The Week In Review: IoT

Qualcomm ships 1B+ IoT chips; CES is big scene for IoT; ZigBee Alliance speaks a new language.


Qualcomm reported before the official opening of CES 2017 that it has shipped more than 1 billion Internet of Things chips to date, for such applications as automotive electronics, Internet-connected televisions, sensors, and wearable gadgets (including smartwatches). The company didn’t include chips for smartphones and tablet computers in that total. “We have scale,” said Raj Talluri, Qualcomm’s senior vice president of product management. “We launch more than a billion mobile products annually.” Qualcomm also brought out its Snapdragon 835 mobile processor, which is reportedly going into the Samsung Electronics Galaxy S8 smartphone; Samsung is fabricating the chip for Qualcomm with a 10-nanometer finFET process.

NXP Semiconductors unveiled a batch of products at CES 2017. The chip company is working with Microsoft to improve IoT security. Among other products, NXP introduced the i.MX 8M line of applications processors for audio and video systems in smart homes and smart mobility applications. Read more about the CES rollouts here.

Marvell Technology Group is demonstrating its connectivity, data storage, and networking chips at CES 2017, which runs through Sunday, January 8. The company is addressing automotive, cloud, consumer, and industrial markets with its product portfolio. “Data storage is in Marvell’s DNA and the company will continue to invest in storage, network infrastructure, and wireless connectivity technologies with the goal of transforming data movement and storage across a range markets from the consumer to the cloud,” Thomas Lagatta, Marvell’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, said in a statement.

Rambus is in the Qualcomm booth at CES to demonstrate the Rambus CryptoManager security platform, working with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor and QCA4010 Wi-Fi chip, in a smart city application. The demonstration is meant to show how IoT devices can be less vulnerable to distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Qorvo this week introduced the GP695 system-on-a-chip device for smart home devices. The SoC supports the Bluetooth Low Energy, IEEE 802.15.4, Thread, and ZigBee 3.0 communication protocols for actuators and sensors in the home. The GP695 complements the GP712 chip in smart home gateways and features the ARM Cortex-M4 architecture. Qorvo is demonstrating its smart home and IoT offerings at CES.

AT&T is expanding its IoT Starter Kit for developers with one version for Amazon Web Services and another for Raspberry Pi and similar development boards. Both are immediately available.

The Norton Core router is meant to provide better protection for IoT devices in the home. It uses deep packet inspection to check for known malware and intrusion detection techniques to make sure there’s no malicious traffic between devices on the network.

Cypress Semiconductor and Verizon Communications are collaborating on wireless connectivity with end-to-end security for IoT developers. Their joint offering, available in the second quarter of this year, provides access to Verizon’s ThingSpace software development kit through the Cypress Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices Studio 4 development platform.

The ZigBee Alliance introduced the dotdot language at CES, aimed at providing a standardized communication platform for IoT devices, regardless of the network being used by those devices. “The application layer that is the core language of ZigBee devices has driven significant growth in the IoT,” said Tobin Richardson, president and CEO of the ZigBee Alliance. He added, “Recognizing the opportunity to multiply that growth for members and the industry, market leaders within the alliance have come together to transform it into a universal language for the IoT, making it available to everyone, everywhere, across their network of choice.”

The Kudelski Group has launched the Internet of Things Security Center of Excellence, building upon the expertise of Kudelski Security. Its services include IoT security design and assessment, IoT security posture improvement, and IoT cybercrime countermeasures.

Mike Krell of Moor Insights and Strategy offers some predictions on the IoT market for 2017. Among them: Contraction in the ranks of IoT platform providers, IoT semiconductor and sensor volumes will take off, and security will be a leading concern.

Sierra Wireless has developed AirPrime modules for Verizon’s LTE Category M wireless network. Sierra’s Cat-M1 module is based upon Altair Semiconductor’s ALT-1210 LTE chipset, which is said to provide more than 10 years of battery life in many use cases. “With the commercialization of Cat-M1 LPWA technology, LTE is now a superior option for many IoT applications that were previously restricted to short-range technologies due to cost, coverage and battery life,” Dan Schieler, senior vice president and general manager, Embedded Solutions at Sierra Wireless, said in a statement.

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