status reports and receive instructions. By intelligently processing the data gathered, these devices then drive some type of short-term or long-term action. Today, however, the underlying sensors, and the chips upon which they are built, are often too big, too expensive and not accurate enough to be practical.

One joint research initiative focuses on localization technology.

“Building on imec’s world-leading position in innovative ultra-low power implementations, ADI and imec will pursue the development of a low-power sensor for highly accurate indoor localization in the context of smart building or smart industry solutions,” said Kathleen Philips, imec program director. “Concretely, we want this sensor to localize objects with a superior accuracy in a robust manner and achieve up to five times better accuracy than today’s best-performing solutions.”

A second initiative includes the creation, and ultimately the commercialization, of a highly-integrated liquid sensor that can be used in a variety of application domains, such as the analysis of water, blood or urine.

“Our single-chip sensor comprises multiple electrodes and excels in terms of cost and size, while demonstrating industry leading sensitivity and accuracy,” she added.

“In ADI we have found a partner that brings to market professional-grade, high-value-add sensor systems. Thanks to ADI’s commercial insights, in combination with its innovative mindset, we can build differentiating technology that meets IoT market requirements today and tomorrow,” added Rudi Cartuyvels, Executive Vice President at imec.

Prototype low-power integrated liquid sensor

Prototype low-power higlhy-accurate indoor localization sensor

The strategic partnership between ADI and imec is part of a broader, open research initiative to which other research partners are also invited to contribute.

Europe's first 5G network goes live with 2Gbit/s, 3ms links

By Nick Flaherty at

For transmitters in Berlin from Deutsche Telekom have gone live with 5G New Radio links.

While these are highlighting connections at 2Gbit/s and carrying live transmissions of ultra-high-definition video, the key factor for embedded network designers is the latency of just 3ms.

To accelerate the development of new applications for 5G, Deutsche Telekom recently launched the Low Latency Prototyping Programs at its hub:raum sites in Berlin and Krakow. The programs are aimed at innovative developers who want to develop products using edge computing, as well as 5G network performance as it emerges. 

The four radio cells in the Deutsche Telekom network are the first in Europe with a live 5G connection in a real world setting. Using pre-standard 5G New Radio (5G NR), the network is achieving throughput of more than two gigabits per second to a single customer device, as well as a latency of three milliseconds on commercial sites in Berlin's Schöneberg district.

Deutsche Telekom is using the 3.7GHz band with Huawei equipment for its implementation in Berlin. The four Huawei antennas are located at three different sites: Winterfeldtstraße (two cells), Martin-Luther-Straße and Pohlstraße.

Arqiva and Samsung are planning to launch a 5G fixed network in London at 28GHz shortly
“5G is getting close to prime time. The successful live transmission over 5G is an important technical contribution to the 5G community for the two companies. Huawei will continue investing in Research & Development and enhance its cooperation with partners to make progress in 5G technology and the development of an industry ecosystem,” said Deng Tai Hua, president of the Huawei Wireless Network Product Line.

"We are demonstrating 5G live here, in the middle of Berlin, rather than in a lab. This is a very decisive developmental step on the way to the global launch of 5G, which is planned for 2020," said Claudia Nemat, Member of the Management Board responsible for Technology & Innovation at Deutsche Telekom. "If everything is connected to everything else, customers need a high-performance, reliable and secure network. Industry in particular will benefit from 5G as a powerful enabler for a wide range of applications. We are ready for 5G."

Deutsche Telekom demonstrated the network's high performance by showcasing some early application ideas that are enhanced by 5G. The augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications benefit from 5G’s high data rates and real-time responses.

The new network architecture and design will also play a significant role as they will be controlled by software, will be programmable and will be managed end-to-end. This creates the enabling platform for the provision of a large number of different services.

5G New Radio, the new 5G air interface, will work in combination with the evolution of 4G/LTE technology using massive MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) antenna elements deployed at both the base station and in the subscriber device, which can increase capacity through a much more efficient use of the frequency spectrum.

