Introducing mbed Cloud services for the Internet of Things

November 21, 2016

ARM’s mbed Cloud Internet of Things Device Platform is a cloud computing software-as-a-service solution for the Internet of Things, which aims to offer a scalable and customisable solution for IoT device management challenges, providing all the tools you need for large-scale cloud-based IoT solutions at your fingertips.

It aims to help you focus your efforts on building your IoT-enabled business instead of building networks, and to accelerate the time to market for IoT products and services.

The mbed Cloud platform aims to bring IoT connectivity, security and firmware update needs together under one roof, simplifying the connectivity, provisioning, security and updates for any IoT installation, big or small, across complex networks.

It’s a complete chip-to-cloud service built for IoT applications, a full-stack solution that extends the reach of the cloud all the way down to each end-node IoT device. Using the mbed platform means you don’t need to be an expert in every aspect of IoT security, networking stacks and wireless technologies before you can see benefits from cloud-connected IoT solutions.

Developers can take advantage of the extensive ecosystems and user communities around the ARM and mbed product families, helping save you months of development work.

Furthermore, the mbed Cloud platform is tightly integrated for use with the mbed OS platform that has been developed for IoT devices running on ARM’s Cortex-M microcontroller family.

Although the use of these components is not mandatory for use of the mbed Cloud platform, choosing the mbed OS running on a Cortex-M microcontroller does potentially offer a lot of synergy in terms of an energy-efficient, bandwidth-efficient, compact, powerful and fast-to-market full-stack IoT solution from your device to the cloud.

The mbed Cloud platform offers reliable communication and data delivery based around open industry standards, and support for a wide array of embedded platforms. In particular – the mbed Cloud offers strong energy efficiency and support for low-power devices, as well as support for bandwidth-constrained devices employing efficient communication protocols such as CoAP.

Furthermore, the mbed Cloud Portal and Cloud Connect service provide powerful, secure and power-efficient device management services, built to support a diverse range of devices.

You can easily connect your devices and recognise them in any network, and then securely connect, provision and manage your devices with cloud computing services from a range of providers.

The mbed Cloud and mbed Cloud Client can integrate easily with other cloud computing services, providing analytics and Big Data intelligence capabilities with the data collected from IoT devices. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Watson and IBM Bluemix are all supported for connectivity with mbed Cloud, for example.

The service is built to support large-scale deployments of IoT device nodes, even when these devices are resource-constrained, using unique caching mechanisms that enable brief bursts of data transmission, helping to minimise power use in wireless devices. The service is uniquely optimised for efficiency, regardless of device type, and offers easy expansion as new technologies energy.

It’s a highly scalable and future-proof IoT cloud solution that allows an organisation to track, maintain and update an ever-growing number of devices. A modular approach allows enterprises to configure the mbed Cloud platform and tailor the service as your IoT networks and needs grow and evolve.

And device management is no longer an afterthought – the mbed Cloud platform offers efficient and secure remote management for your IoT devices, including firmware management and fail-safe updates across all devices in a network.

Cloud Update allows you to roll out easy, secure, reliable and scalable software updates, with end-to-end orchestration to enable you to manage and monitor the update process across large networks. Plus, the Cloud Update provides security for firmware updates, allows authenticity to be verified, and maintains integrity and confidentiality of your firmware.

All this provides fail-safe protection against inappropriate accidental updates, and recovery features that allow devices to recover from failed or corrupted firmware updates.

The platform is designed to allow easy integration, independent of the vendor of your IoT devices. The use of simple REST APIs helps simplify integration, and accelerates proof-of-concept prototype projects.

This helps you achieve faster scaling of your IoT deployments, increased productivity and reduced time-to-market by enabling developers to work with any device. A range of open, industry-standard protocols for data connectivity are supported by the mbed Cloud platform, including CoAP, HTTP and OMA LWM2M (Open Mobile Alliance Lightweight M2M).

Internet of Things devices communicate via REST APIs, via the cloud platform, to your enterprise software and web apps. Solid end-to-end security is provided, including TLS and DTLS security support for the transport layer.

Cloud Provisioning is one key component of the mbed Cloud platform, providing trusted device authentication, on-boarding of new devices into the network, and service provisioning. You can set up devices with security credentials, and assign and control the rights that different apps must access IoT devices in the network.

