There is no doubt that the focus at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is all about the smart or connected home. And everything is connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) including the hundreds of wearable designs spotlighted at the show.
But there isn’t one innovative product that could have been designed without the help of electronic component partners, ranging from microprocessor to sensor suppliers. One interesting example is a battery-operated wireless video doorbell, with HD video recording and streaming capabilities, developed by Ring, which incorporates OmniVision's low-power consumption OV9712 image sensor and OV788 video processor chip. The Ring Video Doorbell will be on display at booth #35829 in South Hall - 4.
We’ll take a look at some of the newest components spotlighted at CES that are aimed at helping OEMs deliver the coolest gadgets that you need … and don’t need. Do we really need a smart belt that expands after we’ve eaten too much? I don’t think so but just my opinion. Check out what Gizmodo had to say about the self-adjusting belt.
Here’s my selection of the hottest components that will likely be designed into some of the industry’s most innovative products and connected solutions. Check back throughout the week for more updates.
- Bosch Sensortec, one of the leaders in sensors for IoT, has expanded its existing family of environmental sensors with the introduction of the BME680 solution that integrates a gas sensor with “best-in-class” air pressure, humidity and ambient air temperature sensing functions in a 3.0 x 3.0 mm² footprint package. The gas sensor can detect a broad range of gases to measure indoor air quality, including volatile organic compounds (VOC) from paints (such as formaldehyde), lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, furnishings, office equipment, glues, adhesives and alcohol. The device can open up new opportunities and applications used in smart homes, smart offices and buildings, smart energy, smart transportation, HVAC, elderly care and sport/fitness applications.
- Broadcom has launched a slew of new products at CES. For now, I’ll highlight the company’s expanded portfolio of 5G Wi-Fi chips and system-on-chip (SoC) devices for mass market retail routers, wireless cable/DSL/PON gateways and set-top boxes (STBs). The new 802.11ac offerings enable OEMs to design products that meet consumer demand for streaming HD content wirelessly across multiple devices in the home, said Broadcom. Within the Wi-Fi portfolio Broadcom claims the industry's fastest 4x4 5G Wi-Fi MU-MIMO chip for home gateways and STBs. The BCM4366 incorporates multiple 802.11ac Wave 2 features, including a MU-MIMO implementation, which delivers up to a 4x increase in speed. When coupled with the BCM47094 network processor SoC that uses a 1.4-GHz dual core ARM processor, it delivers “unprecedented wireless and video streaming performance” for retail Wi-Fi access point routers, said Broadcom. The new portfolio also includes the BCM53573 and BCM47189 dual-band 2x2 5G Wi-Fi SoCs for affordable and mid-tier residential routers, wireless repeaters, power line and MOCA Wi-Fi bridges. These two SoCs are said to be the first to integrate a 2x2 802.11ac radio on a single chip with a CPU and Ethernet switch, which reduces cost. Check out Broadcom’s CES website for more information.
- For better sound quality in tablets, Conexant Systems, Inc. unveils its new complete solution – an I2S Audio CODEC and AudioSmart software – that improves audio and voice processing in tablets. Touted as the industry’s first tablet CODEC with an integrated smart amplifier, the CX2072x when combined with Conexant’s AudioSmart software achieves a 2x improvement in loudness in small, thin tablet speakers, said the company. The voice and speech processing AudioSmart software provides noise cancellation and full-duplex acoustic echo cancellation to improve listening performance and voice quality in noisy, real-world conditions. The AudioSmart software is based on the company’s proprietary SSP noise suppression algorithm. This solution targets both Windows- and Android-based tablets.
- GreenPeak Technologies has launched its new GP691 ZigBee communication controller chip and GPM6000 integrated ZigBee Modules for smart home and Internet of Things (IoT) networks and devices. The GP691 ZigBee communications controller provides IEEE Standard 802.15.4-compliant spread spectrum data communication in the worldwide 2.4-GHz band and is capable of running the full stack and application for ZigBee applications, including ZHA and ZLL profiles. The controller fully supports the latest ZigBee 3.0 (including the ZHA1.2) specification for wireless sense and control networks. The GP691 chip also is touted as having the industry’s most efficient power consumption for both transmit and receive, which is critical for the design of battery and energy harvesting powered smart home and IoT devices, said the company. Check out the devices at the GreenPeak booth at CES (Tech West - Sands Expo - booth 70235).
- Marvell has launched its Smart Home Cloud Center, touted as the first highly integrated and scalable smart home cloud solution for mobile internet and Internet of Things. The platform combines multiple Marvell products and technologies into one integrated solution for the smart home, allowing mobile devices to have full control of smart devices such as TVs, LED lighting, home security systems, smart meters and other home appliances. It’s powered by Marvell's ARM system-on-chips (SoCs), high performance wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, NFC) and highly integrated wireline connectivity (SOHO Switch, G.hn). The platform is an integrated hardware and software solution that seamlessly connects all of the smart devices in the home with enhanced secure features, delivering home networking and home automation, digital entertainment, secure storage and smart server with Kinoma software for the next generation of cloud services. Marvell said the Smart Home Cloud Center is the only customizable turnkey reference platform that gives OEMs, cloud service providers and telecom carriers a complete technology solution to offer consumers a single integrated device to manage their wireline and wireless network connectivity, store their home media and multimedia, automate home devices, and access digital home entertainment anywhere, anytime and on any device. The platform can be tailored based on an operator’s or device vendor’s product requirements. Marvell will be demonstrating its technology solutions at CES 2015 in Marvell's booth, Level 3, Murano 3304, at The Venetian.