"5G New Radio in Berlin is the first major step towards 5G for everybody," said Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn. "As soon as the standard is defined and is available, we will proceed in 2018 to lay the foundation for large-scale build-out. This is how we are driving the technology development in Europe and demonstrate our innovation power.”

The specifications in the Huawei equipment used are following the progress of the global 3GPP specifications for the 5G New Radio standard. It is anticipated that the specifications of the system used will be completed by 3GPP in December 2017.
Deutsche Telekom is piloting the use of 5G for industry at the Port of Hamburg. The aim is to tailor the 5G network to meet the diverse requirements of the port. Traffic control data, reliable traffic light steering and environmental monitoring are the first application scenarios for 5G. This enables the digital transformation of the port to support its future growth.

For more information, see Deutsche Telekom's 5G Special.

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Monday, October 09, 2017

Power news this week - Samsung under fire

By Nick Flaherty

POWER NEWS from eeNews Europe Power Management
. Dialog buys Silego for IoT bid
. Tessera sues Samsung and chip distributors in Europe

. UK sets up £65m battery research institute

. Asphalt holds promise for high capacity, fast charging lithium batteries

. Toshiba doubles driving range of fast charge lithium batteries

. Boosting battery pack production with laser welding and 3D printing

. Thermal gels help cool batteries

. GaN DC-DC converters reach 98% efficiency
. Chip-style DC-DC power with 1% regulation

. Protection against thermal runaway

. Primary protection against overvoltage events
. CUI: Improved Longevity and Performance in DC Fans

SiFive adds linux support to RISC-V CPU cores

By Nick Flaherty at

Open source CPU core designers SiFive have launched the first multi-core for embedded designs that uses the RISC-V architecture and supports the linux operating system.

The quad core U54-MC Coreplex IP is based around the MIPS-like RISC-V open source architecture, which is supported by an ecosystem comprising more than 70 companies and has seen significant growth in the embedded segment. Part of this has come from the uncertainty around the future of the MIPS architecture.
The release of the U54-MC Coreplex marks the architecture's expansion into the application processor space and wider IoT applications such as gateways.
The U54-MC contains four U54 CPUs along with a single E51 CPU, and is the first commercial RISC-V core to include multicore support and cache coherence. Each U54 CPU has a highly efficient five-stage in-order pipeline supporting the RV64GC ISA, which is expected to be the standard for Linux-based RISC-V devices.

The 64-bit E51 CPU serves as a management core and is fully coherent with the main U54 cores. This makes it suited to applications which need full operating system support such as AI, machine learning, networking, gateways and smart IoT devices.
"The ability for RISC-V developers to develop Linux and other Unix-based operating systems on commercial grade silicon will enable the RISC-V software ecosystem to quickly expand beyond embedded systems, and bring new solutions to market," said Rick O'Connor, executive director of the non-profit RISC-V Foundation.

The Coreplex has been taped out as part of SiFive's Freedom Unleashed family of high-performance, customisable RISC-V SoCs. This has the U54 and E51 CPUs running at 1.5 GHz in 28nm technology. Each of the U54 CPUs implement a 32KB Instruction Cache and 32KB Data Cache, and all of the cores share a coherent, 2MB L2 Cache. Customers can license the U54-MC Coreplex in a variety of configurations besides the 4+1 default configuration.

"The U54-MC Coreplex is the first fully Linux-compatible CPU based on RISC-V. It takes the industry one step closer to making custom silicon available to everyone," said Andrew Waterman, co-founder of SiFive. "We continue to be amazed by the support SiFive has received since we launched the industry's first open-source RISC-V SoC last year, and look forward to additional milestones in the coming months."

The U54-MC Coreplex can be accessed at A development board based on U54-MC Coreplex IP will be available in Q1 2018. 

HPC moves into embedded with rugged server designs

By Nick Flaherty at

The Crystal Group is launching a new range of high end rugged liquid-cooled servers for embedded applications.

