STMicroeletronics (ST), an exhibitor at the CompoSec pavilion of Secutech 2017, showcased a series of MCU solutions with smart home and smart city applications, in the midst of the Internet of Things (IoT) trend.
Microcontroller units or MCUs are systems on chips that collect data from embedded devices or sensors that otherwise don’t have a CPU installed in them. The MCU processes the data somewhat and relay the data to a wireless module, which then transmits the data to a gateway that sends the data up to the cloud.
During the show, ST showcased its wide range of MCU products, which include lower-end 8-bit MCUs up to 32-bit ARM-based Cortex M series for more advanced applications. “We’ve got the industry’s most complete line of MCU products,” said Terry Yu, Technical Marketing Section Manager for Asia Pacific at STMicroelectronics. “This way we can satisfy the different needs of customers with models from the lower end to the high end. We also provide comprehensive development tools that help shorten customers’ development period.”
Due to the nature of the MCU functionality it now plays an important role in IoT, where connected devices and sensors communicate with each other to achieve further automation in various user scenarios, including homes, offices and cities.
“Say we have a smart home scenario where I open the door, and the sensor detects my presence. It then transmits the signal to the gateway, which then instructs the main light to turn on,” Yu said. “The light includes an MCU and a wireless module that receives this instruction.”
MCUs can also be useful in smart city applications. Specifically, MCUs can work with LoRa, a low-power long-distance wireless transmission protocol that can transfer data across a city.
“LoRa has become a popular concept in the smart city discourse. For example the city can place different types of environmental sensors on a lamppost. Combined with MCUs and LoRa modules the data can get transmitted to the cloud, and the user can then check their smart devices and get more informed about the city, for example its temperature and humidity level,” Yu said, adding ST already has reference boards with ST MCUs as well as LoRa modules to show customers what the technology can do.
According to Yu, the company eyes the Asian market with great optimism. “We are amazingly surprised by the flourishing smart home and smart city markets in Asia,” he said. “It’s a huge market with lots of potential.”