Official Blog of Silicon Labs

    Publish
     
      • Webinar: Expanding Device Capability with Multiprotocol Connectivity

        LeighPankonien | 11/312/2017 | 05:05 PM

        Title: Webinar: Expanding Device Capability with Multiprotocol Connectivity

        Date: December 13 & 14, 2017

        Duration: 1 hour

        Multiprotocol connectivity makes it easier to deliver proximity-based mobile experiences with Bluetooth beacons through connected lights and building automation systems. Consumers also gain the ability to commission, control, and monitor IoT devices operating in Zigbee® mesh networks directly over Bluetooth® with smartphone apps. Smartphone control of connected devices is achieved through a single multiprotocol SoC or module supporting Bluetooth with low energy functionality and Zigbee, eliminating the need for gateways or border routers to send or receive messages to the cloud. 

        In this webinar, we explore how multiprotocol wireless technology advances IoT connectivity for next generation applications that are easier to deploy, use, and update.

        Join our hour-long webinar and get your questions answered during our Live Q&A session at the end.

         

         

      • Design a Multiprotocol Device in 3 Hours

        Siliconlabs | 11/306/2017 | 08:30 AM

         

        Title: Design a Multiprotocol Device in 3 Hours

        Date: Tuesday-Thursday, December 5-7, 2017

        Time: 12:00 PM Central Standard Time

        Duration: 3-day workshop, for 1 hour each day

        With Silicon Labs' software and hardware, you can design a single product that supports multiple wireless connectivity protocols. During our 3-day online workshop, we will spend an hour each day developing a Bluetooth and Proprietary multiprotocol project with the new Thunderboard Sense 2.  

        Day 1 we will briefly discuss Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth stack and introduce Simplicity Studio. We will walkthrough developing a Bluetooth project using the GATT editor in Simplicity Studio.  By the end of the lab, we will use our Blue Gecko mobile phone app to modify the Thunderboard Sense’s RGB LEDs using the device’s GATT characteristics.

        Day 2 we will discuss Silicon Labs’ Flex SDK which allows the developer to implement their own proprietary wireless networks. We will walkthrough a lab using the Flex SDK’s RAIL library to transmit data across a proprietary network.  By the end of the lab, our goal is to update the RBG LEDs of multiple Thunderboards across a proprietary network.

        Day 3 we will discuss the Gecko Bootloader of the EFR32 chipset and how it’s architecture allows us to switch application images and wireless stacks.  Our final lab will combine the previous Bluetooth and Proprietary projects using the gecko bootloader. By the end we will be able to set the RGB LED values of a Thunderboard via Bluetooth then reboot it into a proprietary network to update surrounding devices on the network.

        Note: At least two Thunderboard Sense 2s are recommended to test a network on Days 2 and 3. However you can still walk through the labs using a single board.

      • Employee Spotlight – Helge Langen

        Lance Looper | 10/300/2017 | 09:35 AM

        Helge Langen joined Silicon Labs as a summer intern during the summer of 2016. In his current role as Hardware Engineer for the IoT MCU & Wireless team in Oslo, Langen’s responsibilities include hardware design, design testing and firmware development. He said his role requires him to “combine technical knowledge with creative skills to achieve the desired level of esthetically pleasing products.” His typical day at the office entails working on a variety of projects that can range from using a computer, a microscope and tweezers or even a hammer!

         

        spotlight-banner1.jpg

         

        His supervisor, Jørn Norheim said Langen is great at his job and requires little or no detailed information. He continued, “Regularly we get into the situation where I say, ‘Oh, [Langen] already did that thing I was thinking we should do to get the project completed. Well, that’s nice!’” Norheim continued, “He’s the sort of person that does not spend too much time talking, but rather spends his time on doing. Really, really well.”

         

        Langen’s favorite thing about working at Silicon Labs is he gets to do things he enjoys every day with a team of nice, talented people, while having fun. In addition to his day job, Langen is an avid runner. In fact, Norheim calls him “one of Norway’s best runners.” Langen said his favorite Silicon Labs value is ‘we do the right thing’ because it reminds him of when he’s running. “The competition is sufficiently fierce to force me to do the right things at practice every day to keep up – since there will always be someone else doing the right things most of the time as well,” he said. “Having success in the semiconductor business requires no less attention to continuous improvements.”