- PNI Sensor Corp. has claimed the industry’s first wearable development kit that integrates sensors, a sensor hub, sensor fusion algorithms, a programmable processor and wireless capabilities in a bracelet-sized form factor. Incorporating PNI’s SENtral sensor hub, the SENtrode development kit is expected to help designers speed up the design-to-delivery of smartwatches, activity and wellness monitors and other wearables that use sensors. A second version of SENtrode in a separate housing is available for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as smart home appliances and connected sensor networks. SENtrode for wearables measures 31.55 mm x 37.15 mm x 8.28 mm with a bracelet, and SENtrode for IoT devices is available in a 31.55 mm x 37.55 mm x 8.65 mm housing. SENtrode includes all the necessary hardware components from different manufacturers on one small board, according to the company. Kits are priced at $299 each.
- Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) has introduced the TC7765WBG wireless power receiver controller IC for wireless charging of tablet devices. Managing the 12-watt power transfer necessary for wireless charging of tablets, and compatible with the Qi low-power specification version 1.1 defined by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the TC7765WBG offers a comparable user experience to that of conventional wired charging for tablets, as well as smartphones and other portable devices, said TAEC. The TC7765WBG wireless power receiver controller IC is built with Toshiba's mixed-signal process using a high-performance MOSFET design that is said to maximize power efficiency and thermal performance. It’s designed in the same size package as Toshiba's 5-W wireless power receiver controller TC7763WBG – a WCSP 28 2.4- x 3.67- x 0.5-mm package. When the TC7765WBG is combined with a copper coil, charging IC and peripheral components it creates a wireless power receiver. Combining the receiver with a Qi-compliant wireless power transmitter that contains a Toshiba wireless power transmitter IC such as TB6865AFG Enhanced version forms a complete wireless power charging solution, said the company.
But designing in the latest and greatest components alone is not the entire answer to new designs, it’s very likely that the most innovative products will come as a result of strategic supplier partnerships. One recent example is the partnership between MegaChips and Bosch Sensortec. The two companies are providing a complete reference design to deliver health and fitness tracking for use in smartphones, wearables and other personal devices. Available now, the reference design provides both context and location awareness for health, fitness and indoor navigation monitoring and tracking applications.
The reference design uses MegaChips' ultra-low power frizz motion sensor hub with a 32-bit DSP based motion engine, combined with the SiTime SiT1602 programmable MHz oscillator and the Bosch Sensortec MEMS sensors BMI160, BMM150 and BME280 to provide more meaningful data, easy interpretation, higher accuracy and ultra-low power critical for longer battery life, said the companies. "Our new joint solution with first-rate sensors from Bosch enables longer lasting wearable devices that collect more accurate data on movement, speed, distance and direction. We can, for instance, track how someone is moving their arms and legs, which is great for golf swing analysis,” said Utah Iwasaki, manager, business development MegaChips Technology America Corporation, in a press release. MegaChips is demonstrating this "Chignon B" reference design at the Bosch booth, CES stand number 71032, Sands Expo.
Another partnership example is the collaboration between Greenvity and Mitsumi to deliver an IoT turnkey solution for low-voltage outdoor lighting. This includes the development and manufacturing of an IoT solution with cloud and mobile apps for low-voltage LED lights used in decorative, parking lot and landscape & deck lights. This will allow LED lighting OEMs and ODMs to convert conventional low-voltage outdoors to energy-efficient smart lights that have control over turning the lights on/off, dimming and color temperature mixing. The intelligence and communication of the IoT turnkey solution is powered by Greenvity’s GV7013 system-on-chip (SoC) with powerline communications (PLC) and an embedded 8051 microcontroller for lighting control. It consists of Greenvity’s IoT hub board (GV-Controller-S), smart LED controller module for low voltage LED (GV-LED-Mini), and IoT cloud and mobile apps (Android and Apple’s iOS). The GV-LED-Mini-DP kit is available now from Greenvity and customers can use Greenvity’s cloud and mobile apps without license fee.
Previously announced partnerships in the IoT space include Mentor Graphics and Atmel as part of the Mentor Embedded Nucleus Innovate Program targeting the IoT market, Texas Instruments’ collaboration with a third-party ecosystem of IoT cloud service providers, and Murata’s partnerships with Ayla Networks and Electric Imp, an IoT-based service platform provider.
Please check back throughout the week for more updates on new components and partnerships. Please send all new product and partnership announcements to me at email@example.com.