The Fully Optimized Rugged Computer Equipment (FORCE) combine the latest Intel Xeon Scalable Processors with high-speed networking, enhanced I/O, platform security, and thermal management in a modular, customisable high-performance computing (HPC) system.

Those with long memories may remember Force Computers, bought by Motorola in 2004 from Solectron and then becoming part of Emerson Network Power, now owned by a venture capital firm and renamed Vertiv. 

Crystal's FORCE rugged servers have single or dual Intel Xeon Scalable Processors (Purley/Skylake), each supporting up to 24 cores and 48 PCIe lanes. The Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) ultra-wide vector processing simplifies repetitive tasks. The Platform Controller Hub (PCH) offers 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) ports for high-speed communication, up to 14 SATA 3 ports for expanded storage capacity, and QuickAssist Technology (QAT) for enhanced security, authentication, and compression.

The RS1104, RS2608, and RS3712 Rugged Servers are available now. The newly designed, lightweight chassis come in 1U, 2U, and 3U sizes with 19-, 22-, and 25-inch depths, with a choice of ATX or eATX motherboard, and air- or liquid-cooled thermal management. Front-end configuration options include serial and USB ports, 2.5-inch drives, CMOS battery, pump assembly for liquid cooling, circuit breaker, card reader, USB sound card, sanitize button for security, DVD, and LCD. 

"The Crystal Group FORCE RS1104L22 can dissipate an unprecedented 280 watts of CPU power with its state of the art liquid cooling. It is the world's first and only Xeon Skylake powered server capable of such a feat," said Jim Shaw, Crystal Group Executive Vice President of Engineering.

"The FORCE line comes in direct response to customer requests for faster processing speeds and greater storage capacities in a rugged enclosure with advanced thermal management – optimized for size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C)," said Shaw. "We continue to expand the Crystal Group portfolio of trusted rugged solutions to provide precisely what's needed on today's multi-domain battlefield: robust, rugged, and reliable systems capable of withstanding harsh environments and tackling complex, compute-intensive applications, such as sensor fusion, machine learning and artificial intelligence, autonomy, electronic warfare, and so much more."
Crystal Group is demonstrating 1U, 2U, and 3U air- and liquid-cooled configurations of the RS1104, RS2608, and RS3712 in the US this week. 

The servers meet or exceed IEEE, IEC, and military standards (MIL-STD-810, 167-1, 461, MIL-S-901) and are backed by warranty (5+ year) with in-house support.

Friday, October 06, 2017

TiTAN wants to create an OS for the smart home

By Nick Flaherty at

Korean startup TiTAN has launched a smart platform for the home based around secure content in the US.

The 'TiTAN Core' home hub has unique smart controls that give users unlimited access to their smart devices, says the company, It wants to use this as the basis for an IoT operating system across the home with its TiTAN Content Identifier (TCI) Encryption.

"The time has come for content, platforms, networks and devices to be unified. We will continue to expand our business here in the US and around the world providing smart services that will help users be more connected to their content and smart home devices," said Jae Young Yoon, founder of TiTANplatform. "Backed by our TCI patented encryption technology, we have created a secure ecosystem through which consumers can safely integrate their entire home through one device, and content producers can reach viewers on a highly transactional platform that protects their intellectual property."

TiTAN Play allows content owners to securely upload their IP and have access to consumers through a secure content marketplace. TiTAN Core is a smart home hub device married with a lean-back living room entertainment experience, allowing consumers to manage their connected or smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices and appliances.

"With TiTAN Play and Core, we are creating a new 'OS for the Home' - a unified ecosystem that provides a smarter content experience and device connectivity. Consumers are increasingly buying smart IoT devices to improve their lives, yet few of these devices truly talk with each other," said Adrian Sexton, CEO of TiTAN Platform US. "TiTAN Core's open platform changes that and does it with security being paramount. With TiTAN Play, content creators and studios will be able to monetise their content with a major access point in China - a difficult entry market for YouTube, Netflix, Facebook and Amazon - thanks to our joint venture with China Unicom.."

