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SiLabs CEO Plots Slow, Steady IoT Strategy

6/23/2017 01:41 PM EDT
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Re: IoT SoCs ??? - perhaps a typo -- only IoT modules so far
junko.yoshida   6/26/2017 10:06:57 AM
@sranje, thanks for your comments.

I see your point -- that what's available today is an IoT module, not a single-chip solution.

That said, I don't think Silicon Labs was overhyping the case.

Sure, a user may not care what's inside a module, as you noted.

But a chip company like Silicon Labs has to start somewhere. In this case the company has designed a variety of Gecko chips on the same platform, each wtih different performance levels, different size of memory and connectivity features.

Then, each of those chips, depending on the use case scenario of the end system, will be housed in a module. At least, that's my understanding.




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Re: BT power tools are already here
junko.yoshida   6/26/2017 9:55:34 AM
@TonyTib, much appreciate your tip. I think something like the one designed by Milwaukee you mentioned here would be an overkill for a regular consumer], but I bet it's useful for builders who has to mange their construction crew and site.

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IoT SoCs ??? - perhaps a typo -- only IoT modules so far
sranje   6/23/2017 7:55:19 PM
Dear Junko, 

Please check your tape recorder on what SiLabs CEO actually stated... ;-))

 Facing tens of thousands of customers, how can you support them all, and scale your IoT chip business? The only way it is "to build a platform around the IoT SoC," from which multiple products can be spawned, explained Tuttle. "Simplicity of design is the key to support for our customers." 

So far there are NO IoT SoC solutions for an  IoT Edge or Gateway devices – only modules with multiple dies + passives.  IoT fragmentation is one of the barriers to IoT SoCs
  • In most cases these are EMS-type modules (components on PCB)
  • In select cases these are OSAT SiP modules (substrate - L/S 30 micron or smaller)

Of course IC vendors are pitching their "SoC solutions". "monolithic die solutions", etc. -- these are marketing hype pitches.  

  -- The user sees a QFN or FBGA package and could care less what is inside - a SoC or stacked wirebonded dies with passives

  -- A great opportunity to falsely pitch "highly integrated monolithic SoC solution"

Only a teardown and package analysis will show that an entire IoT node solution is not a SoC at all....  


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BT power tools are already here
TonyTib   6/23/2017 4:49:36 PM
Junko, if you want to follow up on Bluetooth in cordless power tools you should try to get in contact with Milwaukee, since their high end M18 Fuel power tools are available with optional Bluetooth ("One Key"), typically for about $50 more.  I have no clue how successful One Key has been.

One Key features include locking the tool (as mentioned in your article), customizing the tool (torque settings and such), asset management, and reporting.  Although the M18 Fuel tools are impressive (with specially designed brushless motors), I don't have any first hand experience since they're total overkill for me (instead, I went with much cheaper Ryobi tools, which BTW are made by the same company, TTI of Hong Kong, since they recently bought Milwaukee tools).

Link to One Key page:

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sensors & IoT
MattCrowley   6/23/2017 3:26:14 PM
Nice article Junko. One area where I disagree is the notion that using a smartphone to activate a BT enabled power tool or similar workflow will ever take off. The cost benefit on that kind of work flow does not make sense and the smartphone as a remote control for all the products in your house or workplace is cumbersome and impractical. As a sensor company, I submit that a passive sensor enabled device, such as a voice interface smart speaker, improves the ease of use enough to make these products practical. I am already starting to see customers implement voice and other sensor interfaces in a huge range of products, some of which are not connected to the internet and only do local processing. 

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