Tag Archives: Enterprise IoT

4 reasons why Atmel is ready to ride the IoT wave


The IoT recipe comprises of three key technology components: Sensing, computing and communications.


In 2014, a Goldman Sachs’ report took many people by surprise when it picked Atmel Corporation as the company best positioned to take advantage of the rising Internet of Things (IoT) tsunami. At the same time, the report omitted tech industry giants like Apple and Google from the list of companies that could make a significant impact on the rapidly expanding IoT business. So what makes Atmel so special in the IoT arena?

The San Jose, California–based chipmaker has been proactively building its ‘SMART’ brand of 32-bit ARM-based microcontrollers that boasts an end-to-end design platform for connected devices in the IoT realm. The company with two decades of experience in the MCU business was among the first to license ARM’s low-power processors for IoT chips that target smart home, industrial automation, wearable electronics and more.

Atmel and IoT (Internet of Things)

Goldman Sachs named Atmel a leader in the Internet of Things (IoT) market.

Goldman Sachs named Atmel a leader in the Internet of Things (IoT) market

A closer look at the IoT ingredients and Atmel’s product portfolio shows why Goldman Sachs called Atmel a leader in the IoT space. For starters, Atmel is among the handful of chipmakers that cover all the bases in IoT hardware value chain: MCUs, sensors and wireless connectivity.

1. A Complete IoT Recipe

The IoT recipe comprises of three key technology components: Sensing, computing and communications. Atmel offers sensor products and is a market leader in MCU-centric sensor fusion solutions than encompass context awareness, embedded vision, biometric recognition, etc.

For computation—handling tasks related to signal processing, bit manipulation, encryption, etc.—the chipmaker from Silicon Valley has been offering a diverse array of ARM-based microcontrollers for connected devices in the IoT space.

Atmel-IoT-Low-Power-wearable

Atmel has reaffirmed its IoT commitment through a number of acquisitions.

Finally, for wireless connectivity, Atmel has cobbled a broad portfolio made up of low-power Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee radio technologies. Atmel’s $140 million acquisition of Newport Media in 2014 was a bid to accelerate the development of low-power Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips for IoT applications. Moreover, Atmel could use Newport’s product expertise in Wi-Fi communications for TV tuners to make TV an integral part of the smart home solutions.

Furthermore, communications across the Internet depends on the TCP/IP stack, which is a 32-bit protocol for transmitting packets on the Internet. Atmel’s microcontrollers are based on 32-bit ARM cores and are well suited for TCP/IP-centric Internet communications fabric.

2. Low Power Leadership

In February 2014, Atmel announced the entry-level ARM Cortex M0+-based microcontrollers for the IoT market. The SAM D series of low-power MCUs—comprising of D21, D10 and D11 versions—featured Atmel’s signature high-end features like peripheral touch controller, USB interface and SERCOM module. The connected peripherals work flawlessly with Cortex M0+ CPU through the Event System that allows system developers to chain events in software and use an event to trigger a peripheral without CPU involvement.

According to Andreas Eieland, Director of Product Marketing for Atmel’s MCU Business Unit, the IoT design is largely about three things: Battery life, cost and ease-of-use. The SAM D microcontrollers aim to bring the ease-of-use and price-to-performance ratio to the IoT products like smartwatches where energy efficiency is crucial. Atmel’s SAM D family of microcontrollers was steadily building a case for IoT market when the company’s SAM L21 microcontroller rocked the semiconductor industry in March 2015 by claiming the leadership in low-power Cortex-M IoT design.

Atmel’s SAM L21 became the lowest power ARM Cortex-M microcontroller when it topped the EEMBC benchmark measurements. It’s plausible that another MCU maker takes over the EEMBC benchmarks in the coming months. However, according to Atmel’s Eieland, what’s important is the range of power-saving options that an MCU can bring to product developers.

“There are many avenues to go down on the low path, but they are getting complex,” Eieland added. He quoted features like multiple clock domains, event management system and sleepwalking that provide additional levels of configurability for IoT product developers. Such a set of low-power technologies that evolves in successive MCU families can provide product developers with a common platform and a control on their initiatives to lower power consumption.