Content creators will also be able to quickly launch SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) channels by uploading content directly through either the TiTAN Core smart device in their homes or via TiTAN Play on their mobile devices.

The company is currently raising $100 million on top of $32 million raised to date out of Asia.

Surge in processors for tablets

By Nick Flaherty at

After two consecutive years of decline, the global tablet Applications Processor (AP) market returned to growth and registered a 5 percent year-over-year growth to reach $984 million in the first half of this year, according to Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies service report.
The report finds that Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung LSI captured the top-five revenue share rankings in the tablet AP market. Apple as market leader gained share and increased its  revenue share to 37 percent in 1H 2017. Intel and Qualcomm grabbed the number two and three spots with 18 percent revenue share and 16 percent share, respectively in 1H 2017.

“The global tablet AP market continued to show signs of stabilisation from past few quarters with slower year-on-year declines," said Sravan Kundojjala, Associate Director. "Despite this encouraging trend, tablet AP vendors have to contend with a significantly smaller overall market in 1H 2017 compared to two years ago. Strategy Analytics believes that the mature market pushed many of the tablet AP vendors to shift focus from high volume low-cost tablet APs to relatively lower volume but higher value tablet APs. This trend had boosted tablet AP average selling prices (ASPs) in 1H 2017 on a sequential basis.”

Stuart Robinson, Executive Director of the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies service, added, “Strategy Analytics estimates that x86-based tablet AP shipments accounted for 14 percent of total tablet AP shipments 1H 2017, up from 10 percent in 1H 2016. Intel’s focus on Windows tablets paid off. The x86 chip maker Intel retrenched from the low-end Android tablet AP market but capitalised on Windows tablets and gain market share in 1H 2017. Intel is expected to maintain momentum through 2017." 

Aside from Intel, HiSilicon also performed well in the tablet AP market in 1H 2017. HiSilicon’s parent company Huawei increased its tablet shipments in recent quarters and this has helped HiSilicon to build a strong position in the tablet AP market says Robinson.

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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Foghorn raises $30m to boost IoT development

By Nick Flaherty at

FogHorn Systems has raised $30m in its second round of funding to expand its engineering teams in California and Pune, India that are working on Industrial IoT (IIoT) edge computing.

FogHorn recently launched Lightning ML with machine learning at the network edge. This uses FogHorn’s pioneering CEP (complex event processing)-driven edge analytics software that was launched in 2016 to allow industrial customers to train and execute machine learning algorithms on streaming sensor data at the source of the data.
Intel Capital and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures led the round, with new investor Honeywell Ventures and all previous investors participating, including Series A investors March Capital Partners, GE Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Yokogawa Electric Corporation, Darling Ventures and seed investor The Hive. 

This new round brings FogHorn’s total funding to $47.5 million. “This major round of funding by many of the world’s largest and most innovative technology and industrial companies will enable FogHorn to continue its drive for industry-first innovation in the IIoT market segment,” said David King, CEO of FogHorn. “We have seen unprecedented interest from customers and partners in a huge variety of industries for advanced condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, asset performance management and process optimisation solutions.”

“Both the promise and challenge of IIoT lie in the ability to convert sensor data to actionable insights that improve customers’ operating efficiency and generate new sources of business value,” said Jonathan Ballon, Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s IoT Group. “As we’ve watched FogHorn’s progress with both leading IIoT solutions providers and major industrial end customers, we believe their edge analytics and machine learning technology will be a critical factor in enabling those operating efficiencies and delivering that business value.”

“For the oil and gas industry, harnessing IIoT insights will produce significant operating savings and spur major process improvements,” said Cory Steffek, Managing Director North America of Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV). “We believe innovators like FogHorn will lead the way in redefining IIoT edge computing to deliver real-time analytics and machine learning value across our entire business — upstream, midstream and downstream.”

