Silicon Labs CTO: Matter standard will accelerate smart home and IoT applications

[Introduction]After experiencing the global shortage of cores in 2021, we have ushered in 2022. This year, WHO believes that the new crown epidemic will be under control. What new changes will the semiconductor industry have? Electronic Innovation Network interviewed dozens of semiconductor executives and conveyed to the industry 2022 in the eyes of well-known semiconductors in the “Industry Leaders Look at 2022” series of questions and answers. This is the fifth report in the series – a reply from Daniel Cooley, CTO of Silicon Labs .

After experiencing the global shortage of cores in 2021, we have ushered in 2022. This year, WHO believes that the new crown epidemic will be under control. What are the new changes? Electronic Innovation Network interviewed dozens of semiconductor executives and conveyed to the industry 2022 in the eyes of well-known semiconductors in the “Industry Leaders Look at 2022” series of questions and answers. This is the fifth report in the series – a reply from Daniel Cooley, CTO of Silicon Labs .

Silicon Labs CTO: Matter standard will accelerate smart home and IoT applications

Daniel Cooley, Chief Technology Officer, Silicon Labs

1. Looking back on 2021, what are the highlights of your company?

Daniel Cooley Answers: Silicon Labs transformed its infrastructure and automotive business to Skyworks in 2021, transforming itself into a company purely focused on IoT and aspires to be a leader in delivering secure, smart wireless connectivity , integrate and combine the Internet of Things (IoT) industry ecological chain to maintain rapid growth.

In 2021, our EFR32 second-generation wireless platform with Secure Vault security technology is the first to receive PSA Level 3 certification and has won multiple global and domestic industry awards. The 2nd Works With IoT Developer Conference hosted by the company attracted nearly 8,000 industry professionals around the world, providing a channel for customers and developers to exchange trends and technologies, and has become a leading Chinese IoT enterprise. The world is the stage where the company’s innovation is displayed. It has also joined hands with the CSA Alliance and major manufacturers such as Amazon, Apple, and Google to promote the Matter IoT unified standard, and open up more than 20% of the source code, becoming the largest contributor to the standard in the chip industry.

At the same time, Silicon Labs is moving from selling individual products to offering complete product-plus-services that create ongoing value during product use. While continuing to provide the best and most comprehensive wireless connectivity and security solutions, Silicon Labs has launched an exclusive all-in-one software development kit (Unify SDK) and customized component manufacturing services, working with more partners to promote Internet innovation and development.

2. For 2022, what industry hotspots do you think will stimulate the demand for semiconductors?

Daniel Cooley replied: 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), automobiles, Internet of Things (IoT), and the emerging metaverse are all inseparable from the development of the semiconductor industry, and will also bring new development momentum to the semiconductor industry. At present, the Internet of Things has entered a period of prosperity and development, with mature technologies and a thriving ecosystem. Even in these challenging times, markets such as the Internet of Things still present huge opportunities for the semiconductor industry. Worldwide shipments of microcontrollers (MCUs) are expected to reach 30 billion units by 2023, and show no signs of slowing down.

Today, in addition to IoT’s entry into the smart home and, increasingly, smart cities, new and innovative commercial and industrial IoT applications are driving the IoT market forward. From retail to healthcare, from energy to manufacturing, industries are leveraging the value of IoT to improve productivity, sustainability and operational safety. In other words, digital transformation and intelligent implementation will promote the continued rapid development of the semiconductor industry.

3. Regarding these new points, what product layout and coping strategies does your company have?

Daniel Cooley answers: Silicon Labs started looking at IoT more than a decade ago. We invest in technology and innovate with like-minded customers, and we build an ecosystem around smart, connected devices with huge potential. With the efforts of the majority of users, Silicon Labs and peers, the Internet of Things has finally reached a stage of great development. While promoting the popularization of IoT technology, Silicon Labs has made the following layouts in the long run:

In the field of IoT, advanced information security technology is a fundamental technology for everyone, no matter which link from sensor, edge to cloud. Back in early 2020, Silicon Labs announced a new suite of Secure Vault security features to help connectable device manufacturers address escalating security threats and regulatory pressures in the Internet of Things (IoT). Subsequently, the Wireless Gecko Series 2 platform with Secure Vault security technology passed the industry’s highest PSA Level 3 security certification, greatly reducing the risk of IoT security breaches and intellectual property damage.

