Tag Archives: Bluetooth Smart

Develop secure IoT apps with the Atmel Certified-ID platform

The Atmel Certified-ID security platform prevents unauthorized reconfiguration of an edge node to access protected resources on the network.

Atmel has announced a comprehensive security platform that enables businesses of all sizes to assign certified and trusted identities to devices joining the secure Internet of Things. The Atmel Certified-ID security platform prevents unauthorized reconfiguration of an edge node to access protected resources on the network. This new platform is available on the Atmel SmartConnect Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart and ZigBee solutions that connect directly to Atmel Cloud Partners, providing a secure turnkey solution for IoT edge node-to-cloud connection.


The Atmel Certified-ID platform delivers a distributed key provisioning solution, leveraging internal key generation capabilities of the ATECC508A CryptoAuthentication device, without invoking large scale infrastructure and logistics costs. This platform even allows developers to create certified and trusted identities to any device before joining an IoT network.

With billions of devices anticipated by 2020 in the rapidly growing IoT market, security is a critical element to ensuring devices can safely and conveniently access protected assets through the Internet. Today, secure identities are commonly created through a centralized approach where IoT device keys and certificates are generated offline and managed in secure databases in Hardware Security Modules (HSM) to protect the keys. These keys are then programmed into the IoT devices by connecting the HSM to automation equipment during device manufacturing. This approach is indispensable in large deployments consisting of millions of devices. It can also entail significant upfront costs in infrastructure and logistics which must be amortized over a large number of devices for cost effectiveness.

By utilizing the unique internal key generation capabilities of ATECC508A device, the recently-unveiled platform enables decentralized secure key generation, making way for distributed IoT device provisioning regardless of scale. This method eliminates the upfront costs of the provisioning infrastructure which can pose a significant barrier in deploying devices in smaller scales. On top of that, developers will be able to create secure IoT devices compatible with partner cloud services and to securely join ecosystems.

Atmel is currently working with several cloud service companies, including Proximetry and Exosite, on the Certified-ID platform. These collaborations will give developers a wide range of ecosystem partners to choose from for a secure connection between the edge nodes and the IoT. Other partners will be announced as they are integrated in the Certified-ID platform.

“As a leader in the security space with a track record of over two decades, enabling secure networks of all sizes is our mission,” said Nuri Dagdeviren, Atmel Vice President and General Manager of Secure Products Group. “Streamlining secure processes and simplifying deployment of real world secure networks will be key to unlocking the potential and enabling rapid growth of IoT. We will continue delivering industry-leading solutions in security, a critical element in enabling billions of ‘things’ to be connected to the cloud.”


Atmel now offers security provisioning tool kits to enable independent provisioning for pilot programs or production runs when used in conjunction with the ATECC508A ICs. These devices are pre-provisioned with internally generated unique keys, associated certificates, and certification-ready authentication once it is connected to an IoT ecosystem.

Developers will need two kits to securely provision their gadgets: the AT88CKECCROOT tool kit, a ‘master template’ that creates and manages certificate root of trust in any ecosystem, and the AT88CKECCSIGNER tool kit, a production kit that enables partners to provision IoT devices.

The AT88CKECCSIGNER kit lets designers and manufacturers generate tamper-resistant keys and security certifications requiring hardware security in their IoT applications. These keys provide the level of trust demanded by network operators and allows system design houses to provision prototypes in-house—saving designers overall investment costs.

The tool kits also include an easy-to-use graphical user interface that allow everyone to seamlessly provision their IoT devices with secure keys and certificates without special expertise. With distributed provisioning, developers are not required to use expensive HSM for key management and certificate acquisition fees.

In addition to secure IoT provisioning, the new Certified-ID platform provides high-quality random number generation to guarantee a diverse set of public and private keys. It delivers solutions to a variety of IoT security needs including node anti-cloning protection, data confidentiality, secure boot, and secure firmware upgrades over-the-air. The tamper resistance built into the ATECC508A device continues to provide the desired protection even when the device is under physical attack.

Ready for the Internet of Trusted Things? Both the Atmel AT88CKECCROOT and AT88CKECCSIGNER are available today.