With more than 20 billion IoT-connected devices expected by 2020, according to Gartner’s latest projections, GE estimates that the industrial internet market segment will grow to $225 billion in that timeframe. This will require solving the fundamental computing challenge of generating actionable insights from all the real-time streaming data constantly being emitted by the profusion of physical, video/audio and other edge sensors deployed in any industrial environment — whether in manufacturing, energy, resources, transportation, smart cities or smart buildings — without the transport and hosting costs, cybersecurity risk and operational latency associated with sending all that operations technology data across a network to a public/private cloud or remote data centre.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Intel widens security for automated IoT rollout

By Nick Flaherty at

Intel has launched technology that securely automates and brings IoT devices online within seconds rather than hours. The Secure Device Onboard (SDO) uses the Wind River Helix technology to provide a service for IoT developers to rollout thousands of connected devices.

Provisioning and management of devices is a huge challenge, as IoT devices are added manually. It involves coordination between installation technicians, IT network operations, and operational technology teams and can typically take more than 20 minutes for a single device. At present, it could take two years to install 10,00 smart lightbulbs. This is to say nothing of the effort required to maintain device privacy and security.

Intel SDO’s “zero touch” model allows devices to dynamically discover the customer’s IoT platform account at power-on for automatic registration. It offers a one-to-many, one-time enablement solution that can be integrated into almost any device or IoT platform, thereby eliminating the need to custom pre-load provisioning configurations for each IoT implementation.

The SDO also uses Intel’s Enhanced Privacy ID (EPID), to anonymously authenticate the device and establish an encrypted communication tunnel, thereby preventing hackers from tracing the device from factory to owner. EPID establishes a best practice identity model for IoT onboarding and is a proven method with over 2.7 billion keys distributed in Intel and non-Intel MCU processors since 2008.

Intel has expanded the availability of Intel SDO across the IoT ecosystem. Other silicon providers such as Infineon, Microchip and Cypress Semiconductor will embed the EPID identity capability in their hardware. Cloud service platform and device management software providers like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Intel’s Wind River Helix Device Cloud intend to provide integration to support Intel SDO’s zero touch model.

Intel SDO is now integrated with Wind River Helix Device Cloud, its device lifecycle management platform that enables IoT devices to securely connect, monitor, manage and service devices. With the integration of Intel SDO, Wind River’s latest release of Device Cloud includes zero touch roll out designed to mitigate the risk of security attacks to a device, ensure privacy and deliver automation that dramatically reduces installation time to mere seconds, among other new features and capabilities.

Weatherford, a leading oil and gas services company, was part of the Intel SDO pilot program. The company wanted to pull data from existing controllers and install new wireless sensors through a gateway to the cloud to drive oil and gas insights. By adopting the SDO and Wind River’s Device Cloud, Weatherford can reach 290,000 wells, representing 870,000 sensor data points and nearly 10,000 IoT gateways around the world.

Intel Secure Device Onboard page

SMT module for 26GHz pioneer 5G wireless

By Nick Flaherty at

Plextek RFI in Cambridge has developed a surface mount multi-chip module (MCM) for the recently-designated European ‘Pioneer Band’ for millimetre-wave (mmWave) 5G around 26GHz. The development of the Front-End Module (FEM) was carried out in collaboration with Filtronic Broadband.

“The band 24.25 to 27.5GHz was designated at the end of last year by the EU Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) as the preferred band, or ‘Pioneer Band’, for mmWave 5G,” said Liam Devlin, CEO of Plextek RFI. “We welcome the opening up of this spectrum band for 5G, but we identified early on that there was a lack of components available at this frequency, and that led us to define this joint FEM development project.”

The FEM comprises a GaAs low-noise amplifier (LNA), power amplifier (PA) and transmit/receive switch housed in a custom laminate surface-mount (SMT) package measuring 10mm x 10mm. The receive path gain is 20dB across the full band, with a noise figure of 3.5dB. Transmit path gain is 19dB, and the output referred third order intermodulation (IP3) is +36dBm. Low-loss RF filtering has been integrated into the package structure, with a band-pass filter after the LNA and a harmonic rejection filter after the PA. Insertion loss figures are 0.7dB for the band-pass filter and 0.2dB for the harmonic rejection filter.