3. Coping with Digital Insecurity

In the IoT environment, multiple device types communicate with each other over a multitude of wireless interfaces like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy. And IoT product developers are largely on their own when it comes to securing the system. The IoT security is a new domain with few standards and IoT product developers heavily rely on the security expertise of chip suppliers.

Atmel offers embedded security solutions for IoT designs.

Atmel, with many years of experience in crypto hardware and Trusted Platform Modules, is among the first to offer specialized security hardware for the IoT market. It has recently shipped a crypto authentication device that has integrated the Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) security protocol. Atmel’s ATECC508A chip provides confidentiality, data integrity and authentication in systems with MCUs or MPUs running encryption/decryption algorithms like AES in software.

4. Power of the Platform

The popularity of 8-bit AVR microcontrollers is a testament to the power of the platform; once you learn to work on one MCU, you can work on any of the AVR family microcontrollers. And same goes for Atmel’s Smart family of microcontrollers aimed for the IoT market. While ARM shows a similarity among its processors, Atmel exhibits the same trait in the use of its peripherals.

Low-power SAM L21 builds on features of SAM D MCUs.

A design engineer can conveniently work on Cortex-M3 and Cortex -M0+ processor after having learned the instruction set for Cortex-M4. Likewise, Atmel’s set of peripherals for low-power IoT applications complements the ARM core benefits. Atmel’s standard features like sleep modes, sleepwalking and event system are optimized for ultra-low-power use, and they can extend IoT battery lifetime from years to decades.

Atmel, a semiconductor outfit once focused on memory and standard products, began its transformation toward becoming an MCU company about eight years ago. That’s when it also started to build a broad portfolio of wireless connectivity solutions. In retrospect, those were all the right moves. Fast forward to 2015, Atmel seems ready to ride on the market wave created by the IoT technology juggernaut.

Interested? You may also want to read:

Atmel’s L21 MCU for IoT Tops Low Power Benchmark

Atmel’s New Car MCU Tips Imminent SoC Journey

Atmel’s Sensor Hub Ready to Wear


Majeed Ahmad is author of books Smartphone: Mobile Revolution at the Crossroads of Communications, Computing and Consumer Electronics and The Next Web of 50 Billion Devices: Mobile Internet’s Past, Present and Future.

Report: Internet of Things expected to quadruple in size by 2020


Verizon reveals that while the IoT has expanded massively in the last couple of years, we’ve barely scratched the surface.


The Internet of Things has certainly transcended beyond its state of infancy and is well on its way of gaining momentum, according to Verizon at least. In its latest findings, the carrier revealed that more than a billion devices are already connected and running business-to-business IoT operations.

verizon-iot

In its “State of the Market” reportVerizon published that there were 1.2 billion various smart devices, and that the number is expected to rise to 5.4 billion by 2020 for an annual growth rate of 28%.

“It’s not hype. The Internet of Things is already having a massive impact on business. It offers organizations the opportunity to transform how they operate, and gives both new entrants and established players the ability to innovate and disrupt,” the company writes. “Adoption is growing rapidly, but IoT isn’t yet widespread. Whether you’re in the public sector or private; big or small — if you don’t have an IoT strategy, you should.”

Verizon experienced a 45% year-over-year revenue growth in its IoT business in 2014, with 4G LTE activations growing by 135%. Currently, the telecom manages more than 15 million IoT-enabled connections for a wide range of industries. To date, company experts estimate that just 10% of enterprises have deployed IoT technologies extensively, however research commissioned by Verizon from ABI Research forecasts massive growth ahead, with the number of business-to-business IoT connections more than quadrupling over the next five years.

Additionally, the global communications company also cites ABI Research in its revelations that organizations will introduce more than 13 million health and fitness tracking devices to the enterprise by 2018. In doing so, wearables can enhance wellness throughout the workplace, not to mention improve efficiency in hospitals and reduce the cost of healthcare.

b2b_iot_verizon_forecast

Among those who use Verizon’s services, manufacturing has seen the biggest increase in machine-to-machine operations, with a 204% increase year-over-year. It’s followed by finance and insurance with a 128% increase, and media and entertainment, which has experience an uptick of 120%. Home monitoring and hospitality weren’t too far beyond with 89% and 88% jumps, respectively. Verizon data also shows an 83% YoY growth in IoT in the transportation and distribution sector as well.