The smallest, lowest power Bluetooth Smart solution has arrived

The Atmel SmartConnect Bluetooth platform delivers the industry’s lowest power, smallest footprint and most integrated system solution on the market. 

Earlier this year, we unveiled an ultra-low power Bluetooth Smart solution for the burgeoning Internet of Things. And now, we’re excited to announce that the Atmel SmartConnect BTLC1000 is shipping in production quantities.

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Consuming less than 4mA in RX and less than 3mA TX at 3.6V, the industry’s lowest power, smallest footprint Bluetooth Smart solution is capable of increasing battery life by as much as one year or more for certain applications. Pushing the limits of space constrained areas, the BTLC1000 boasts an unprecedented 2.2mm x 2.1mm Wafer Level Chipscale Package (WLCSP) — significantly smaller than any other on the market today. This, of course, makes it ideal for the rapidly growing IoT and wearables spaces, including portable medical equipment, activity trackers, human Interface devices and gaming controllers. What’s more, the tiny solution supports beacons and other application standards for leading smartphone operating systems.

For those unfamiliar with the BTLC1000, the ultra-low power Bluetooth Smart SoC features an integrated Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M0 MCU and Bluetooth transceiver. The device can be used as a BLE link controller that connects as a companion to any Atmel AVR or Atmel | SMART MCU. Plus, it can even be employed as a standalone apps processor with embedded BLE connectivity and external memory.


In addition to all that, the BTLC1000 can come as a production-ready and fully-certified module for FCC ETSI/CE and IC regulations, thereby facilitating product design and reducing overall time-to-market.

Atmel’s BTLC1000 can be powered by a number of different battery types, ranging from coin cell, AA and AAA to Lithium polymer, without the need for external power management circuitry. The SoC utilizes an innovative radio and DSP architecture that delivers extremely low power consumption along with high performance, as well as provides a cost-effective solution for many Bluetooth Smart-based applications by integrating the BLE Radio and Baseband with an ARM Cortex-M0 MCU. The need for very few external components minimizes the total system solution cost.


To accelerate a designer’s development, an all-inclusive BTLC1000 XSTK starter kit is now available ($99) to evaluate the Atmel BTLC1000 with the Atmel | SMART SAM L21 Xplained PRO host MCU evaluation board. Beyond that, the BTLC1000 XPRO extension board ($25) can be ordered individually and can be plugged into any of the supported Atmel host MCU Xplained boards to easily add Bluetooth Smart connectivity.

ŌURA is a smart ring that will help you sleep and perform better

ŌURA is a ring-sized wellness computer that helps you sleep and perform better, without the bulkiness and distractions of other wearables. 

“The ŌURA ring may well be the first sleep tracker that works. I met the founder, and backed their Kickstarter,” Tim O’Reilly recently tweeted in response to the revolutionary wellness computer’s newly-launched campaign.

Although health monitors have gotten smaller, more precise and sleeker over the last couple of years, they still tend to be a bit too bulky for unobtrusive 24/7 wear, especially during sleep. So what’s more convenient than sporting a bracelet around your wrist? A ring on your finger, of course!


With a form factor like ŌURA, the device can fit snugly against your skin and accurately capture the body signals necessary for measuring and interpreting your sleep habits, physical activity and other performance-related indicators. What’s more, you’ll notice that the wearable gadget lacks a display and buttons, removing unnecessary distractions from our lives. Instead, the unisex ring communicates to an accompanying mobile app via Bluetooth.

ŌURA can automatically detect when you’re asleep. During your slumber, the ring analyzes the quality of your rest and recovery by keeping tabs on your heart rate, respiration, body temperature and movement. When awake, it monitors the duration and intensity of your activities, and the time you spend sitting down.


Its app then collates and visualizes this data to identify patterns between your sleep quality and daily routine. By understanding how well you slept and refueled, it can determine your readiness to perform and help you adjust the intensity and duration of your day’s activities accordingly. Aside from that, the water and scratch-proof ceramic ring offers personalized recommendations on how to maximize your active periods and improve upon your nighty shut-eye.

“The ŌURA ring works without demanding your attention, or distracting you and your lifestyle. The ring knows when you go to sleep, and when you wake up, when you are active, and when you are sitting. It uploads data to your phone automatically,” the Finnish startup writes.

