Wireless SoCs help drive digital transformation

21st February 2020
Alex Lynn

Silicon Labs has announced a new family of secure, proprietary wireless SoC devices designed for power- and size-constrained IoT products powered by batteries or energy harvesting sources.

Target applications include electronic shelf labels (ESL), building security, industrial automation sensors and custom modules for commercial lighting. Based on Silicon Labs’ Wireless Gecko Series 2 platform, the new EFR32FG22 (FG22) SoCs deliver an optimal combination of security features, 2.4GHz wireless performance, energy efficiency, and software tools and stacks to enable the next generation of ESL and pricing automation products.

According to Mordor Intelligence, global ESL market value topped $581m in 2019 and is expected to reach $1.82bn by 2025, achieving a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 21% over the 2020-2025 forecast period.

ESL technology enables cloud-based applications that enhance retail automation, shopper engagement and data analytics. Most ESL system designs are based on proprietary wireless protocols, and Silicon Labs’ new FG22 SoCs provide a connectivity solution for this rapidly emerging market.

“IoT developers deploy custom wireless protocols in multiple applications to radically optimise their systems for high performance and low power consumption,” said Ross Sabolcik, Vice President and General Manager of IoT commercial and industrial products at Silicon Labs. “We designed our FG22 product family to help customers quickly deliver optimised, cost-effective solutions based on our latest Series 2 wireless SoCs for demanding applications like ESL.”

The FG22 integrates a 38.4MHz Arm Cortex-M33 core with TrustZone and a high-performance radio with a receive sensitivity of -106.4 dBm. The SoCs’ combination of ultra-low transmit and receive power (8.2 mA TX at +6 dBm, 3.6 mA RX) and 1.2µA deep-sleep mode power delivers exceptional energy efficiency. Additional low-power on-chip features such as RFSense, which wakes the FG22 in the presence of RF energy, further extend the operating life of IoT products with limited battery or energy harvesting options.

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