Secure IoT solutions will become increasingly important in 2022 and beyond, and Silicon Labs integrates cybersecurity capabilities by design. In September 2021, we launched our own Custom Component Manufacturing Service (CPMS), which allows device manufacturers to customize the Silicon Labs hardware products (wireless SoCs, modules, MCUs) they use in the factory. This essentially provides the chip (and any device that uses it) with a root of trust that allows customers to securely configure the chip before it leaves the factory.

In this way, customers can not only track the chip throughout its life cycle, but also provide reliable authentication and verification of the IoT product throughout its life cycle. The service enhances our Secure Vault IoT security technology with the addition of an industry-first custom IoT device identity injection credential. It prevents attackers from using networking products as a network entry point. Dedicated long-term software development kit support is also included in the service, covering up to 10 years of IoT product life cycle.

4. In 2022, what new demands do you think customers will have for semiconductor products?

Daniel Cooley answers: From retail to healthcare, from energy to manufacturing, digital transformation is driving the need for innovative semiconductor products in every industry to improve productivity and sustainability. In addition to what we mentioned earlier that secure IoT solutions will become increasingly important in 2022 and beyond, we believe that new IoT communication protocols with greater interoperability, reliability and security , and support for ubiquitous artificial intelligence/machine learning will be the new market demand for semiconductor products.

Published by the CSA Alliance, with participation from companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Silicon Labs

Interconnectivity, which provides features of interoperability, reliability, and security across IoT networks, ecosystems, and devices, and is a connectivity standard that builds on existing IP connectivity protocols to enable cross-IoT systems (including embedded devices, mobile applications and cloud services) seamless communication. Silicon Labs has open sourced more than 20% of the Matter IoT unified standard, making it the largest contributor to the standard in the chip industry.

In addition, advances in machine learning are opening the door to a new future with far-reaching consequences. Users can reap many benefits from machine learning at the edge. Machine learning algorithms can train models, evaluate the performance of the models themselves, and make predictions, which is very exciting. In our world, machine learning applications run on tiny devices used in life-enhancing applications such as predictive maintenance, building automation, configuration of audio analytics, and vision and motion detection for autonomous operations.

5. What is your company’s production capacity in 2022?

Daniel Cooley replied: Unsurprisingly, news of a global semiconductor shortage has spread across the media, from delayed car deliveries to higher prices for consumer products, etc., and its impact has gradually permeated our daily lives. On the one hand, chip shortages demonstrate the critical role semiconductors play in the global economy, forcing IoT players to adapt and offer new ways to meet customer expectations. At Silicon Labs, we will continue to work hand-in-hand with our customers to ensure we prioritize listening and understanding their needs before continuing to invest in product development. Listening to customer needs is essential because we must first understand what has brought us to this stage in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of history.

6. Q. It is expected that the global semiconductor market will continue to grow in 2022, and the revenue will exceed US$600 billion. In this context, how do you think Chinese local companies and foreign companies will compete?

Daniel Cooley replied: We saw a lot of chip manufacturers enter the IoT market, and now the market will enter the consolidation phase.

The growth momentum in IoT and semiconductors will have two effects: on the one hand, we will see a significant increase in the value of some businesses; on the other hand, it will cause other companies to withdraw from the market competition. As business revenues increase, so do budgets, which can make it difficult for new entrants to gain a foothold—unless they can afford the cost of their own entry. Many companies will seek to increase profit margins through mergers and acquisitions and benefit from the resulting economies of scale.

You can’t win by segmenting. IoT devices will not operate on a single protocol, and the dominant players will cover all wireless technology options in their product portfolios. At Silicon Labs, we have spent ten years supporting every wireless technology, becoming the first company in the world to launch a multi-protocol IoT chip platform. With the recently released Unify SDK, we are also expected to play an important bridging role in the industry, supporting IoT cloud service and platform developers worldwide, including Chinese manufacturers, to design in their devices various capabilities to assist them in interoperating between existing and future wireless protocols.

The new year is approaching and promises to be a turning point for chip suppliers. The technology has matured, and the time has come. Soon, the advantages of IoT, edge and networking technologies will have an impact on all industries – of course, providing security remains the top priority for everything. (over)

Note: Matter is a smart home open source standard project, jointly initiated by Amazon, Apple, Google, and ZigBee Alliance, aiming to develop and promote a new connection protocol that is exempt from patent fees, so as to simplify the development cost of smart home equipment manufacturers and improve product quality. compatibility. On May 11, 2021, CHIP was renamed Matter, and the ZigBee Alliance was also renamed the Connectivity Standards Alliance.

(Source: Zhang Guobin, Electronic Innovation Network)

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