Should you not have your phone, the ring can still function as a standalone computer with its own temporary memory, which can store data for up to three weeks. And once your mobile device is nearby, ŌURA will sync back up.


In terms of hardware, the ring is built around an ARM Cortex-M0 core and features Bluetooth Smart connectivity. Its 40mAh Li-ion battery boasts a life of about three days, and can be easily refueled by placing it inside its just as aesthetically-pleasing charging station. Simply drop the ring inside when it’s running low and it’ll juice up in an hour.

Even more, the data generated through ŌURA can be merged with other health-related information. In fact, the team is already collaborating with We Are Curious, which allows users to track and chart multiple data streams at once, including daily consumption (caffeine, alcohol, sugar), sleep aids you might be trying (valerian, melatonin, acupuncture) and other factors in your environment (barometric pressure, CO2, pollen count).

Sound like a wearable health monitor you’d like to have? Hurry over to its Kickstarter campaign, which has already surpassed its $100,000 goal. Units are expected to ship in November 2015.

This device offers safety at the touch of a button

Wearsafe Tag instantly alerts, informs and connects your most trusted network so they can send help when you need it.

We’ve come a long way since the days of LifeAlert’s earliest commercials with a helpless Mrs. Fletcher yelling, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” And though technology has certainly progressed over the years, one thing that continues to remain constant is the reassurance that our loved ones are kept safe. Whether it’s a child, an elder or a significant other, Wearsafe is just the platform to help provide you with a peace of mind.


The Wearsafe Tag is a small, unobtrusive accessory that can be thrown in a pocket, clipped onto a belt or worn as a lanyard around the neck. Ideal for just about everyone — whether a frequent traveler, an adventurous hiker or a freshman in college — it’s super simple to use. First, you create a trusted network of friends and family for any situation, and with a press of a button, the one-touch lifeline sends an alert to them in scenarios that may not warrant taking out a smartphone.

The Tag works by pairing with your smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy to connect with an accompanying app. Once activated, Wearsafe puts the mobile device to work by tracking the user’s GPS location, rate of speed and even recording the last minute of conversations. When pressed, the button will send this information by way of a text message, email and screen notification to the members of your pre-defined network.


Studies reveal that in times of distress, even if your smartphone is taken away, it will typically remain within 35 feet of the owner. With this in mind, the Wearsafe Tag boasts a range of up to 200 feet to ensure you’re connected and able to send out an alert. What’s more, a private chat can also be set up between contacts, allowing them to coordinate responses. Anytime a call for help is transmitted, you will be informed that the alert was successfully sent via a silent vibration, and the Tag offers feedback each time someone opens the message to respond. You can even program different networks for different occasions, like one for home, one for school and another for business trips. This way, depending on where you are, alerts will go to the most relevant people.

The water-resistant Tag houses a Bluetooth Smart module and is powered by coin cell battery that can last about six months with regular use. Aside from that, Wearsafe will soon integrate with other gadgets such as your fitness bands and smartwatches.


Shortly after launch, you will be able to use the Pebble smartwatch or the new Pebble Time watch to send an alert.  In addition, compatibility with Garmin, the Apple Watch and Android Wear will be available in the very near future.  Our goal is to make integrating Wearsafe into your life as easy as possible. The future of wearables is limitless, and we’ll continue to work to ensure that Wearsafe will work with whatever wearable you choose,” its creators write.

Sound like a safety device you’d like to have? Head over to its Kickstarter page, where the Wearsafe Labs is currently seeking $75,000. The first batch of units is expected to begin shipping in September 2015.

ilumi is a smart bulb that just got even smarter

These smart bulbs won’t just light up your house, they’ll improve your sleep, set the mood and connect your devices.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your in-home lighting knew just how to pick you up when you were feeling down? Or could turn on right as you walk through the door with your arms full of groceries? Thanks to the ilumi, that and much more are all possible. The Dallas-based, Shark Tank-supported startup has unveiled the latest generation of its intelligent bulbs that offer complete lighting control.


