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IoT development platform focuses on reducing energy use

Steve Rogerson
July 30, 2015
A development platform to make IoT system design easier, faster and more productive is available from Texas-based Silicon Labs. The platform does this by letting microcontroller and wireless design take place at the same time.
Called Simplicity Studio, the updated version has an enhanced real-time energy profiler tool, faster execution speed and an easier installation process.
Battery-powered IoT applications, such as wearables, personal medical devices, wireless sensor nodes, and gas and water meters, require energy efficiency for extended battery life. Extrapolating system-level energy consumption and battery life expectations from MCU and wireless IC data sheets is both difficult and time-consuming.
The energy profiler helps developers optimise their IoT designs for low energy and long battery life by providing a more intuitive user interface, improved usability, and greater energy profiling accuracy and reliability.
The tool has an energy score feature that is claimed to be unique to the embedded industry, enabling developers to benchmark the energy efficiency of their IoT designs. The energy score helps developers determine which design iteration provides the highest score directly correlated to battery life.
A higher score – on a nought to ten scale – indicates lower energy consumption and longer battery life. The energy profiler also allows developers to save sessions, enabling them to compare relevant data from their saved sessions to gain a better understanding of how design modifications impact overall energy efficiency.
An enhanced energy graphing capability has the familiar look and feel of an oscilloscope. The developer can zoom in on the x (time) and y (power) axes of the energy graph to analyse the details of energy consumption with more precision. In addition, the profiler provides a direct correlation between the energy graph, function analyser and application code. This three-way correlation capability helps the developer optimise designs for low energy consumption.
“Today’s developers not only require faster, smaller, cheaper silicon from their semiconductor suppliers, they also expect continuous enhancements in development ecosystems to help them reduce energy consumption and speed time to market,” said Daniel Cooley, vice president and general manager of MCU and wireless products at Silicon Labs. “We are closely attuned to the needs of our growing developer community and continue to enhance Simplicity Studio to make it the most productive, efficient and full-featured development platform in the embedded industry.”
The company has improved the efficiency of downloading and using Simplicity Studio to help developers get their projects up and running faster and more efficiently. The size of the installation package has been reduced by a factor of ten, enabling developers to visit the web site, download Simplicity Studio and run a demo in less than ten minutes. In addition, the most frequent tasks in Simplicity Studio, such as software examples and demos, now run up to three times faster than they did in the previous version.
The Simplicity Studio platform simplifies the process of developing IoT applications by providing MCU and wireless developers with one-click access to everything they need to complete their projects, from initial concept to final product, in a unified software environment. It includes an Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE), graphical configuration tools, energy profiling and battery estimation tools, network analysis tools, demos, software examples, documentation, technical support and community forums.
Built-in intelligence can automatically detect the connected 8 or 32bit MCU or wireless IC, graphically configure the device, and show supported configuration options to help developers get their projects up and running.