The Cloud Provision feature lets you manage which different trusted parties or applications can access data from sensors and devices, bolstering security across the full IoT stack from the chip to the cloud.

Overall the mbed cloud platform is one of a seemingly infinite number of options for your existing or new Internet of Things platform. Making the right choice for your needs can be daunting, so consider turning to the experts in the field – the LX Group.

We’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.


Increase IoT device security with the Microchip ATECC508A

November 8, 2016

In the last few weeks the technology news spotlight has been turned towards the Internet of Things, thanks to recent breaches of security – botnet attacks and the like. This should be a powerful reminder to all in the industry that security can no longer be considered optional, or an after-thought.

One solution to increasing data security in Internet of Things devices is with Microchip’s new ATECC508A security co-processor – a small device which can be pre-loaded with cryptographic keys, keeping these keys securely stored within your embedded and IoT devices.

The ATECC508A can also function as a cryptographic co-processor, executing strong cryptographic algorithms without burdening the resources of the host microprocessor or microcontroller. It is well-suited for use in networked IoT devices in security-conscious applications – markets such as industrial control or SCADA networks, medical devices, utility metering and home automation.

Furthermore, the ATECC508A features a high-quality random number generator, entropy and seed sources, internal generation of secure unique keys and the ability to seamlessly accommodate various different kinds of provisioning workflows – where your product is initially set up with secure keys, in the most cost-effective manner depending on manufacturing volume.

These devices are compact, very low in cost, and require very little additional hardware integrated into your design. As with other CryptoAuthentication devices, the ATECCC508A delivers extremely low-power consumption, requires only one or two host microcontroller pins, operates over a wide voltage range – and has a tiny form factor, making it ideal for a variety of IoT applications that require longer battery life and compact form factors.

This slightly increased hardware cost may be easily compensated for by the reduced need for computational resources on the main microcontroller. The ATECCC508A device is compatible with any microprocessor or microcontroller including Atmel SMART and Atmel AVR devices.

The device provides secure hardware-based key storage based around elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC), and provides secure digital signature and mutual authentication capability through the use of Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) techniques.

Secure key agreement, through Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman technology, is also provided. The combination of ECDH and ECDSA makes the ATECC508A a powerful security and cryptography platform that effectively provides three pillars of information security – confidentiality, data integrity, and authentication – when used with microcontroller systems that would otherwise be dependent on cryptographic algorithms such as AES running in their software.

Atmel/Microchip’s CryptoAuthentication portfolio now includes two series of devices offering advanced Elliptic-Curve Cryptography capabilities. Because the new ATECC508A has ECDH and ECDSA built-in, it enables design engineers to provide a high assurance of confidentiality, data integrity and authentication in today’s connected IoT devices.

The ATECC508A safeguards private keys, certificates and other sensitive security data to ensure authentication and protection against security threats such as physical tampering, cloning, RF and power analysis attacks. The compact device is integrated into your hardware alongside the host microprocessor, and it interfaces to the host over an I2C bus.

The chip features strong resistance against environmental and physical tampering, providing countermeasures against advanced intrusion techniques.

This security co-processor also simplifies the mutual authentication needed to connect networks of IoT devices to cloud ecosystems such as Amazon Web Services IoT, and it eliminates the complexity associated with software-centric security implementations.

Moving away from relatively complex, computing-intensive and less secure software-based security solutions does not come at a high cost, though. The device also provides dedicated hardware for cryptographic acceleration, so it can offload mathematically-intensive strong cryptology from the main microprocessor or microcontroller in the system, saving CPU resources.

This is particularly valuable in connected IoT devices employing low-power, low-cost microcontrollers, as it allows strong security capabilities to be maintained without the cost and power consumption of a more powerful processor.

To make prototyping and designing easier, Microchip provides the Zero Touch Secure Provisioning Kit for Amazon Web Services IoT. This kit allows you to seamlessly connect to the AWS IoT platform while maintaining strong security – complying with the AWS mutual authentication security model.

In an AWS-connected IoT installation, the host microprocessor runs an AWS Software Development Kit that integrates support for the ATECC508A, so the device – and the private keys and certificates that it stores – is automatically recognised by AWS IoT, and when the device connects to AWS mutual authentication and key provisioning is carried out automatically. This allows highly secure IoT node-to-cloud environments to be easily and quickly deployed, even with smaller-scale installations.