If the name sounds familiar, that’s because ilumi is no stranger to the smart lighting world. Since originally making its debut on Kickstarter back in 2013 and catching the attention of Mark Cuban on the ABC hit show last year, the team has returned to the drawing board and revamped their bulbs with a new and improved design, interface, and of course, a more affordable price. And the timing couldn’t be better, as recent reports forecast the market to reach 2.5 billion units by 2020 and reduce energy costs as much as 90%.

Aside from being able to customize which shade of light the bulb emits via a color wheel, user can also select from a series of pre-defined themes to best suit their daily routines. For instance, you can support your body’s circadian rhythm by automating the bulbs to emulate the sun’s natural cycle, wake up to your own personal sunrise, or find the right brightness/color combination to best set the mood.


What’s more, ilumi boasts several fun integrations including the ability to connect to Spotify and sync with the beat of your favorite tunes — ideal for Friday night parties or Halloween festivities. They also work with some other popular IoT products and services, including IFTTT and Nest thermostats. Arguably one of its most standout features, however, is its Home Alone-like capability of giving off the impression that an owner is inside, even when away on vacation, to deter any potential burglars. ilumi can detect presence in a room and will flick itself on and off automatically, too.

Packed inside the bulb are a set of RGBW LEDs, a high-power antenna with a range of up 150 feet, Flash memory and a real-time clock for stored settings, as well as a Bluetooth Smart chip for wireless control. What’s neat is that, since each bulb is equipped with Bluetooth, it creates a mesh network that links to your phone, thereby eliminating the need for a hub. Simply screw them into a socket, pair them with your mobile device, and you’re ready to go. Each bulb will act as a node that can send and receive a signal.


For its Kickstarter return, which has already tripled its initial pledge goal, the company has introduced two new smart bulbs: the A19 Standard with 800 lumens and 10 watts, and the BR30 Flood with 1,150 lumens and 14 watts. Oh, and remember the days of “Clap on, clap off, The Clapper?” Well, iiumi lets its users turn the lights on with a simple shake of their phone.

Interested in some for your home? Head over to its official Kickstarter page. Delivery is slated for September 2015.

Soundbrenner Pulse is the world’s first wearable for musicians

This wearable device for musicians can be used as a vibrational metronome or in synchronization with an entire band.

While a vast majority of wearable technology has been focused around health and fitness, a Berlin-based startup is hoping to change that with their new vibrational metronome. The aptly named Soundbrenner Pulse is the world’s first wearable gadget designed specifically for musicians to help them keep the beat and become better performers.


For those unfamiliar with the device, metronomes have been used for 200 years to help musicians keep a steady tempo as they play and to improve irregular timing. Unlike its predecessors, the Soundbrenner Pulse embodies a modular design and can be worn around the arm or leg, depending upon the instrument.

The device delivers haptic feedback directly on a users skin that is up to six times stronger than vibrational alerts commonly found in today’s smartphones. Measuring only slightly larger than a sports watch, the device provides musicians with the ability to perform solo or in groups of up to 10 users to follow a beat without the intrusiveness of an audible metronome.


The Bluetooth-enabled wearable can be paired with an accompanying mobile app to offer a customizable music coach, rhythm exercises, as well as multi-player synchronization using one person’s smartphone as the hub.

With the Soundbrenner Pulse, there are various ways that musicians can set the tempo they want to keep. For one, a unique BPM (beats per minute) Tap feature enables musicians to simply tap the desired beat onto the face of the device. This activates the capacitive touch sensor that captures the tempo while a proprietary algorithm translates the tap into haptic feedback in the form of precise vibrations. Beyond that, musicians can rotate the BPM Wheel surrounding the face of the device or use the Soundbrenner app to adjust the number of BPM to 300.


Aside from being embedded with Bluetooth Smart, the Soundbrenner Pulse has a battery of four to five hours along and packs several RGB LED lights that blink in unison with the beat and glow in various colors.

Intrigued? Head over to its official Indiegogo page, where the team is currently seeking $75,000. If all goes to plan, shipment is expected to begin in November 2015.

Stryd will help you run faster, better and smarter

Just clip ’n go! Stryd is the world’s first wearable power meter for runners. 

There are all sorts of wearables on the market today designed to help those exercising track their fitness goals. While a vast majority of these devices are focused around metrics like pace and heart rate, a new startup has sought out to revolutionize the running industry through power.