         

        Helge Langan, we’re glad you’re on the Silicon Labs team. Keep up the great work!

         

        Helge Langen_blog.jpg

      • Employee Spotlight – Marius Munder

        Lance Looper | 09/272/2017 | 10:00 AM

        This month, we’re highlighting Marius Munder, Senior Staff Applications Engineer. Munder began working at Telegesis in 2002 and officially became a Silicon Labs employee in November 2015 through the Telegesis acquisition. When he is not traveling to the High Wycombe site, he’s based out of his home office near Dortmund, Germany.

         

        spotlight-banner1.jpg

         

        Since the acquisition, Munder has enjoyed working with different business units and meeting new people on the Silicon Labs team. Munder says Telegesis’s culture was very similar to Silicon Labs and the main differences were at the project management level “where Telegesis used to have a certain nativity only a startup could afford.” Marius added the acquisition gave him and his coworkers incredible access to new resources in terms of people and information. His favorite thing about working at Silicon Labs is being able to work with a variety of people “allowing [him] to continuously learn and contribute first hand.”

         

        As a member of the Applications Engineering team, Munder interacts with some of Silicon Labs’ largest and most strategic customers. A typical day for Munder involves writing specs, hands on hardware and software work and of course, answering lots of e-mails! Earlier this year, because of his knowledge of the Zigbee stack, Munder was asked to provide customer support during an “extremely pressure packed situation,” said Senior Director of RF Stacks, Bob Power. He added, “Marius brought a tremendous amount of technical expertise, along with a very calm demeanor and provided tremendous value.”

         

        When asked if he could have one wish granted, what would it be and why, Munder said, “1,000 more wishes. No, seriously, I would wish that I didn’t even need that one wish in the first place, because that would mean that everybody on the planet would live in peace and happiness already.”

         

        Marius Munder, we’re proud to recognize you in our June Employee Spotlight. Thank you for everything you do for Silicon Labs!

         

        Marius Munder photo_Blog.jpg

      • Delivering the Industry’s Best Jitter Performance and Power Efficiency on a Single Chip

        Lance Looper | 09/270/2017 | 10:00 AM

        This week we’ve released the new Si522xx PCIe clock generators, bringing best-in-industry jitter performance and energy efficiency to PCI Express® (PCIe®) Gen1/2/3/4 applications. This new clock family delivers on the stringent requirements of PCIe Gen 4 and Separate Reference Independent Spread (SRIS) standards with 20 percent jitter margin to spare, and its jitter performance (0.4 ps RMS) also provides up to 60 percent jitter margin for PCIe Gen 3.

         

        The PCIe standard, originally developed as a serial interconnect for desktop PCs, and has become popular in blade servers, storage equipment, embedded computing, IP gateways, industrial systems, and consumer electronics. High-output clock generators like the Si522x family reduce the number of buffers needed as data bus usage expands in these types of systems. Designed specifically for clock-distribution-intensive applications, the Si522x family supports up to 12 outputs from a single device. This higher output count per device reduces BOM cost. The clocks’ output drivers take advantage of our innovative push-pull HCSL technology, eliminating external resistors required by conventional constant-current output drivers.

         

        Additionally, internal power filtering prevents power supply noise from affecting jitter performance while reducing component count, saving about 30 percent of board space compared to competing solutions.

         

        Developers designing battery-powered applications like digital cameras are especially concerned about power consumption. The 2-output Si52202 clock is optimized for low-power 1.5 V to 1.8 V applications, offering the lowest power consumption for PCIe applications. Packaged in a small 3 mm x 3 mm 20-pin QFN, the clock is also 45 percent smaller than competing solutions.

         

        For more information, visit www.silabs.com/pcie-learningcenter.

         

         

         

      • Join Us to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

        deirdrewalsh | 08/240/2017 | 10:20 PM

        AdobeStock_169221393.jpg

        Hurricane Harvey, the most powerful storm to hit Texas in 50 years, wreaked havoc on Friday. The area of Texas that's currently underwater is comparable to the distance between New York and Boston. And the worst is yet to come.