Thanks to Microchip’s new ATECC508A, an increased and useful level of security can be incorporated in your Internet-of-Things device. And here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.


Espressif ESP32 – driving down the cost of the Internet of Things

October 18, 2016

The recently-finalised ESP32 is Espressif’s successor to the popular ESP8266 wireless connectivity system-on-chip – taking the low-cost connected platform even further with a new combination Wi-Fi and Bluetooth SoC.

The ESP32 offers powerful processing capability, flexible wireless connectivity, and strong support for sensor and peripheral interfaces, while maintaining low power consumption and efficient sleep modes that make it well suited for battery-powered applications.

These features, along with its low cost, make the ESP32 particularly attractive for mobile devices, wearable electronics and Internet-of-Things technologies.

Interfacing the ESP32 with other microcontrollers in an existing design is possible, adding on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth wireless connectivity in a peripheral way, through its UART, I2C, SPI or SDIO interfaces – but if you want to start from scratch with a new design the power of the ESP32 really comes into its own as a standalone wireless connectivity and processing platform. It provides almost everything you need for a complete Internet-of-Things application in one low-cost, compact chip.

The ESP32 uses a similar Xtensa LX6 32-bit CPU to the ESP8266, but has moved up to two processor cores, each of which can run at up to 240 MHz. The platform includes 128kB of ROM and 520kB of SRAM, and support for external Flash memory up to 64Mb in size, for program and data storage.

The device has 36 GPIO pins, and the use of a crossbar matrix means that any GPIOs, serial interfaces, timers and ADCs can be assigned to whichever pins you need. 16 channels of 12-bit ADC inputs are included, along with a programmable internal voltage reference – a huge step up from the limited resolution of the single ADC input pin on the ESP8266.

Up to 16 PWM output pins are provided, along with two 8-bit true DAC outputs, and two I2S interfaces which can be used for digital audio output into an external DAC, for example in an embedded internet radio application.

Multiple SPI and I2C ports are also provided, along with analog preamplifiers, a Hall-effect sensor, a temperature sensor, capacitive touch keypad inputs, and a JTAG interface that can be used for debugging with OpenOCD.

As well as 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz WiFi, the ESP32 radio architecture also includes Bluetooth 4.2 support, both Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Low Energy, making it an extremely versatile, flexible platform for many wireless connectivity and Internet-of-Things applications.

The RF stage includes its RF switches, baluns, power amplifier, LNA and filters all integrated on the IC, meaning that almost no external components are required for wireless connectivity. This keeps physical size of the layout down, reduces BOM cost, makes it easier to use pre-certified radio modules incorporating the ESP32 chip and antenna connector, and reduces the amount of specialist RF expertise you need to successfully incorporate the ESP32 into your design.

Hardware accelerators for AES and SSL/TLS are also provided, allowing strong security to be easily implemented in Internet-of-Things applications without burdening the processors with the cryptography required.

These SDKs and software tools continue to be under active development, with more bug fixes and enhancements every day, and even though things are very immature at this stage, this development is occurring openly, where feedback from users and other developers is encouraged.

Just as we’ve seen with the ESP8266, we are likely to see the development of many community-driven open source software tools to support the ESP32, such as an ESP32-ready port of the NodeMCU Lua interpreter and support in the Arduino IDE for programming the ESP32, using the popular and easy-to-learn Arduino language. (This open-source ESP32 extension for the Arduino development environment is already under active development.)

Many of the system, GPIO and wireless networking function calls in the ESP32 SDK are fully compatible with the ESP8266 API, so it’s likely that many of these software tools will be ported across in the near future without too much difficulty.

Following the success of the ESP8266, Espressif has greatly enhanced its community engagement around the ESP32, putting much more effort into open support, comprehensive documentation, English-language datasheets and manuals – and engagement with the smaller-scale independent and “maker” communities of users. This also helps developers in the professional sphere as well.

Espressif provides the new ESP32 Software Development Kit, which they call the ESP32 “IoT Development Framework” (IDF) to distinguish it from previous SDKs, along with a suite of examples and documentation to allow users to easily get started with ESP32 software development. These resources include libraries, source files, example code, development toolchains, and everything else you need to get up and running.

With the possibility of such as low-cost and powerful microcontroller, you can imagine how excited the market is to receive the ESP32. And here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.