“This development has demonstrated that we can overcome the manufacturing challenges of integrating filters along with multiple die into an SMT package,” said Mike Weaver, managing director of Filtronic Broadband. “This is not easy at mmWave frequencies, and will give us a crucial head start towards eventual production when the market demand for 5G components at 26GHz begins to ramp up.”

Embedded barebone box for IoT gateways

By Nick Flaherty at

Advantech has launched a thin bare-bone fanless system with Intel's Celeron N3160/N3060 or Atom x5-E8000 processors.

Designed with Advantech 3.5” PCM-9310 Single Board Computer, the EPC-S101 provides several I/O ports and Advantech's IoT software for remote devices management, and flexible mounting methods ready for use in various industrial and commercial application fields.

THe EPC-S101 measures only 188 x 39 x 150 mm, and is less than 1U in height. The fanless system provides 6 USB ports, 4 COM ports (RS-232/422/485), 2 GB Ethernet ports, 1 HDMI, 1 VGA, an 8-bit digital I/O port, an audio jack w/ mic in, and a line out port. It has reserved spaces for a 2.5” SATA SSD with SATA power, mSATA, and a full-size mini-PCIe with SIM holder for multiple expansion. 

For flexibility the box supports wall mount, VESA mount, and din rail mounting to cope with different application scenarios. With its reduced system size, multiple IO ports, and flexible mounting methods, the box is suitable for retail, commercial kiosk, and signage applications, environmental monitoring, and HMI device implementation.

The WISE-PaaS/RMM provides centralised management including HW/SW status monitoring, remote control, and system backup/recovery. It supports server redundancy and hierarchical server management, which increases service reliability and availability. WISE-PaaS/RMM uses standard IoT protocols such as MQTT to communicate with IPCs and IoT gateways and sensors. It provides a WISE Agent framework for data acquisition from devices, as well as the RESTful API web service, which allows the user to integrate RMM functions with other applications or for further customisation. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

STMicroelectronics teams with Objenious to speed up IoT nodes development for LoRa networks

By Nick Flaherty at

STMicroelectronics has teamed up with french LPWAN network provider Objenious to accelerate the connection of Internet-of-Things (IoT) nodes to LoRa networks. ST’s development kits are certified on the Objenious LoRa network to reduce R&D effort and time to market.
LoRa especially suits applications where nodes have limited power capability, can be difficult to access, and data transfers don’t require high bandwidth. Industry analysts estimate there will be tens of billions of connected devices deployed in the world by 2020.

Objenious launched and operates the first LoRa network in France, with more than 4,200 antennas deployed around the country. Using network expertise inherited from Bouygues Telecom, Objenious now proposes its LoRa network, platform, and services for LPWAN IoT to partners and customers locally and internationally thanks to roaming agreements.

ST helps developers by providing tools and software libraries that aid the STM32 MCU-based embedded design as part of its freely available STM32 Open Development Environment (ODE). By integrating Objenious’ network access software on top of the STM32 ODE, developing connected devices is even easier.

“The collaboration of STMicroelectronics and Objenious offers customers an opportunity to easily and quickly develop LPWAN-connected objects for the Objenious network, accelerating the business and the development of the IoT,” said Stéphane Allaire, CEO of Objenious.

“Offering STM32-based LoRa-enabled kits that are already certified on the Objenious network is a valuable asset for developers as it hurdles a major challenge in their efforts to create new LoRa devices,” said Thierry Tingaud, West Europe Sales, and President of STMicroelectronics France. “In addition to pre-integrating the software development kit, the Objenious-LoRa-enabled STM32-based solution is ready to use on a live network, greatly reducing R&D effort and time to market.”

The STM32 Nucleo LoRa kits are now certified and available to developers.

