Silicon Labs launches SoC for smart energy, home automation

Semiconductor maker Silicon Labs has launched a new system-on-a-chip (SoC) family to meet the needs of more advanced smart energy and home automation products.

The company’s ARM-based EM358X SoC family provides additional flash and RAM memory options, while also offering USB connectivity and a local-storage bootloader aimed at helping developers to reduce bill of material costs and system complexity.

Silicon Labs (Austin, TX, USA) also said the SoC family was ideal as a mesh networking platform for “feature-rich, next-generation ZigBee applications.

The additional memory is intended to minimize the need for a separate system processor, meaning that developers can collapse multi-processor designs into a single ZigBee SoC to reduce cost and the size of the final product.

By offering larger flash and RAM memory options, Silicon Labs also hopes to support developers with the design of more future-proof smart energy applications, such as smart meters, whose lifespan could be up to 20 years.

According to Silicon Labs, the local-storage bootloader will ease application development and allow products such as smart meters or security sensors to be easily upgraded as new features are deployed.

“Ember ZigBee SoCs provide a key enabling wireless technology for the Internet of Things with numerous applications in smart energy, home automation, connected lighting and security,” said Geir Forre, senior vice president and general manager of Silicon Labs’ microcontroller and wireless products. “By offering more memory and connectivity options, our EM358x SoCs make it easier and more cost-effective to deploy ZigBee in a wide range of home automation and smart energy applications.”

Silicon Labs said that samples of the new SoCs are now available and that production quantities are planned for the second quarter of 2014.