Data buses simplified with the new I3C specification

October 7, 2016

The relatively new I3C specification, an extension of the popular Inter-Integrated-Circuit (I2C) serial bus for embedded systems, is actively under development and has recently reached the draft stage – with details available to the members of the MIPI Alliance for development and review.

I3C is being developed by the MIPI (Mobile Industry Processor Interface) Alliance, and it is specifically aimed at addressing future-proof interconnect needs in embedded mobile, Internet-of-Things and wearable computing devices that incorporate ever-greater numbers of advanced sensors and peripheral devices.

The MIPI I3C specification combines features from I2C and SPI into a new unified standard and scalable interface to connect many devices in embedded systems together – with minimal pin use, new capabilities, and improvements in power management and data rate.

The MIPI Sensor Working Group, consisting of many major system design and ASIC vendors, has been jointly defining the I3C specification, with the goal to re-use existing interfaces as much as possible while reducing pin count, providing in-band interrupts, reducing power use and engineering cost, as well as increasing bandwidth.

I3C builds new features onto the mature I2C standard such as a new high-data-rate mode which can support lots of data from sensors or other peripheral device – along with better support for relatively large networks of many devices connected to a host microcontroller.

Furthermore, I3C can compete with higher-bandwidth embedded serial interfaces like SPI, but still use only two wires like I2C does. The I3C standard is backwards compatible with I2C, so legacy devices with I2C interfaces can connect to the I3C bus, however new hardware (both on the peripheral and on the host controller side) is needed to take full advantage of the bandwidth and other benefits that I3C provides.

I3C offers higher speeds, greater power efficiency, reduced pin count compared to multi-device SPI networks, and support for relatively large sensor suites connected to a host microcontroller using only two wires but carrying ever-greater amounts of rich sensor data in wireless sensor network and IoT applications.

I3C was developed by MIPI’s Sensor Working Group as a potential way to unify the serial bus landscape with a single, consistent interface that can handle any kind of device, allowing all kinds of sensors to be very easily integrated into embedded systems.

It aims to combine the simplicity and the low wire count of I2C with the high speed and power efficiency of SPI, to merge both these popular

standards together, and to add powerful new features such as in-band interrupt support with no need for extra interrupt wires, advanced power management and dynamic addressing of the different ICs on the bus. And I3C does all of this while largely maintaining backwards compatibility with existing I2C devices.

A typical smartphone today may contain up to a dozen sensors, and the widespread adoption and cost reduction of technologies like MEMS means that these sensors are producing much more complex, rich data.

Moving all this data back to the central controller is stretching the capabilities of today’s familiar interfaces such as SPI or I2C, and this is the problem that I3C is primarily designed to address. I3C aims to incorporate and unify key attributes of I2C and SPI while improving the capabilities and performance of each approach with a comprehensive, scalable interface and architecture.

A typical system in use today may use a combination of I2C and SPI devices, with three wires for SPI, two wires for I2C, one further wire for each SPI device select line, plus an interrupt line for each peripheral device.

This complexity adds up quickly with modern sensor suites, and I3C aims to replace a dozen or more wires with just two wires, providing in-band interrupt capability without any need for dedicated interrupt lines wired back to the host device, reducing fragmentation between these different standards in the device market, freeing up pins on the host device, simplifying PCB engineering and making devices smaller, as well as offering speeds of up to 27 megabits per second.

I3C also includes multi-master support – this means it provides the ability for devices on the bus to request to take the master role, so the bus architecture is not limited to one single fixed master device and a number of slave devices.

Devices can be both master and slave, and direct “peer-to-peer” communication between I3C devices on the bus is possible without the master device needing to be involved in this exchange. I3C also introduces dynamic addressing, hot-joining and a uniform approach for advanced power management features such as sleep modes.

Devices on the bus can be powered on and off, and they don’t have to be activated when the I3C bus is powered up. They can be added onto the bus later, or connected initially but not powered on, without any issues with loading down the bus.

This hot-joining capability, like with USB devices, allows the master device to assign a dynamic address to the slave device when it comes up on the bus, and has advantages for power efficiency when sensor and peripheral devices are turned off and on to save power, as well as allowing for removable, hot-swappable modules.

Dynamic address configuration means that the master device on the bus assigns each device a unique address, either when the bus is initialised or when a new device is connected to an already-configured I3C bus. Like the now-ubiquitous dynamic host configuration in IP networks, this automatic address configuration potentially makes it much easier to set up I3C hardware, removing conflicts between hardware devices with fixed addresses.