In fact, Verizon’s telematics experts note that 14 car manufacturers account for 80% of the worldwide automotive market, and all of them have a connected car strategy. The report predicts that by 2025, at least five countries will have set a “zero road fatalities” target, relying on intelligent connected cars and smart road infrastructure to avoid and mitigate accidents.

Verizon analysts add that in 10 years, smart cities capabilities will become a critical consideration for companies deciding where to invest and open facilities, due to their impact on operating costs and talent availability. Recent data already shows a 46% YoY growth in the number of IoT connections in the public sector.

According to the report, IoT growth is being fueled by a mix of technological, political and social factors which are driving more organizations to adopt IoT-enabled solutions. For example, use of social media and mobile technology has transformed consumer and citizen expectations, while the declining cost of sensors, connectivity, and data processing power is making the ROI equations for IoT projects look even more appealing.

The carrier went on to highlight ever-growing security concerns for a constantly-connected world as well by noting, “In a mature IoT world, there will be millions of intelligent endpoints, such as cars, pacemakers, and aircon units, each equipped with dozens of active sensors and millions of lines of code. Many of these endpoints will be accessible, often physically, to hackers. The network connections that these endpoints use to communicate may also be vulnerable, giving access to central applications and databases.”

Interested in reading the Verizon report in its entirety? Download it here.

Report: 40% of business leaders expect the IoT to affect their organization in 3 years


 The IoT will have a significant or transformational impact on businesses over the next three years.


Nearly in 4 in 10 organizations expect the Internet of Things (IoT) to transform their business or offer significant new revenue and cost-savings opportunities over the next three years, according to a new study by Gartner. More so, the research firm found approximately 60% of enterprises believe the IoT will offer cost-saving opportunities in the long term.

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The survey, which was carried out in October 2014 among a Gartner-managed panel, was composed of 463 IT and business leaders who had knowledge of their organization’s IoT strategy. However, the research did find that many of their companies have not yet established clear business or technical leadership for their IoT efforts.

“The survey confirmed that the IoT is very immature, and many organizations have only just started experimenting with it,” explained Gartner Vice President Nick Jones. “Only a small minority have deployed solutions in a production environment. However, the falling costs of networking and processing mean that there are few economic inhibitors to adding sensing and communications to products costing as little as a few tens of dollars. The real challenge of the IoT is less in making products ‘smart’ and more in understanding the business opportunities enabled by smart products and new ecosystems.”

A useful indicator of the degree to which organizations are prepared for the IoT is whether they’ve identified technical and business leadership for their IoT efforts. The study found that less than one-quarter of respondents have established clear business leadership for the IoT, either in the form of a single organizational unit owning the issue or multiple business units taking ownership of separate IoT efforts.

“While a single leader for the IoT is not essential, leadership and vision are important, even in the form of several leaders from different business units,” said Steve Kleynhans, Gartner Research Vice President.

2014-IoT-Campaign-Applications

Furthermore, just over one-third (35%) of respondents who expect the IoT to have a significant or transformational impact are often working for organizations have some form of established leadership in place. Many survey respondents felt that the senior levels of their organizations don’t yet have a good understanding of its potential impact; yet, it’s important to note that attitudes toward the IoT vary widely by industry. For example, board of directors’ understanding of the IoT was rated as particularly weak in government, education, banking and insurance, whereas the communications and services industries scored above-average ratings for senior executive understanding of the IoT.

Security and privacy are, unsurprisingly, top issues and industries dealing with intangibles were more concerned with security and privacy than those dealing with tangibles because many operate in very security-aware areas such as banking,” Jones added.

Last year, Gartner projected over 20% of enterprises will have digital security services for business initiatives using IoT devices by 2017. The firm also forecasted that the IoT will be comprised of 26 billion devices, generating over $300 billion in incremental revenue in the next five years. Not to mention, 50% of all IoT solutions will originate from startups less than three years old.

Nonetheless, Gartner did admit that experts will soon begin to emerge within enterprises. “We expect that over the next three years, more organizations will establish clear leadership, and more will recognize the value of some form of an IoT center of excellence because of the need to master a wide range of new technologies and skills,” Kleynhans concluded.

Interested in learning more? You can find the entire study from Gartner here. Meanwhile, you can discover the latest in the Internet of Things here.