Related stories:

Monday, October 02, 2017

Power news this week

By Nick Flaherty at

POWER NEWS from eeNews Europe

. Team attacks ARM TrustZone via power management software

. Dyson invests £2bn in electric car and battery development

. ABB buys GE's industrial division for $2.6bn

. Power management chip cuts inductor size by ten

. Thermoelectric wristband for personal temperature control

. New structure boosts SiC MOSFET efficiency

. 300mA LDO regulator for the IoT combines low quiescent bias current with high ripple rejection

. Versatile DC-DC power IC only draws 0.5mW in standby

. 80V MOSFETs save space with dual-device package

. Primary protection against overvoltage events

. CUI: Improved Longevity and Performance in DC Fans

. Interference free cabling

LoRaWAN certified sensor node for LPWA IoT applications

By Nick Flaherty at

Advantech has launched a an IoT LoRaWAN certified sensor node with an integrated Arm Cortex-M4 processor and LoRa transceiver.

The WISE-1510 provides multi-interfaces for sensors and I/O control such as UART, I2C, SPI, GPIO, PWM, and ADC.
The sensor node is ideal for smart cities, agriculture, metering, street lighting and environment monitoring. With power consumption optimisation and wide area coverage, LoRa sensors or applications with low data rate requirements can achieve years of battery life and kilometers of long distance connection.

The WISE-1510 is flexible enough to support either public LoRaWAN networks or private LoRa eco-systems and has LoRaWAN certification from the LoRa Alliance .

Depending on deployment requirements, developers can select to use Public LoRaWAN network services or build a private LoRa system using WISE-3 610 LoRa IoT gateway. This is a Qualcomm Arm Cortex A7 based hardware platform with private LoRa ecosystem solution that can connect up to 500 WISE-1510 sensor node devices. It uses Advantech’s WISE-PaaS IoT Software Platform to provide automatic cloud connection through its WISE-PaaS/WISE Agent service, manages wireless nodes and data via WSN management APIs, and helps customers streamline their IoT data acquisition development through sensor service APIs, and WSN drivers.

Developers can use the processors on WISE-1510 to build their own applications through the ARM Mbed OS and SDK for easy development with APIs and related documents. Developers can also find extensive resources from Github such as code review, library integration, and free core tools. The WISE-1510 also has worldwide certification which allow developers to leverage their IoT devices anywhere. 

Using the WISE-3 610 LoRa IoT Gateway, WISE-1510 can be connected to WISE- PaaS/RMM or Arm Mbed Cloud service with IoT communication protocols including LWM2M, CoAP, and MQTT. End-to-end integration assists system integrators to overcome complex challenges and helps them build IoT applications quickly and easily.

Related stories:

Expandable embedded PC boxes with Kabylake and Xeon processors

By Nick Flaherty at

Acnodes in the US has launched a series of expandable embedded box PCs with 7th/6th Gen Intel Xeon & Core i processor. 

Both the box PCs include a 4th generation PCI/PCIe expansion slot and 110-230V AC power input with wide range of working temperature from -20~55°C.

The FES7470 provides different Core i7 processors to choose from. There are Kabylake options on Core i7-7700T or Core i7-7500T and these are only compatible with Windows 10. However, if users want to stay with Windows 7, there are Skylake options with the Core i7-6700TE and Core i7-6500TE. The chassis porvies 3-slot PCI, 1-slot PCIe x16 Expansion, 5 USB3.0, 4 COM, and swappable HDD box, 250W AC power supply voltage.

The FES7471 offers higher performance Intel Xeon E3 processor in a chassis with 1-slot PCIe x1, 2-slot PCIe x4, 1-slot PCIe x16 Expansion, 5 USB 3.0, 4 COM, swappable HDD box and 250W AC power supply voltage. The two SATA 3.0 (600 MB/sec) slots also support RAID 0/1.