We look forward to the evolution that is the I3C data bus, and how it can be part of efficient Internet of Things devices. And if you are too, here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success.

We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.


ExtremeConnect IoT platform for global M2M solutions

September 27, 2016

Over the last few months, the increasing number of Internet of Things platforms is a sure sign that the IoT is here to stay, and the latest to enter the market is the ExtremeConnect IoT platform.

This is a robust, secure and cost-effective solution for worldwide machine-to-machine and Internet-of-Things data connectivity. The ExtremeConnect suite enables you to centrally manage and provision your entire network of global M2M/IoT deployments and customers from one convenient point, using ExtremeConnect cloud-based control centre.

This platform provides you with everything you need to easily and quickly deploy, manage, and monetise IoT & M2M services with seamless international mobile connectivity.

With ExtremeConnect, managing and monitoring your wireless connectivity has never been easier. It provides complete visibility, control, and management of all your devices – making it easy to provision, manage and monitor your networks of connected M2M or IoT devices.

Real-time visibility of device activity and usage, the ability to monitor and control inventory, and a plethora of other actionable features make ExtremeConnect an indispensable tool for IoT connectivity businesses wanting total control of their devices.

ExtremeConnect is designed to be particularly synergistic with cellular mobile connectivity, and ready for global deployments around the world. Service agreements between ExtremeConnect and Tier 1 mobile network operators around the world complete the ExtremeConnect IoT network and platform – ensuring that your M2M and IoT applications are always online, always connected, with seamless integration and functionality under one roof – with one provided to deal with.

Users can easily manage your data plans online, track, manage and activate SIMs, provision new devices, and keep close control across the entire SIM and device life cycle.

Instead of setting up relationships and accounts with multiple mobile operators across the world, ExtremeConnect provides you with a one-stop shop for management of your global, seamless IoT connectivity.

With ExtremeConnect, managing and monitoring your mobile IoT devices is easy, and the system is highly scalable so a huge number of devices can be supported. You can centrally manage and control your entire fleet of M2M/IoT devices or customer deployments from a single, secure web-based portal on any PC, mobile device or tablet.

This dashboard provides a comprehensive, graphical overview of all the IoT assets that you’re managing – potentially worldwide. Despite being highly data-rich, this dashboard is highly intuitive and easy to use, and enables you to quickly access the most important information that you need.

From SIM management and device management to alerts, reporting, support and billing, the ExtremeConnect platform offers the ability to intelligently control the elements that affect your bottom line, adding business value to your mobile IoT deployments and services, improving customer experiences as well as making your job easier.

Furthermore, the system ensures a seamless transition from local to regional to global connectivity – all from a single platform, all without the user having to change accounts, reconfigure devices or anything else.

End user customers can manage all their IoT devices dispersed around the world, with multiple different mobile carriers, from a single platform. As well as providing management and provisioning from a central cloud-based platform, the platform also offers the ability to connect customer devices with the right mobile carriers that provide the best available network coverage and pricing in a given region.

An entire fleet of M2M devices can be monitored and managed from a single point, connectivity failures can easily be diagnosed – and you can seamlessly manage bulk operations, such as the rapid loading of devices and one-click activation, or open and track issue tickets for customer enquiries, complaints or requests, all from the single control dashboard within ExtremeConnect. Historical information such as connectivity and status for each hardware device is also logged and searchable.

Key functionalities of ExtremeConnect include directly setting up your data plans online at one place, and tracking, activating and setting up the SIMs you need. ExtremeConnect gives you control over the entire SIM and device lifecycle – and you can define different attributes of your different devices, assign different technologies or billing plans as appropriate, and effortlessly support and manage multi-level accounts.

You can quickly and easily change the bandwidth allocation or billing structure assigned to a particular device, and provide customers with convenient data through alarms and notifications covering a range of parameters including bandwidth usage notifications, device connectivity failure, roaming charges, or suspicious fraud activity.

Whether your IoT and M2M devices need 3G, 4G or LTE connectivity, comprehensive connectivity solutions and worldwide relationships with established mobile operators are available, which ensures that your mission-critical Internet-of-Things applications are supported with seamless access to network infrastructure, an intuitive and scalable single-point management platform and reliable worldwide connectivity, today and into the future as cellular standards evolve.

