Industry's lowest power consumption connectivity IP for wearables and IoT

20-04-2015 | IMG | New Technologies

Designed specifically to enable the integration of ultra-low power
communications in SoCs targeting wearables, IoT and other connected devices
that require extended battery life and low cost points - Imagination
Technologies (IMG.L) has announced the first members of its Ensigma Whisper
flexible connectivity IP family.

With the new Ensigma Whisper radio processing units (RPUs), users can choose
to integrate Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth Smart, or a combination of the two
standards, depending on their specific application.

The new Whisper RPUs are based on the ultra-low power Ensigma Whisper
Series5 architecture and complement the Ensigma Explorer RPU family, which
is focused on enabling high-performance on-chip communications. With
built-in processors and a high level of configurability, Ensigma RPUs are
highly flexible and ideal for supporting multiple standards.

Re-purposing mobile or other existing connectivity chips or IP won't work
for wearables and other ultra-low power IoT devices. Connectivity IP must be
built from the ground up for these new applications, with a focus on low
power consumption and compact area. The new Whisper IP cores are
configurable engines that are purpose-built for integration onto
next-generation SoCs targeting IoT and other applications including
smartwatches, home automation, healthcare, automotive, industrial and
beyond, says the company.

Takeshi Niwa, assistant director at TSR (Techno Systems Research), said: "In
today's connected devices, we see a clear move away from using separate
wireless combo chips toward integrating connectivity onto the main
application processor as companies look to reduce power, footprint and
bill-of-materials. We are seeing this move first in smartphones, where we
believe 70 percent of devices will have connectivity integrated in the AP by
2018. As wearable and IoT devices become mainstream, we believe the same
trend will occur. With their focus on delivering real performance within an
ultra-low power envelope, Imagination's Ensigma Whisper RPUs are welcome
entrants to the market."

To further accelerate customers' time to market, Ensigma Whisper RPUs are
provided as a complete communications solution including certifications. In
addition, a range of customizable RF and analog front-ends are available
from Imagination and partners if needed.

Imagination is initially offering the Whisper RPUs in three versions:
1 - C5400: Wi-Fi 802.11n IP for low-power devices capable of audio/video
streaming; enables customers to achieve Wi-Fi connectivity at the power
levels of Bluetooth Classic while delivering better performance per MHz
2 - C5300: Bluetooth Smart IP for ultra-low power, short range connectivity
providing control functionality in devices including sensor hubs, wearables
and home automation
3 - C5401: For applications such as wearables, this IP combines Bluetooth
Smart for control applications and Wi-Fi 802.11n for streaming; capable of
operating concurrently

Philip Solis, research director, ABI Research, said: "There are two trends
that will better enable wireless connectivity for the Internet of Things.
One, of course, is integration of wireless connectivity basebands into the
host processor. The other is the scaling down of designs to reduce cost,
size, and most importantly power consumption. In the wireless connectivity
space, where multiple connectivity standards are here to stay, this includes
creating unique designs that take full advantage of the low-power
connectivity requirements of wearables and IoT devices to significantly
increase battery life."

Ultra-low power connectivity - Ensigma Whisper RPUs feature highly
optimized, configurable hardware along with Imagination's PowerGearing for
Ensigma that optimizes both static and dynamic power consumption in the

The novel design of the Whisper architecture, with its tightly coupled modem
/ MIPS processor, enables the best connected standby power compared to other
connectivity solutions, by enabling IoT and wearable devices to awaken more
quickly and consume less power in the wake-up process.

The tightly-coupled modem/processor in Ensigma Whisper RPUs means that for
sensor applications, customers can choose to eliminate the host processor or
alleviate its load, leading to the smallest embedded system size and lowest
power consumption.

Ensigma + MIPS: a powerful combination - Integrated, optimized Ensigma RPUs
and MIPS CPUs are at the heart of Imagination's Connected Processor IP
Platform, a state-of-the-art embedded processor IP platform that delivers
multi-standard connectivity, alongside a high-performance Linux or RTOS
based applications environment - all in one fully integrated IP solution.

Whisper licensees can also leverage Imagination's innovative FlowCloud IoT
device-to-cloud technology, which connects devices to the internet and each
other, enabling easy product registration and updates as well as access to a
growing portfolio of services from Imagination and its partners.

Chakra Parvathaneni, vice president of Ensigma business operations,
Imagination said: "We created the ultra-low power Ensigma Whisper
architecture to complement our already successful high-performance Ensigma
Explorer architecture. Whisper is designed to ensure our customers can hit
their aggressive power and area targets for IoT, wearables and other
low-power, low-cost devices. With Whisper and Explorer RPUs, we are enabling
customers to integrate a broad spectrum of communications capabilities onto
SoCs. The complementary MIPS and FlowCloud technologies in the Connected
Processor IP Platform add even more value, enabling a unique end-to-end
connectivity solution."

Ensigma Whisper RPUs are available for licensing now, says the company.

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