Picture the connected factory of the future. The factory floor hums with activity – motors spinning, robotic arms shifting about, equipment humming and vibrating with electricity. Everything the eye can see – and more – is connected electronically. This is the vision of the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
A multitude of data is being continually relayed from each machine to a remote server in the cloud and back – conveying a digital “mirror image” of each piece of equipment and its status – from the vibrations and noise produced to the temperature and humidity emitted. In the cloud, data analytics are applied to capture each machine’s “normal state” – and alert operators remotely if anything out of the ordinary occurs.
The connectivity needed to link the equipment in the industrial Internet of Things and relay information to the cloud could include Sub-1 GHz, Wi-Fi® network(s), and/or a local Bluetooth® low energy connection to help operators locate equipment in the factory using beacons, then connect directly to configure and service or operate the equipment.
“A system deploying all of these ‘connectivity standards’ would require three wireless technologies on top of any wired connections,” said Systems Engineer Roger Monk. “In the past, this would have required the engineers to develop three separate products, use three sets of tools, manage many sets of software dependencies, and climb a big learning curve.”
Moreover, they might have to go through the same process all over again if a new connectivity standard emerges later. It could slow or delay the pace of innovation for the IIoT.
But with our new SimpleLink™ microcontroller (MCU) platform – available now – the whole system can be built with one product family and easily configured for the required connectivity technology with a common software update mechanism, peripheral drivers and development environment.
The platform allows developers to use simple plug-ins to reuse 100 percent of the code already developed whenever the connectivity needs of an end product evolve. It is also possible to add another connectivity standard later with an additional plug-in. Watch this short video to see how it works.
“I see this platform as a game-changer,” said Ajinder Singh, general manager of building automation.
“From the development cycle that can now be shortened, to improving the ease of maintaining software, developers of industrial designs will see a lot of efficiencies."
Moreover, for a lot of our industrial customers, understanding and enabling products such as garage door opener or sprinkler systems across different connectivity standards is relatively a new journey that requires resources and additional skillset. SimpleLink offers an efficient, and highly scalable and sustainable platform that will make it easier for developers to adopt future connectivity standards into their products, thus shortening their development cycle.
The platform allows developers to use existing and future products across our Connected MCU portfolio – along with a cohesive software platform and a common set of tools.
The SimpleLink MCU platform is designed to protect developers’ software investments for equipment they are building today and in the future.
“For our customers, this solves the biggest challenge that engineers face when designing with connected microcontrollers. Adapting to a new connectivity standard previously meant starting the most time consuming and costly portion of the design – software – over. With SimpleLink MCU, that is no longer the case,” said Ray Upton, vice president and general manager of Connected MCU.
Innovators can now have more agile development cycles, spend less on development, get to market faster and expand their product offering more quickly. In this fast-growing market, the standards change rapidly, and this platform now offers unparalleled flexibility.
Often during early development stages, the processing performance, peripheral interfaces and wireless connectivity options needed for an application aren’t known until a significant proportion of the development work has been done, or until field trials and user feedback is received.
“With this platform, developers can start out quickly building first versions of their products on a solid base platform for testing, knowing that they will be able to easily innovate or differentiate, changing components as necessary without having to re-invest in software development for the new features,” Roger said. “Being able to adapt and push those decisions later in the product development has huge benefits for customers.”
Developers can use our cloud-based resource, dev.ti.com, to browse and rebuild example applications on the cloud server, then create application-specific projects to run on real hardware. We also offer an expanding online “SimpleLink Academy” with step-by-step guides targeted toward specific components.
“We’ve had customers quickly evaluate performance of algorithms or even cloud protocols using these tools without spending any time installing custom tools locally. They’ve even been able to share those ‘cloud’ projects with worldwide development teams,” said Roger.
From our SimpleLink MSP432™ MCUs to our Wi-Fi products, our SimpleLink portfolio streamlines our development platforms and makes it easier for our innovators to work across these platforms.
“We think about platforms in terms of new silicon and new features, but really when we step back and look at the problems we’re trying to solve, we’ve found that protecting our customers’ software investment is key,” said Ray.
The SimpleLink MCU platform is available today, recently launched at Embedded World. Watch the Facebook Live announcement here.
To learn more about the platform, here are two related white papers:
in the latest announcements of the simplelink I don't see any mention of the cc2650. Is it supported on the new SDK or it will be in the near future?
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