EEWeb recently conducted an interview with Reza Kazerounian, Senior VP and GM of the Microcontroller Business Unit at Atmel. In part one of our synopsis, we reviewed how Kazerounian defined the Internet of Things, detailed the company’s comprehensive IoT portfolio and discussed Atmel’s relationship with the rapidly growing DIY Maker Movement.
Kazerounian went on to confirm that Atmel is currently working with a number of customers to market various IoT applications.
“These customers range from smart metering, to industrial, consumer applications similar to Nest, [as well as] medical and white goods. Many of these customers have been working with Atmel for years and are in production with our technologies today,” he explained.
“With the dawn of the Internet of Things, these products are being categorized under a broader market—the IoT. An example includes connected thermostats in the home and building automation sector, [which] have [actually] been around for a while.”
However, says Kazerounian, it was not until recently that such devices were considered mainstream.
“It took mass adoption of smart tablets, smartphones and other smart consumer devices to enable more of these ‘connected’ devices to be easily accessible to the Internet and available at a cost-effective price point,” he added.
Indeed, “separate” technologies for IoT have been around for some time, but the requirements to seamlessly run numerous technologies simultaneously took longer to achieve.
“For example, connecting your smartphone at home to control your lighting is becoming a reality today. Another important factor for the IoT is wireless connectivity. These connectivity solutions operate on a number of different standards including Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, and others,” Reza continued.
“For IoT applications, it’s important to adopt the right wireless standard based on the application and consumer requirements. For example, if you want a device that is connected to a wireless network at home and can traffic the data with a high data rate, Wi-Fi is the most viable type of technology. For wearable devices, you would need a wireless connection with the lowest power consumption available since many of today’s wearable devices run on batteries.”
Kazerounian also noted that the IoT landscape is populated by applications with embedded processing and connectivity requirements that offer companies such as Atmel an advantage.
“[Indeed, we] made a recent investment in our connectivity portfolio over a year ago [by] acquiring Ozmo Devices, a Wi-Fi connectivity company. Adding to our broad wireless product portfolio, this strategic acquisition helped us enhance our Wi-Fi connectivity solutions, an important part of our strategy for targeting the IoT market,” he said.
“Atmel also has a broad portfolio of touch technologies, from capacitive touch buttons, sliders and wheels to touchscreens. As sensors and sensing nodes become an important part of the IoT ecosystem, our embedded processing solutions can combine input from multiple sensors to provide real-time direction, orientation and inclination data to bring visibly superior performance to gaming, navigation, augmented reality and more.”
Reza concluded his interview with EE Web by emphasizing that Atmel views microcontrollers (MCUs) as an essential building block for every PC, consumer device, industrial machine, home connectivity device and automobile. To be sure, MCUs are playing an increasingly critical role in the lucrative space.
“As the semiconductor industry has transitioned from PCs to mobile, IoT will now rise to become the predominant market,” Kazerounian explained. ”This transition will favor ultra-low power and integration of microcontrollers, wireless connectivity, security, touch technologies and sensor management products. Atmel is uniquely positioned and fully committed to maintaining our leadership position in the microcontroller industry – and to do so requires winning in the IoT.”
Note: This is part two of a two-part series. Part one can be read here.