Recently we had the opportunity to speak with Gabi Daniely, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of CoreTigo, an Israeli start-up founded by two wireless engineers with experience from companies such as Texas Instruments and Apple. In the two and a half years since CoreTigo’s inception, the company has driven the IO-Link Consortium to launch a new wireless standard developed specifically for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and mission critical environments. The new IO-Link Wireless protocol helps manufacturing companies solve the universal challenge of reliable wireless solutions fit for harsh industrial requirements on the factory floor for reducing complexity. CoreTigo enables solutions that cannot be implemented with cables, increasing flexibility and mobility and adding intelligence anywhere in the most cost-effective manner. Gabi explains how CoreTigo came about and how early adopters of the standard are using it to improve their manufacturing processes and yields.
Tell me about the origin of CoreTigo, how did the company get its start?
Our two company founders are veterans of the wireless market. Our CEO ran the wireless business unit for Texas Instruments, and our VP of R&D spent time designing and developing wireless solutions at both Texas Instruments and Apple. As wireless experts, they both saw a void in the industrial market for mission-critical wireless networks. Typical wireless networks, such as Zigbee, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, are not designed for meeting the harsh demands at the control, or actuator, level of factory automation. In these environments, machines require low latency, cable-grade reliability, and a deterministic and scalable network to manage dozens of devices within a machine area.
Based on these needs, our founders approached the IO-Link Consortium, and along with its members defined the IO-Link Wireless protocol, a new reliable wireless communication solution tailored for factory automation. With that vision in mind, CoreTigo was able to secure $14 million in Series A funding in 2018, and the IO-Link Wireless standard was officially launched in 2018 with the support of the consortium and many key industrial leading companies.
How are industrial companies using the new wireless protocol?
Machine builders, industrial equipment manufacturers and manufacturing plants are starting to use the protocol across many industrial applications where cabled systems were previously used, which greatly improves the flexibility and agility of the machinery and reduces complexity. Popular areas where IO-Link Wireless solutions are being deployed include transport track systems to reduce changeover and tooling setup time, rotating and dynamic components to add intelligence, machine retrofitting and condition monitoring for pressure, level and flow sensors and end-of-arm devices, such as grippers or vacuum pumps, on robots and collaborative robots to improve flexibility and reduce complexity.
What are the major drivers for industrial connectivity?
Industry 4.0 is the underlying macro trend driving many of the IIoT demands. Companies are seeing the convergence of information technology (IT) with operational factory floor technology and are assessing ways to update their systems and gain major efficiencies. Industrial giants are looking for ways to improve functionality of existing and aging equipment without adding more cables. As we often hear in the industry, cables are the enemy of flexibility and modularity. At the same time, companies are looking to simplify processes while increasing efficiencies as much as possible, and wireless connectivity helps them do this effectively and design new solutions and machines that were not feasible beforehand with cables.
How does Silicon Labs fit into your technology offering?
We are currently using low-power EFR32 Wireless Gecko modules within our TigoAir Low Power modules, which extends IO-Link Wireless to support low power applications even with batteries with a lifetime of 5-10 years. The IO-Link Wireless stack for devices is ready for stack integration with other vendors of industrial equipment and devices. We have plans to eventually deploy Wireless Gecko technology across all of our other solutions. An FCC/CE certified radio module will be ready by the end of the year, thus enabling smoother and faster integrations. Silicon Labs gives us the low-power processing and connectivity we need without adding another MCU or wireless SoC to the architecture, reducing our costs and footprint and keeping the design simple. Silicon Labs’ global support teams in France and Israel. have also provided us great support.
Where do you see IIoT going in the next 5-8 years?
I see a great deal of potential in the future to reduce the complexity associated with industrial manufacturing. Finding easier ways to extract data flow information from industrial processes and connect it with enterprise systems can deliver major efficiency gains for industrial operators. Many companies struggle with successfully pulling data out of the factory floor and visually seeing areas of improvement with enterprise technologies. Then when it’s time to make the improvements, it’s just as difficult to integrate intelligence back onto the factory floor. This is where IoT technology stands to make a tremendous positive impact on the industrial market.