Once again we have summarised an interesting and possibly useful new Internet of Things platform which could be the solution to your connected product or service needs. However, we can take the time to thoroughly work with you to ensure the right platform will be used.

Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.


Wearable Internet of Things products made easy with NXP WaRP7

September 9, 2016

The WaRP7 development board is the latest evolution of the “WearAble Reference Platform” (WaRP) development system from NXP Semiconductors – a next-generation, powerful but tiny development platform specifically aimed at the needs of advanced Internet-of-Things products and wearable computing applications.

It provides a complete, powerful ARM Cortex-A7 based embedded computer solution in a tiny form factor, with wireless connectivity, battery power, many different sensors, open-source operating systems and enough flexibility to offer all the advantages of other development tools, and it’s aimed at a range of different IoT applications and markets such as smart home and automation devices, personal devices for fitness and health monitoring and other wearable computing needs.

The WaRP7 platform includes extensive on-board connectivity and peripheral features including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, battery charging and power management on board, 8GB of onboard eMMC memory, and support for a huge range of sensors and add-on peripherals.

This system uses the MikroBus expansion socket system introduced by MikroElektronika for their microcontroller prototyping tools, allowing over 200 existing “Click” expansion modules and daughterboards to be added to the WaRP7 for easy development, hacking and rapid prototyping with a huge suite of different sensors and components.

It provides a rapid prototyping platform with pre-validated USB, NFC, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with open-source reference OS builds and example software, providing a strong foundation that reduces the time-to-market for your IoT product development and allows product developers to focus their resources on creating their applications and the valuable, differentiating features of their product.

The motherboard is based on NXP’s i.MX 7Solo application processor, the latest in NXP’s (formerly Freescale) widely used, well-proven, Linux-ready i.MX family of processors. This i.MX7Solo system-on-chip features an ARM Cortex-A7 core as well as a Cortex-M4 core on the same chip – with the ability to easily handle both real-time microcontroller and GPIO functions along with higher-level operating systems that provide rich user experiences.

This heterogeneous multi-core architecture provides power management advantages too, allowing the system to drive a higher level operating system but also put the main processor to sleep sometimes, where it can be woken up in low-power modes by the Cortex-M4 processor.

Furthermore, the platform enables the strong energy efficiency that is critical for today’s portable and wearable IoT designs, but also strong computing power and convenient “wake-up” capability from a low-power state when it’s needed.

The platform offers a variety of connectivity and RF communications options, including NFC, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth 4.1 regular or Bluetooth Low Energy. Storage is covered with 8 GB eMMC for nonvolatile storage and 512 MB LPDDR3 RAM are also provided – along with built-in battery charging and power management, a MPL3115A2 barometric pressure sensor, FXAS21002C 3-axis MEMS gyroscope, and the FXOS8700CQ 3-axis accelerometer plus magnetometer.

A MIPI-DSI display port, built-in MIPI camera on the module and an audio interface are also provided, offering rich multimedia capability, and all these powerful sensors and peripherals are integrated into a tiny main board that measures only 2cm x 4cm.

This platform has been built from the ground up to address key challenges in IoT and wearable-devices engineering, including size, radio connectivity and battery life, and it is provided with a complete open-source hardware and software platform.

This includes hardware design files, operating system source code, bill of materials and all other open documentation – all of which allows developers to use this as a foundation for their product innovation without having to licence expensive proprietary IP.

Fully-featured Android and Linux operating system builds are provided, easing development effort for software developers, while also supporting extensive UI capabilities, powerful application software and connectivity stacks. All the source code is provided of course, so you do have the option of modifying the build of the open-source operating system yourself, if you need to customise it.

The WaRP7 development platform could be a powerful new player in the busy development board space, especially in wireless connectivity and wearable IoT applications where more computing power and an operating system such as Linux is required.

Its combination of tiny size, strong performance, focus on power efficiency and integration with a powerful suite of onboard peripherals – along with Linux or Android support, make it uniquely placed to offer value in a lot of different IoT and wearable application areas.

With the array of features, the WaRP7 could be the platform for your next Internet of Things product – and we’re ready to help turn your WaRP7 ideas into reality.

Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.


Power Efficient LTE Wireless from Qualcomm for the Internet of Things

August 30, 2016

Qualcomm has recently announced the introduction of its new MDM9207-1 chipset, an LTE modem solution that is designed to support reliable, global cellular connectivity on modern LTE networks for a growing array of connected products and systems.