         

        Now a Tropical Storm, Harvey will continue to devastate this large geography for the next several days, delivering as much as another 30 inches of rain and producing destructive tornadoes. 

         

        Walking around the Silicon Labs headquarters in Austin today, it was impossible not to stop and talk about the devastation impacting fellow employees, family and friends who live and work in Harvey's destructive path. 

         

        Thousands are without power and stranded in their homes. Major roads flooded, rail lines shut down, and schools, airports, hospitals, and nursing facilities closed – and the storm isn’t over yet.

         

        During this challenging and emotional time, we need to come together as a community. Businesses, government agencies, non-profits, faith-based organizations, and others must contribute and coordinate emergency relief efforts to help as many people as quickly as possible.

         

        john-hollister.jpg"I am calling upon other technology community leaders in Austin to make sure Harvey’s impact is met with an equally strong response – a commitment to provide disaster relief, infrastructure repair, and help rebuild lives and our economy in the wake of this storm," said John Hollister, Silicon Labs CFO and chair elect of the Red Cross Central Texas board of directors. "Silicon Labs is donating $50,000 to the Red Cross for disaster relief and will match contributions up to $2000/employee.

         

        How You Can Help

        We must do everything possible to support our communities during this natural disaster.

        • Donate to the Red Cross online, by calling 1-800-RedCross, or texting HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. (Note: financial contributions allow more flexibility than in-kind donations). 
        • Volunteer with the Red Cross, you can visit redcross.org to submit a volunteer application. 
        • Comment below with ideas of how we can use technology, including our products, to help during the aftermath.
        • If you're an Austin tech company or employee, we urge you to join the challenge to raise $500,000 for the Red Cross here: http://www.redcross.org/hightechchallenge-pub

         

        How Your Donations Will Make an ImpactRedCross.png

        • More than 6,000 people took refuge from the deadly storm this weekend in Red Cross shelters. FEMA estimates about 30,000 people will need emergency shelter. 
        • Millions of people are facing flash floods, including the entire Houston metro area, which is under a flash flood emergency. Money donated to the Red Cross will provide shelter, health services, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, and cleaning supplies to storm victims.
        • Water rescues are still occurring. The Red Cross mobilized more than 200 emergency vehicles to help with safety issues.
        • The Red Cross is mobilizing its partners to support feeding, child care, and disaster services.

         

        We will feel the devastating aftermath of this storm for years to come, so please continue to provide your time, talents, and financial resources to help. 

         

      • Employee Spotlight – Arun Manickaraj

        Lance Looper | 08/237/2017 | 05:21 PM

        Arun Manickaraj joined Silicon Labs as a New College Grad (NCG) in July 2014 after serving as a Product Test Engineer Intern. In his current position as Operations Analyst II on the Operations team in Singapore, Manickaraj is responsible for building reports and dashboards and providing data for ad-hoc analysis by the management team and end users. Manickaraj’s supervisor, Albert Chee, said, “Arun is helpful, responsive and can provide solutions quickly. He is a great asset to the Ops Team and has much growth potential.”

         

        spotlight-banner1.jpg

         

        “The make and break of a company depends on the people working together to build it,” said Manickaraj. He had a very welcoming experience as an intern and NCG and said, “The culture of grooming and growing newcomers is embedded deep into the DNA of the company and I stand as a testament to it.” His favorite Silicon Labs value is “Do the right thing,” which he believes includes everything from “hiring the right set of people, placing then in the right job roles, setting the right priorities based on customers, providing the right work-life balance and giving back to the community in the right way.”

         

        Manickaraj also serves as the chairman of the SLI Recreation Committee, allowing him to create volunteer, wellness and employee engagement activities for all SLI employees. He said, “Even though I was a newbie, I was given the opportunity to take up such leadership roles and was given ample support and guidance by my organization. I am ever grateful to my peers for recognizing my leadership skills and my team for supporting me throughout.”

         

        When asked where he would live if he could live anywhere in the world, Manickaraj said he would love to live a peaceful life in New Zealand. He continued, “It is the best untouched country on this plant…Being a wanderlust myself, I would love to go on backpacking trips to explore [its] extremely wonderful scenic beauty.”

         

        Arun Manickaraj, thank you for your hard work and commitment to Silicon Labs. We are proud to have you on our team!