Title: Webinar: Designing Secure Bluetooth 5.2 IoT Products with BG22
Date: March 25 & 26, 2020
Duration: 1 hour
Speaker: Mikko Savolainen, Sr. Marketing Manager, Silicon Labs
According to the Bluetooth SIG, total annual Bluetooth device shipments are forecast to grow 26 percent by 2023 (from 4 billion units in 2019 to 5.4 billion units), and 90 percent of all Bluetooth devices will include Bluetooth Low Energy by 2023.
Secure connectivity and extremely low power consumption will be fundamental requirements for these IoT Bluetooth devices. EFR32BG22 (BG22) is an ideally suited solution that addresses these key requirements providing designers with secure Bluetooth 5.2 solutions that can operate on a single coin cell battery for up to 10 years.
In this webinar Mikko Savolainen, Senior Marketing Manager, explores the Bluetooth LE device opportunity and ultra low power Bluetooth product design with the BG22 and how it delivers the right combination of security, wireless performance, energy efficiency, and software features to meet the market demand for high-volume, battery-powered IoT products.
Join our webinar and get your questions answered during our Live Q&A session at the end.
This week the ioXt Alliance announced the appointment of Gregory Guez, senior director of product marketing and IoT security at Silicon Labs, to its board of directors. Silicon Labs is pleased to join the ioXt Alliance board and support their critical work towards creating the internet of secure things. With the exponential growth of the IoT industry comes an increased risk of security threats, and we are strongly committed to working with the alliance to set global standards that bring security, upgradability and transparency to the market and directly into the hands of consumers.
The alliance features a “ioXt Security Pledge” with eight principles for consumer product design and manufacturing. While there are other global security initiatives available, Gregory said, “ioXt stands above the crowd because of its focus on the consumer--with the ultimate goal of making it easy for everyone to recognize the level of security attached to an IoT product.”We look forward to working with Amazon, Google, Comcast, Legrand, Resideo, T-Mobile, Zigbee Alliance and other ioXt Alliance members on defining the highest level of security for IoT applications and elevating confidence among consumers acquiring IoT products. We encourage other IoT companies to join the movement and help make the connected world more secure. For more information, visit ioxtalliance.org.
This morning at CES 2020, we introduced a new ultra-low-power Bluetooth 5.2 SoC and announced a new partnership with Quuppa on indoor asset tracking solutions. These two announcements underscore our technology leadership and innovation in Bluetooth connectivity for smart home and retail/commercial/industrial markets.
Our new EFR32BG22 solution delivers best-in-class security features, wireless performance, energy efficiency and software tools and stacks to meet market demand for high-volume, battery-powered IoT products. The Bluetooth 5.2 SoC enables 10 years of operation on a coin cell battery and its Angle of Arrival (AoA) and Angle of Departure (AoD) capabilities and sub-one-meter location accuracy make it ideal for asset tracking tags, beacons and indoor navigation. For more information, see our press release.
Quuppa, the world leader in advanced location systems, collaborated with Silicon Labs on a direction finding solution that targets a wide range of indoor positioning, navigation and asset and people tracking applications for industrial IoT, logistics, security, personal medical devices, smart buildings and retail use cases. The combination of Quuppa’s infrastructure and our silicon, software and tools for asset tag design provides IoT developers with a comprehensive solution that reduces the cost and complexity of developing location positioning applications. For more information, see our announcement.
We were the first-to-market with Bluetooth mesh and Bluetooth 5.1 direction finding, and as demonstrated by these two announcements, we continue to lead the industry with new innovations. Our latest Bluetooth solutions give developers the right balance of features, security and performance at low cost points to drive adoption of Bluetooth across a wide array of IoT products.