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Connectivity & iot 8 views of Intel’s IoT efforts By Rick Merritt In its efforts to carve out a slice of the Internet of Things, Intel announced its first processor in years that is not compatible with its x86 architecture. Separately, a small company in Sweden shared its story of working on another Intel IoT chip. The two inputs were among several glimpses into the PC giant’s efforts at its second annual event focused on the Internet of Things. Intel offered Yanzi, a five-yearold building automation company outside Stockholm, a chance to work with it on the development of Atlas Peak, the code name for the Quark SE SoC announced November 3. The company has 20 deployments in Sweden and was using Intel’s first Quark processor (the X1000) in its access points and Intel Xeon chips in its gateways. Yanzi jumped at the chance, liking Intel’s idea of embedding into the chip a pattern-matching block for analytics processing at the edge. Along the way Yanzi engineers spent a month this summer porting a 6LoWPAN stack to Intel’s chip, and Intel engineers helped design a prototype board for Yanzi’s next motion-sensor node. “A pattern-matching engine can identify more accurately analog events such as whether motion is from left-to-right or right-to-left or if someone is standing or sitting – it’s practical,” said Lars Ramfelt, chief technology officer for Yanzi. The company uses a range of proprietary and ARM-based microcontrollers from Silicon Labs, STMicroelectronics and others in its existing sensor nodes. “We haven’t found anyone else with integrated pattern matching,” Ramfelt said, noting not all devices need the capability. The Quark SE is the chip used on Intel’s previously announced Curie module. Currently, it is only available as a module because the chip is too small to cost-effectively mount to a board. Intel will re-package the chip into a 144-pin BGA for volume production next year. For its part, Yanzi will use the SE chip in some of its sensor nodes next year when it plans to release products for the first time in the U.S. Ramfelt would like to see future Quark chips build in support for the 802.15.4 and low-power Wi-Fi networks Yanzi uses. Intel does plan to have integrated connectivity in next-gen Quark chips, but Dipti Vichini, a Texas Instruments product manager who became head of Intel’s Quark group six months ago declined to say which networks they will support. Yanzi also plans to add support for the Thread transport protocol to its products because “in the future there will be a lot of Thread devices we can interoperate with,” Ramfelt said. The Yanzi CTO is less concerned with the current fragmented array of application level protocols for IoT. “The IPv6 networking layer is important for us, but on top of that there are multiple application stacks -- for example IP cameras all have their own app stack,” he said. “Application-layer standardization is great, but it’s the last step, and it’s not that critical at this stage, so going from a few hundred of them to a handful over the next few years is a big win for us,” he added. One protocol Yanzi has already rejected is AllJoyn from the All- Seen Alliance. “It’s a peer-to-peer approach, and our products are all going through our cloud service,” he said. At the event Intel rolled out two microcontroller-class chips for IoT. The D2000 is essentially a slimmed down version of the SE, stripping out the pattern-matching block and a DSP-based sensor hub. Both chips use a 32-bit Pentium-class core running at 32 MHz. The D2000 supports just 40 Kbytes flash and 8KB RAM compared to 384KB flash and 80KB RAM on the SE. The D1000 also removes USB 1.1 support in the SE and provides fewer GPIO and I2C interfaces. The D1000 is more interesting, although long term may prove less significant for Intel. It is the company’s first non-x86 chip since former CEO Paul Otellini sold off Intel’s StrongARM core and set a course focused solely on the Intel architecture. An Intel datasheet simply describes the D1000 core as a “33 MHz 32-bit Harvard architecture Lars Ramfelt, CTO of Yanzi, shows a motion sensor it developed as part of work with Intel on its new Atlas Peak version of Quark. The Quark SE is currently only available as a module, shown here on the Yanzi motion-sensor board, but will be in a BGA package next year. Krzanich talked about IoT customers in agriculture, health and retail. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2015 33


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