         

        Arun Manickaraj photo .jpg

      • Connectivity Not a Question of If, but How

        Lance Looper | 08/226/2017 | 09:03 AM

        Silicon Labs CMO Michele Grieshaber discusses how the decision to add connectivity shouldn't be taken lightly, and how the IoT can open up new avenues if learning and iteration is part of the product design process.

         

        With 20 billion connected devices expected to be online by 2020, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of what some consider the next industrial revolution. But before running headlong into developing a connected component to your offering, it might be a useful exercise to consider what exactly you want to achieve.

         

        sketching-pinout_banner.jpg

         

        Carey Smith, founder of Big Ass Fans, recently penned an article in the Harvard Business Review in which he candidly recounted how his company’s venture into the world of IoT might have been a bit overzealous. Armed with all the familiar data points about adoption, the company produced the world’s first internet-connected fan that could connect to a lighting system and be programmed to operate according to an occupant’s personal preference.

         

        In the end, it was the design and quality of Big Ass Fans that kept the customers coming, not the whiz-bang smart, connected features.

         

        If you’ve spent any time thinking about the IoT, it’s likely you already have a notion of what features a “smart” version of your product should offer. But it’s important to keep an open mind when considering what opportunities the IoT may present for you. If there’s one thing we know about humanity, it’s that we’re always moving toward the next thing. The IoT is no exception, and what it’s capable of is constantly changing with new advances in software, sensors, radios, and, frankly, the connected products that other companies are developing. So what’s possible today in your particular industry may be but a precursor to what’s coming, some of which may not have even crossed your mind.

         

        This integration of the IoT into our daily lives is a multigenerational event, which makes it hard to predict what the next killer app will be or what things will become part of our everyday lives. So patience, coupled with open-mindedness, can be a powerful combination for recognizing where you can go with the IoT.

         

        For example, we work with a power tool company that decided to enhance the value of its products. This particular company was a pioneer in the use of lithium ion batteries so its tools were already very powerful and could run all day without a charge; pretty much the two things you want from your power tools. So how to improve? A new digital user interface was the first thing they set out to do. A power drill only has a few buttons, but you could add connectivity to enable an enhanced interface for advanced configuration settings through a smartphone app. Through the process of developing a smartphone-based configuration feature, they realized that device connectivity also lets builders use their phones to track a tool’s location using GPS, as well as configure custom RPM settings to deliver the precise amount of torque so they did not over-rotate fasteners during fragile installations. The tool can also be disabled and rendered useless in the case of theft. And because it’s cloud-based, new features can be delivered to tools already in the field.

         

        Although this example company set down a path to only build an expanded user interface, through ongoing development, they uncovered new applications of value to their customers.  This approach opened up new business models.  Rather than be thought of as just a power tool manufacturer, they now provide services that can be delivered through the cloud.

         

        Another example is Propeller Health, which was founded in 2010 to help users of inhaled medications understand what factors contribute to their symptoms. The medications to treat asthma and COPD are actually very effective, but patients didn’t have insight into what might be making them symptomatic. Propeller’s device uses sensors, accelerometers, and even microphones to listen to breathing sounds and determine whether or not the user is inhaling properly. What started out as a simple data collection mechanism morphed into much more.  Propeller was able to evolve into a service that was useful for not only tracking usage, but improving outcomes by giving users the advantage of knowing what might be aggravating their asthma or COPD in the first place.

         

        There’s a natural “what-if” component to design, and anticipating what consumers want and how they’ll interact with the products are important factors in this process. But we should guard against setting our sights so fixedly on an expected outcome that we’re blind to possibilities. We should also be willing to iterate. Carey and the gang at Big Ass Fans aren’t likely to close the door on looking for innovative connected solutions for their fans and lights, but the five questions outlined in his article are a good place to start before jumping into the IoT fray.

         

        For most of us, connectivity isn’t a question of if, but howClick here To learn more about how companies of every stripe are using connectivity in unexpected ways. 

         

         

      • Employee Spotlight - Steven Cooreman

        caphilli | 08/216/2017 | 11:44 AM

        Steven Cooreman is originally from Belgium and was introduced to Silicon Labs as an exchange student at Olin College near Boston. Cooreman obtained his MSc Electronics at Group T International College, Leuven in Belgium. The Boston team spoke highly of him and recommended he join the team in Oslo. Cooreman started at Silicon Labs in August 2014 as an NCG and Software Engineer.