Created by Princeton engineers (and already supported by some of the biggest names in endurance sports), the aptly-named Stryd provides fitness enthusiasts a new and innovative way to accurately measure run intensity across any type of terrain using the sports watches and mobile devices they already use. This is made possible through its embedded Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ wireless technologies.

The wearable analyzes a run by tracking the environmental conditions and calculating a real-time power in watts through a proprietary sensing technology. As its creators note, long the standard for cycling training, power has been a sought-after run metric for years, yet measuring it hasn’t been possible until now.

“The data runners use in training hasn’t changed much in 30 years. There has never been an accurate or easy way to show training intensity and efficiency, and athletes and coaches have repeatedly told us that holds them back.” said Robert Dick, Ph.D. and Stryd CEO. “Our goal was to provide one number that can consistently help anyone run better, and today Stryd does exactly that.”


How it works is relatively straightforward. To use Stryd, users simply clip the small device onto a pair of sneakers or shorts and begin their regimen. The device then automatically syncs up with pretty much any gadget, computer and coaching software available today, and its battery lasts longer than a year. Starting from the first run, Stryd helps wearers learn their capabilities and establish baseline data to help better understand performance and enhance efficiency.

“Stryd answers run-by-run, day-by-day questions that runners care about,” explains co-founder and coach Gus Pernetz. “Did I pace myself right? Am I overtraining? How is my running form? Until now it has been a lot of guesswork, but Stryd gives runners a better way to measure training intensity. And, with better measurement comes better performance.”

Now live on Kickstarter, the team ran well past its initial goal of $50,000 in a matter of hours. If all goes to plan, Stryd is targeting a mid-summer ship date for the product’s first release, giving priority to running and triathlon coaches followed by athletes who support the crowdfunding campaign.

Your own lighting show is one tap away with PLAYBULB garden

MiPow wants you to add colors, lighting effects and more intelligence to your garden. 

If you’re the owner of a solar outdoor lighting system, then you know all to well that it often times fails to provide enough brightness. However, one San Jose-based startup is looking to change that with their new product, the PLAYBULB garden. You may recall MiPow from a super successful Kickstarter campaign last year for their Bluetooth Smart LED flameless candle. This device sought out to “liberate” a user’s imagination through vibrant colors, controlled through an accompanying app.


Now, the company’s latest innovation is hoping to provide homeowners with a solar outdoor lighting system that can be customized based on their desires, all while offering enough lighting to illuminate a home garden or pathway. Using the PLAYBULB X app, users can adjust the lighting tone and brightness of the RGB LED garden with just the tap of a finger, as well as activate one of among five special effects.

It is purely driven by solar power, and therefore, is just as eco-friendly as the garden itself. The intelligent system is equipped with built-in sensors that are tasked with detecting the lighting condition and automatically turning on/off the garden accordingly. During the day, solar panels absorb light energy and store them in the garden’s internal lithium-ion battery. Once fully charged, the device can operate up to 20 hours.

Each PLAYBULB garden comes with two pieces of monopod, which are attached to one another to extend its height. Meanwhile, an owner can also remove the monopod if they’re just looking to place the light directly on the ground.


The latest version of PLAYBULB X supports various lighting possibilities, ranging from rainbow to flashing to candle light effects. The magic really begins to happen, however, when the Bluetooth-enabled devices are activated under group mode, which allows users to sync five pieces together. With its over-the-air upgrade feature, the system can be updated to include the latest PLAYBULB X app features enhancements, including new lighting functions and special effects.

Interested in adding a little magic to your garden? Head over to MiPower’s latest Kickstarter page, where the team has already well exceeded its initial $10,000 goal. Delivery to backers is slated for May 2015 — just in time for summer!

Shopping is about to get a whole lot smarter with connected carts

The carriage of tomorrow may reduce shopping times, cut down waiting in lines and offer a personalized experience. 

What do you do when you’re tired of having to schlep around a shopping cart aisle after aisle? You create an autonomous one that will carry out the tedious task for you! Or, you make them smarter at the very least.