The two chassis weigh 11.48lbs (5kg) with dimension of 7.34 x 9.31 x 9.54" with tests reports for MIL-STD-810G military standard on vibration shock. These two models also support power input of 110-230V AC with 4PCI/PCIe expansion slot. Moreover, FES7470 and FES7471 also feature in 4COM, 2GbE, 5 USB 3.0.

First Sigfox cellular hybrid IoT chip

By Nick Flaherty at

GCT Semiconductor has developed the first single chip that will support both LTE Category M1/NB1/EC-GSM and the Sigfox wireless low power wide area technology.
The development highlights the need for hybrid solutions that can operate with either network, particularly for tracking applications that may not always be in range of a Sigfox network, especially if the node breaches a goefencing application (by going outside the network).

Several OEM customers are designing solutions using GCT’s GDM7243I SoC to develop various IoT devices for applications such as tracking, wearables, security, agriculture, healthcare, industrial, and consumer applications.

The hybrid device enables ultra-long battery life tracking devices to connect using the Sigfox wireless IoT network for several years without the need for frequent battery re-charging.

“We’re pleased to be working closely with Sigfox to bring this unique capability to market and support ultra-long battery life and global coverage for our IoT customers,” says John Schlaefer, CEO of GCT Semiconductor, Inc. “Adding the hybrid mode Cellular connectivity + Sigfox to GCT’s GDM7243I further enhances our leadership position by enabling IoT devices to connect to the global Sigfox network during typical operation and switch to LTE Cat M1, NB1, or EC-GSM networks on-demand.”

“Telefonica announced its support for Sigfox wireless IoT connectivity as complementary to our cellular networks, at MWC in February 2017,” saidAndres Escribano, New IoT Connectivity Director of Telefonica, “The GDM7243I with hybrid mode Sigfox and Cellular connectivity is an innovative solution that aligns with our partnership with Sigfox and will enable innovative devices and novel usage models to accelerate the growth of the IoT market”.

“GCT provides a single chip innovative solution that further proves that Sigfox and Cellular (LTE Cat M1/NB1/EC-GSM) are complementary technologies by leveraging the best of both worlds – ultra-long battery life using Sigfox and high throughput cellular connectivity. We look forward to a successful launch of the GDM7243I by Sigfox operators and mobile network operators worldwide,” says Ludovic Le Moan, CEO of Sigfox.

Hybrid devices can connect to the Sigfox wireless IoT network and operate in low-power mode to send and receive notifications-only. The Sigfox network can also provide backup connectivity to hybrid devices in case of cellular network coverage limitations, congestion, breakdown, or jamming of security/alarm systems. Hybrid devices enhance device security by providing the ability to globally locate and deactivate stolen phones, and provide emergency alert and beacon capabilities.

Related stories:

Top stories in September on the Embedded blog

By Nick Flaherty at

Low power networks for the Internet of Things are a strong theme for September, with a great piece fro, an analyst on the opportunities for LPWAN. It looks at the different technologies being used by different operators and the opportunities from going with other, less mainstream, options.

The Embedded blog has highlighted the move from standalone developments for the IoT to an end-to-end solution that is linked to particular cloud operators. This is at the heart of the Silicon Labs deal to team up with Microsoft for the Azure cloud service, integrating the APIs into the software development kit.

Interestingly there is also growing interest in quantum sensor technologies. The growth of the market is perhaps not as fast as might be expected (although I would probably quibble with the estimates are rather low) but the fact the market is there at all is is news to a lot of engineers. Quantum technology is advancing quickly, moving from the research lab to commercialisation in areas such as Bristol.

It was also gratifying to see the interest in the detail of the latest Sparc chip. This was a dominant architecture a decade ago with Sun Microsystems, and is now the bedrock of Oracle's server business.

One of the other themes for the Embedded blog was also strong in September, with blockchain secure ledger technology being used to secure components throughout the supply chain. This is a demonstrator for defence contractors but could be used to provide a reliable supply chain and tackle counterfeit devices in many different areas of the production of embedded designs.