Atmel’s SmartConnect family delivers ultra-low power turnkey wireless connectivity for IoT



Atmel, a leader in microcontroller (MCU) and touch technology solutions, released a family of solutions targeting the Internet of Things. The SmartConnect family combines Atmel’s ultra-low power MCUs with its wireless solutions and complementary software into a single package, allowing designers to easily add wireless connectivity to any embedded system without sacrificing design time. This family includes Atmel’s SmartConnect Wi-Fi modules, an integration of the company’s ultra-low power Wi-Fi System-on-Chip with a Cortex M0+ ARM-based MCU, and the SmartConnect ZigBee SAM R21, a single-chip integrating Atmel’s ultra-low power ZigBee solution with a Cortex-M0+-based MCU.

The SmartConnect family integrates Atmel’s ultra-low power Wi-Fi and 802.15.4 solutions with a low-power Atmel ARM® Cortex® M0+-based MCU. Atmel’s Wi-Fi solutions deliver industry-leading low-power consumption and are the leading market solution for power-constraint applications such as remote controls. Atmel also has a long history of providing ultra-low power wireless connectivity for sophisticated applications that are IEEE 802.15.4-compliant, IPv6/6LoWPAN-based and ZigBee®-certified for nearly a decade. Atmel’s broad portfolio of wireless products combine the company’s rich family of RF transceivers with 8- and 32-bit AVRs and ARM- based MCUs.

“Ultra-low power wireless connectivity is critical for embedded applications in the era of the Internet of Things,” said Reza Kazerounian, Sr. Vice President and General Manager, Microcontroller Business Unit, Atmel. “Atmel’s SmartConnect technology is about simplifying the use of embedded wireless connectivity technologies and enabling users to accelerate their time-to-market. This simplicity allows all players to participate in the IoT market, fueling the innovation needed to accelerate adoption.”

“With over 50 billion devices predicted to be connected by 2020, it’s important for embedded companies to provide an ultra-low power turnkey solution that brings a complex mix of embedded and connectivity technologies in a single package,” said Greg Potter, Analyst, SNL Kagan MRG. “Atmel’s new SmartConnect family does just that by coupling ultra-low power MCUs with Wi-Fi and ZigBee connectivity into a single package. The company’s breadth of easy-to-use IoT solutions, ranging from embedded processing to connectivity and software/tools, will enable more designers to bring their connected devices to market.”

SmartConnect Wi-Fi – Providing designers with more flexibility to help accelerate their development, this new family of modules helps bring wireless Internet connectivity to any embedded design. The first products will be an ultra-low power family of Wi-Fi modules that enable battery-powered IoT endpoints such as thermostats, temperature sensors through Wi-Fi connectivity, without compromising battery life.

These highly integrated modules enable designers to lower their overall bill of materials while integrating IEEE 802.11 a/b/g wireless connectivity. Additionally, the new Wi-Fi modules provide an integrated software solution with application and security protocols such as TLS, integrated network services (TCP/IP stack) and standard Real Time Operating System (RTOS) which are all available through Atmel’s Studio 6 integrated development platform (IDP). SmartConnect Wi-Fi will be available in mass production in May 2014

Leveraging Atmel’s long history of ultra-low power ZigBee solutions, these new products integrate Atmel’s ARM Cortex-M0+-based MCUs with a robust peripheral set and its high-performance RF transceiver. The new single-chip series is available in extremely small 5x5mm 32- pin and 7x7mm 48-pin package saving board space and reducing the overall bill of materials.

These devices also come in a variety of memory densities and are qualified for industrial temperature grades up to 125C, making them ideal for wireless lighting control applications such as ZigBee Light Link. These new devices are fully supported by the wireless composer in Atmel’s Studio 6 IDP, and to help accelerate the development time, an ATSAM R21 Xplained PRO board is available through the Atmel Store.

Atmel is sampling the ATSAM R21 series to select customers now. Public sampling will be available the end of March with production quantities available in July 2014.
Pricing for the SAM R21 starts at USD $2.75 in 10,000-piece quantities.