Well, that’s what a pair of new projects have done, one by a team of students at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the other from UK product development group Cambridge Consultants. Not only will these come in handy as you make your way up and down the grocery store each week, it can keep you from having to stop mid-aisle for a free hand to check off an item on your list, and can even prevent the transmission germs during flu season. What’s more, it doesn’t have to be limited to marketplaces either. The cart can prove to be useful throughout airports, libraries, malls and college campuses.


First, following a similar premise as we’ve seen floating orbs capable of following and replaying human activity before, Makers Ohad Rusnak and Omri Elmalech have devised a slick self-driven shopping cart using a 3D Kinect sensor, a 3D camera and an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560). Through the duo’s self-developed computer vision algorithm, the system’s 3D camera can accurately identify and follow the cart’s owner as they make their way about the supermarket, while the embedded Arduino is responsible for controlling all the movement, sensing and tracking.


“I think in the future, a few years from now, we’ll see something like this in the supermarkets,” Rusnak says.

More recently, Cambridge Consultants showed off its latest connected cart concept that, by being fitted with low-cost sensors and Bluetooth Smart, can tell a retailer where you are in a store within three feet. The embedded technology, which would appear to be much more commercial-ready than the aforementioned project, can pinpoint the cart’s whereabouts so shop owners can offer location-based promotions and eliminate checkout lines in real-time. It also means fewer carts will leave the parking lot, too. For stores, this could drastically cut the multi-million-dollar annual cost of lost carriages as businesses could set alerts when they were being removed from their premises.


“The latest innovation is a small device that fits on the wheel of each trolley – and doesn’t need batteries as it is powered via energy harvesting from the rotation of the wheel. Costs are kept to a minimum by using commercially available low-cost sensors and connectivity that allows the data to be managed on a hosted server,” the firm writes.

Aside from enabling stores to target customers with relevant offers as they browse the aisles, data from smart carts could be used by retailers to understand better what their customers decide not to buy – it could help highlight areas where customers stopped to browse but did not purchase anything. Privacy advocates may also take comfort in knowing that the cart is being tracked opposed to the shopper’s smartphone.

“This is the latest example of our work in the fields of connected devices, data analytics and integrated systems across a range of sectors and with clients around the world. Connected product development has a crucial role to play in securing – and maintaining – competitive advantage in the fast-moving retail industry,” Cambridge Consultants concludes.

We couldn’t agree more. This can and will be an extremely cool concept to see catch on. So, how long before we see these roaming robotic trolleys around your nearest Target, Wal-Mart and Kohl’s?

Leadership in IoT connectivity with Bluetooth Smart

Kaivan Karimi, Atmel VP and GM of Wireless Solutions, provides insight into the Internet of Things and the role of BLE connectivity. 

It has been a year since my last blog at my old gig, and what a year it has been. I am now at Atmel managing the wireless MCUs business unit, and with my team busy building the best in class portfolio of cloud-ready wireless MCUs and MPUs. Last year was a great ride, and things will only get better from here onward, as we now have established a solid IP base, a best-in-class execution engine, and a great ecosystem of partners to collectively offer cost-optimized Internet of Things (IoT) edge-node system solutions.

Six years ago when a few of us in the industry were evangelizing what in those days we called “Industrial Wireless” (and now dubbed IoT), we always talked about role of hierarchical gateways, connecting the “edge nodes” or “things” to the “cloud.” Some of those “things” use your smartphone as their gateway of choice to connect to the cloud, while others will use a new generation of “smart gateways” to manage cloud-based services. Even in the case of the new smart gateways, some of the things connected to them may get “provisioned” using your smartphone. With smartphones almost ubiquitously having integrated Bluetooth Smart Ready, one can see how BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy – aka Bluetooth Smart) plays an important role in the connectivity infrastructure of IoT.


This year’s CES was as amazing as ever with even more attendees, exhibits and technology than in 2014. As usual, a sea of tech gadgets shouting at you while you walking through the halls, “Look at me and remember me because I am the next best things since slice bread and I am here to stay!” And, sometimes that actually happens (HD Television – CES 1998) and sometimes it doesn’t (3D Television- CES 2009).

CES 2015 was a special one for me, and served as a sort of coming out party for our new wireless lineup. There, we announced a pair of products: a standalone Bluetooth Smart SoC and a dual-mode Wi-Fi/Bluetooth platform. (I will spend more time on our combo chip in the near future, but wanted to focus this blog on our BLE chip.)