Their MDM9207-1 is purpose-built for Internet-of-Things applications, targeting growing IoT application areas such as smart metering, security, asset tracking, wearables and industrial automation.

Many of these applications require constantly available, reliable and power-efficient connections to Internet and cloud services that are mobile and ubiquitous, and LTE connectivity delivers this.

With category 1 LTE connectivity, the MDM9207-1 offers multi-mode and multi-band support for global compatibility and interoperability with legacy networks in countries where LTE deployment has been slower, as well as an on-board application processor and many other valuable features.

It offers device makers, system integrators and developers a mature modem platform that features industry-leading 3G/4G LTE multimode and multiband support, and it’s designed to support connections on all major cellular networks worldwide.

Furthermore, LTE extends the communications range that devices are capable of, well beyond the limited range of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to an effectively unlimited range – and this new chipset does this without the high power consumption of some older cellular modems.

Final device size is not forgotten, as the MDM9207-1 has advanced power saving features for devices that are persistently connected, as well as for those that require less frequent wake-up and communication with the network.

It features a powerful application processor capable of running applications under Linux, GPS positioning and location services, and advanced security and authentication features, all in a highly integrated package that reduces component count, bill-of-materials cost, design complexity, size and integration time.

The platform includes support for LTE Category 1, with up to 10 Mbps downlink and 5 Mbps uplink speeds, with LTE multimode or single-mode capability and dual or single receive, and all modern cellular standards are implemented, including LTE FDD, LTE TDD, DC-HSPA, GSM and TD-SCDMA.

There is also support for voice communication to be integrated, via VoLTE (Voice over LTE) or CSFB (Circuit Switched Fall Back). Qualcomm is designing its IoT cellular products to support many LTE standards across worldwide markets, which is a challenge, since countries such as China typically use different LTE standards than the ones used in the U.S. and Europe, for example.

The MDM9207-1 chipset features a 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex M7 application processor built in – capable of running Linux to host user applications, providing powerful application capabilities without any need to add extra hardware or BOM cost.

The platform also features a power-save mode that can enable up to 10 years of battery life from a pair of AA batteries (in certain embedded sensor applications), advanced hardware and software security features built-in, and integrated GPS/Glonass support. Pre-integrated support for easily adding both Bluetooth Low Energy 4.1 and Qualcomm’s VIVE 802.11ac Wi-Fi is also provided.

This solution is designed to be flexible, scalable, cost-optimized and energy efficient – purpose-built to meet the needs of IoT applications. It features scalable, reusable software across different chipset platforms, reducing design complexity, cost and time to market for your IoT solution.

Device makers and developers can reduce their time-to-market for IoT products, as well as reducing development costs, by utilizing a single software code base across all implementations of this flexible chipset family. The same core modem technology is already deployed in millions of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets around the world, so unifying around a single, consistent code base has a lot of value.

The MDM9207-1 is designed to minimize the need for additional discrete processors or microcontrollers, cellular radio or GPS chips, replacing all these separate components with one feature-packed integrated chipset. This reduces the bill-of-materials cost, makes manufacturing easier – and makes finished devices smaller.

In time, it’s likely that we’ll see complete cellular sensor network solutions where a suite of sensors are integrated alongside the single-chip MDM9207-1 providing cellular connectivity and an application processor – possibly even, in time, the integration of the entire sensor node onto a single chip.

Many cellular network operators around the world are already in the process of phasing out their 2G networks to make room for LTE, but LTE is here for the “long run”, and embedded devices built with LTE cellular connectivity are likely to remain working, with a network provider, many years down the track.

While LTE networks are already relatively mature in North America, parts of Asia, and Europe, the multimode capability of the MDM9207-1 platform is designed to allow customers to seamlessly and cost-effectively connect their devices to both LTE as well as legacy networks. This is particularly important in Australia, and in many other countries, where LTE network support may not be as widespread or mature, but future-proof LTE products and infrastructure can be rolled out now and used right now on 3G/4G networks.

As you can imagine, this chipset offers a neat platform for your Internet of Things product . However, the choice of hardware and software for your next Internet of Things product can be a challenge for the inexperienced or time-challenged. Instead of letting your ideas fail due lack of knowledge or slow development cycles – we can take your idea from thoughts to a final product.

Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.