Silicon Labs IoT Solutions Behind the Energy Transition

02/02/2024 | Silicon Labs | 3 Min Read

In the face of a rapidly warming climate and urgent calls to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the ways we make and use electricity have taken center stage. Energy production, transmission, and consumption systems – i.e., “the grid” – are being reimagined, and innovators from a wide array of industries are rising to the challenge and driving what has been appropriately dubbed “the energy transition.”

Major players, including governments, utility companies, and climate tech companies, have identified the IoT as an indispensable tool in the energy transition. Harnessing wireless connectivity and emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) to create smart cities has already increased efficiency and reduced energy use, which puts less stress on the grid and reduces consumer costs. A smart city ecosystem shifts from using individual, stand-alone products to interconnected product systems.

As an industry leader in the IoT with a long record of excellence, Silicon Labs is a valuable asset to any company developing connectivity-based, digital smart city and energy efficiency solutions.


The Role of Silicon Labs in Energy Transition Solutions

Silicon Labs creates hardware, software, and solutions for IoT developers who design products intended to improve our world and our lives. With a diverse selection of System-on-Chips (SoCs), expertise on all major and minor IoT standards and protocols, and exceptionally high standards of quality and security, we support changemakers who are reinventing energy management, electrification, and distribution.

A good example of our strength in this sector is the recent release of Silicon Labs’ FG25 Sub-GHz Wireless SoCs, which boast faster processing speeds, large memories, and built-in long-distance transmitters designed specifically for smart city applications like smart metering and building automation. The SoCs are equipped with multiple modulation schemes – multi-rate OFDM, FSK, and O-QPSK – that facilitate efficient data transmission and interoperability with other smart devices while preventing interference from devices operating on higher frequency bands, making them ideal for use in dense, “noisy” environments. They are also Wi-SUN FAN (Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Network, Field Area Network) certified, qualifying them as a future-proof option for IoT developers driving the deployment of urban technologies of tomorrow.


Real-World Energy Grid Impact of Silicon Labs IoT Solutions

The FG25 chip family has already been put to the test in real-world city infrastructure and has proven to be a true game changer.

Japan has been updating its energy grid in the name of resilience since 2014. In Japan, Wi-SUN has already been deployed at scale as a critical enabler of smart city developments, and momentum is picking up as the country works to achieve its goal of replacing 80% of conventional electricity meters with smart meters by 2024. Nagano Japan Radio Co., Ltd., one of the many companies involved in Japan’s ambitious energy transition, has been developing modules for smart meters and related infrastructure to support this goal. The FG25 sub-GHz SoCs were the natural choice of hardware for this venture due to their Wi-SUN compatibility, high-performance speeds, and superior security features included in Silicon Labs’ signature Secure Vault™ technology. The use of FG25 SoCs in Nagano Japan Radio Co. Ltd.'s hardware solutions for smart meters ensured easy mass deployment, consistently high-quality service, and universally protected data.

India has implemented a similar smart metering goal – replacing 250 million conventional electricity meters with smart meters by 2026 – to eliminate inefficiencies in the country’s energy system and prevent energy theft. CyanConnode, a global leader in narrowband mesh networking, used Silicon Labs’ FG25 sub-GHz SoCs and FAN-certified Wi-SUN stack to support this endeavor. Working with Silicon Labs instead of continuing to use proprietary hardware and software allowed CyanConnode to devote more time and resources to developing a robust and reliable mesh network while still delivering high-quality, low-latency, safe products that will stand the test of time to their customers.

Landis+GYR, an industry-defining energy management company and long-time collaborator of Silicon Labs, used the FG25 line when developing Wi-SUN compatible solutions for its utility customers. The use of Silicon Labs SoCs has set up its customers for future success as the use of Wi-SUN becomes more prevalent. The FG25 SoCs are simultaneously compatible with the proprietary software that Landis+GYR has used in the past and have the same form factor as the FG12 SoCs used in previous modules produced by the company, which ensures backward-compatibility and means no customers will be left behind. Our long partnership with Landis+GYR has allowed Silicon Labs to integrally support informed and sustainable resource management in the markets that Landis+GYR serves. We are excited to continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and deliver ever-improving energy solutions to our collaborators and their customers.


Silicon Labs’ Innovation Drives Energy Transition

In recognition of the urgent need to change our collective energy habits, Silicon Labs is committed to supporting visionaries who are driving the development and deployment of smart city, smart grid, and electrification technologies. We are designing reliable, secure, and adaptable hardware and software solutions and forming productive partnerships with mission-driven IoT innovators to bolster rapid and efficient change in energy usage and consumption. By doing so, Silicon Labs is determined to turn the bright future envisioned by smart cities into a reality.

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