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Swatch module brings power savings to IoT devices

Steve Rogerson
March 28, 2018

Swiss watch maker Swatch says its latest real-time clock module can help make the IoT more green. Launched through its subsidiary EM Microelectronic, the low-power EM3028 is claimed to set an industry benchmark for accuracy and power consumption.
The company says the module leads the way for green IoT applications, with 50% extended battery life compared with its closest competitor, at double the accuracy. It is said to extend the device life span at a reduced overall BoM cost.
The modules help increase the autonomy of connected devices by providing accurate sleep and wake-up timing for their power-hungry elements. The frustrating need to frequently charge or replace the batteries of a wearable device can thus be reduced or eliminated due to the company’s energy harvesting products.
The accuracy and long-term stability provide consistent performance throughout the device lifetime without the need to calibrate during manufacturing. Its 1ppm accuracy guarantees 30 seconds precision over one year while consuming the energy equivalent of four water drops per day.
The device has an integrated backup switch and, thanks to the low power operation, allows waking up a sleeping device even years after it has been switched off for power saving purposes.
“Today we set a new world record, with 40nA current consumption for 1ppm accuracy, making the EM3028 the perfect embodiment of our watchmaking DNA: Swiss precision timing combined with ultra-low-power microelectronics,” said Michel Willemin, CEO of EM Microelectronic. “This development is a major stepping stone for our vision of a green IoT with a seamless user experience, based on zero-maintenance devices.”
Other features include a 32bit Unix timer, operating voltage range down to 1.2V, and a plug-and-play, factory pre-calibrated non-volatile configuration setting guaranteeing the configuration and user parameters are never lost, even in case of system power failure. Its size makes it suitable for integration in tiny wearable applications.
The device is available as a standalone IC or in customised, application-specific modules, in combination with other parts from the portfolio, such as energy harvesting controllers, Bluetooth LE chip and various sensors.