         

        spotlight-banner1.jpg


        In March 2016, Cooreman was promoted to Software Engineering Manager on the 32-bit MCU Software team. Cooreman said he appreciates creating software that’s being actively used by more than a thousand makers while still participating in workshops, writing articles and interacting with students. Cooreman’s currently working on mbedOs which allows him to collaborate closely with ARM.


        Cooreman’s manager, Marius Grannæs described him as a quick learner. “He’s able to jump into new problems very quickly so he can help when problems arise. He’s also arranged a few social events for the group,” Grannæs said. Cooreman even took the initiative to study Norwegian at the University of Oslo, and after only one year in Norway, he speaks the language fluently.


        When asked about his working at Silicon Labs, Cooreman said, “The open culture and the level of camaraderie I see every day at work. While we may forget about it after time, it really is a rare thing to have in a global company and something to be proud of and conserve!”


        We always like to throw in a fun question during our employee spotlight interviews, so we asked Cooreman, if he could have any superpower, what would it be and why? His response: “I would get a superpower that gets rid of any and all weapons (including superpowers). That people feel the need to do harm to others, is something I just can’t wrap my head around. Let’s live in peace and build a better future for those coming after us, not a worse one.”

         

        We think you’re super Steven Cooreman, and we’re glad to have you on the Silicon Labs team. Thank you for all that you do!

         

        Steven Cooreman_blog.jpg

      • Introducing the World’s Most Scalable Automotive Radio Solution

        Lance Looper | 08/213/2017 | 09:30 AM

        We recently introduced the industry’s most scalable, flexible and cost-effective car radio solution for the global automotive infotainment market. Our new portfolio of Global Eagle and Dual Eagle AM/FM receivers and digital radio tuners, along with our Digital Falcon coprocessors address all market segments and standards, and are ready to address the nearly 94 million-unit global light vehicle market.

         

        These new devices represent the most scalable, flexible, and cost-effective solutions for car radios available for automotive infotainment systems and offer car manufacturers the ability to meet demands across markets while adhering to rigorous quality standards.

         

        Eagle-Falcon-Banner.png

         

        Today, substantial R&D investment is required to meet the needs of the wide range of markets and cost targets, and we’re the only provider with a scalable hardware/software platform that makes it possible for car radio suppliers to address these disparate needs with a common radio hardware and software design, reducing design, qualification, sourcing, and inventory costs.

         

        The Global Eagle (Si4795x) and Dual Eagle (Si4796x and Si4797x) families of analog AM/FM receivers and digital radio tuners set a new standard for scalability and automotive broadcast reception. The Eagle families extend the field-proven performance of Silicon Labs’ tuners and receivers, which are deployed by leading automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers worldwide. Si479xx devices leverage Silicon Labs’ patented low-IF digital architecture, delivering superior RF performance and interference rejection. In addition, the Si479xx family’s comprehensive firmware algorithms dynamically adjust signal reception in moving cars to ensure optimal reception under the harshest field conditions.

                                                                       

        The audio subsystem of both Eagle families provides a complete solution to synchronize, process and distribute digital and audio signals in the automotive head unit. To accelerate time to market, Silicon Labs provides four- and six-channel audio post-processing reference designs supporting cabin equalization, loudness compensation, tone control, chime generation and audio source mixing. This flexible architecture enables integration of customer or third-party algorithms.

         

        The Digital Falcon (Si469x) family of digital radio coprocessors provides channel demodulation and source decoding of HD Radio and DAB/DAB+ digital signals delivering audio and data.  Digital Falcon processors simplify system design and minimize the bill of materials (BOM) by eliminating the need for an external RAM memory module for channel decoding typically required by third-party digital radio processors. The Digital Falcon family enables designs to scale from low- to high-end systems with its seamless blending capabilities for DAB/DAB+, as well as its support for Automatic Level and Time Alignment (ALTA) for HD systems.

         

        For more about evolving needs of car radio design, check out this EE Times article by Silicon Labs’ Alick Einav.