Sometimes no appropriate semiconductors for the particular market or the desired design exist. A reason for this might be that this market moves or changes too quickly; however, it might also be that the classic semiconductor manufacturers feel that a market or a field of application is not attractive.
Under its EBVchips programme, EBV Elektronik is able to create a solution for such ‘white spots’ relatively quickly. Two of the products which come under EBVchips are not pure semiconductors but wireless modules, known as Vesta and Maia, for special applications. Vesta and Maia provide developers with a platform which they can use to bring a software-configurable product with Internet connection to the market relatively quickly. While Vesta is a sub-GHz module for IP500 mesh networks, Maia is a sub-GHz module which EBV delivers with approved stacks for M-Bus and OMS.
Sensor Technology and Low-Power
Sensors, which capture the status quo of various quantities, constitute an important element of the Internet of Things. EBV Elektronik is fully equipped with its very wide range of sensors.
An intelligent pre-processing of the sensor data directly at the sensor permits a significant reduction in the data volumes transmitted over the RF interface. Thus, the frequency band used is less heavily loaded and the required expenditure of energy on transmission is reduced. It is precisely in such cases where sensor data are to be captured in the field, possibly pre-processed and then transmitted onwards, that Low Power Design is often a very important topic: one good example of this is a battery-operated temperature sensor which transmits its data over an RF connection to a computer. The smaller the energy requirement for the switching is, the longer the sensor system is able to operate without a battery recharge and the lower the maintenance cost is. Above all, the low power microcontrollers produced by Atmel, Freescale, NXP and STMicroelectronics, which contain an ultra-low power processor core from ARM, now provide for astonishingly long battery lifetime.
The data processing is followed by actuator control, so EBV’s programme includes a wide range of motor drivers for the regulation and control of motors. EBV also offers many possible solutions for smart lighting involving intelligent lighting solutions – including the control of brightness and colour temperature.
Data security is a delicate but extremely important topic. In order to sensitise them to this topic EBV asks its clients certain questions such as ‘Have your products already been copied?’
During an analysis of competitors, one of our clients discovered that a certain device was an exact copy of its own product. How high is the risk that someone will access the data, manipulate them or pass himself off as authorised to the data and tap into them?
The level of demand for security and identification products is currently accelerating massively: while up to about a year ago EBV only received three or four queries per year about ID and security solutions, it is currently receiving between 15 and 20 queries per month.
As far as the topic of identification and security is concerned EBV has all the market leaders on its product line card, including the manufacturers Atmel, Infineon, NXP and ST. Depending on the application, even a small crypto-component can have a large effect, sometimes complete security solutions with key management etc. are also called for.
In this area too EBV works with corresponding partners such as, for example, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security (Fraunhofer AISEC) in Garching near Munich. EBV’s FAEs are specially trained in security and help developers to recognise the potential dangers and work through the corresponding issues.
Since very few medium-sized companies have the resources to create their own secure server infrastructure, joint working with appropriate specialists in the field is an absolute must in this area in order to ensure the long-term success and the survival of the business.
For direct connection between devices, sensors, remote units, display elements, etc., wireless transmission technologies such as Wi-Fi (WLAN, 802.11), Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart (BLE), 802.15.4 (6LoWPAN, Zigbee…), cellular (GSM, UMTS, LTE) and proprietary solutions are used. New technologies and protocols are constantly being added for the introduction of the IoT (Internet of Things).