It started when we met with our engineering team and discussed our target spec for our new BLE SoC. It was simple; last year the small German mixed signal company had the best-in-class BLE solution in the market. Based on the marketing material they had readily available on the web, their solution had the best peak transmit and receive current (less than 5mA), it had the best leakage current of 600 nA (in certain mode), and it was the smallest SoC out there 2.5×2.5mm WLCSP. Furthermore, the solution also listed the usual suspect key applications as smartphone accessories, PC and tablet peripherals, sport and fitness tracking, health monitoring, self-tracking, watches, remote controls, 3D glasses, etc.

As it turned out, by mid-last year the engineering team of the German company forced their marketing team to match their peak active current numbers to the reality of the chip, as well as adjust their leakage current to reality for adequate memory retention. The leakage current listing is related to the amount of memory you need to retain for the modem to go back to the original state after coming back to active mode, and best in class BLE modems need minimum 8K of memory space to retain their state, and anything less than that would require reestablishing the link, which burns a lot more power. Listing your leakage current for anything less than 8K of memory retention is misleading. Needless to say, the spec being advertised for that chip are now different than their original product brief.

In any business best-in-class doesn’t come easy, and is as it is said to be the result of a lot of sweat and tears… So when we told our team that we wanted them to beat those spec by 30%, with samples for March 2015, you can imagine the looks we got in return. The team however took it upon themselves to beat our targets. The result: BTLC1000. Announced at CES, notable features from the press release included:

  • Bluetooth Smart solutions set new low-power standards with at least 30% power savings compared to existing solutions on the market in dynamic mode
  • Packaged in extremely small 2.1mm x 2.1mm WLCSP package to enable design flexibility for all devices
  • Solution can be combined with any Atmel MCU for a complete IoT platform

In the body of the announcement we also mentioned “sub-1µA in standby mode, while delivering the industry’s best dynamic power consumption, increasing battery life by as much as one year for certain applications.” Since this blog is not under NDA, I cannot get into more details on exact numbers, only that they are real, and they do indeed beat the relevant best-in-class BLE product specifications out there by >30%. Like true IoT products, this product is built from the ground up for IoT applications and battery operations, and not a generic modem repurposed and rebranded as an IoT product.


Small footprint such as 2.1mmx2.1mm facilitates innovative form factors for a variety of classes of products, while also enables adding BLE functionality to your existing products using other types of wireless connectivity for provisioning only.

A common misconception for the Internet of Things is that everyone calls IoT the era of “always on” connectivity. However, in reality most of the “things” in IoT spend most of their life in “off” mode, and only based on an event, or predetermined policy at certain intervals of time they wake up, hence leakage current is extremely important. A lot of the BLE-related products use lithium coin cells which are made to work with standard current draws of 1 to 5 mA. There are many factors such as the discharge rate, the discharge profile (constant vs. periodic burst such as burst peak current), operating temperature, humidity, the associated DC/DC converter, etc. that effect the battery life. According to one of our Japanese customers who also was in battery manufacturing business, while these batteries can tolerate peak currents of much higher than 5mA (e.g. the BLE chip from the company in Scandinavia, the one from the Cambridge based company that just changed hands, the one from the company from Texas, etc.), every time that you cross the 5mA threshold, you reduce the life of the battery. That is why less than 5mA peak current matters.


Our BLE solution will be offered using our SmartConnect framework and methodology, which black boxes the complexities associated with using wireless connectivity, and let the MCU programmers focus on their application development, not needing to become wireless connectivity experts to participate in the IoT market.

At Atmel, we are also known for our activities within the Maker community, particularly Arduino users. As a result, we have already started giving access to the Maker community to our wireless products using our Arduino Wi-Fi shield, which was released back in September 2014. Just imagine what kind of innovations can come from tinkerers, hobbyists and developers if you give them access to our BLE Arduino shield. Some of the IoT categories such as wearables, health and fitness, and portable medical electronics, among others, have already chosen BLE as their wireless connectivity of choice to communicate with the smartphones at their gateway of choice. I am sure the Maker community will come up with additional categories.