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Texas Instruments: security and simplicity are top IoT concerns

Internet of things developers cite security and interoperability as key challenges.

Texas Instruments has staked a claim in the growing IoT development community, since its processors power the popular BeagleBoard and BeagleBone Black development boards. Now TI wants to further simplify development with new software and Wi-Fi chips that share code with TI microcontrollers.

The company’s SimpleLink microcontroller platform is designed to create a single development environment for hardware and software. TI wants to give developers the freedom to change to a different microcontroller as projects evolve, and has included all of its low-power, ARM-based wireless microcontrollers in the shared platform.

New Wi-Fi architecture
Texas Instruments is launching the second generation of its SimpleLink Wi-Fi chipsets with a new architecture that combines two physically separate execution environments on a single chip. The wireless microcontroller and network processor are combined on a single system-on-chip.

Battery life is said to have been improved by 30% versus TI’s first SimpleLink Wi-Fi chip, launched in 2014. An always-connected device can stay online for a year using one AA battery, the company said.

Security is a leading concern for developers and purchasers of IoT solutions, according to TI. The company’s new Wi-Fi chipset integrates secure storage, cloning protection, secure boot and networking security. In an effort to facilitate secure cloud-connected applications, TI built in the transport layer security and secure socket layer engine, real-time encryption and an on-chip 128-bit secret key. Applications and user data are encrypted on nonvolatile memory.

The company foresees the Wi-Fi chipset connecting home thermostats, lights and security cameras. The devices enable Apple HomeKit technology, as do other SimpleLink products.

Shared platform
TI’s SimpleLink platform will be shared across chips that support Bluetooth Low Energy and sub-1 gigahertz connectivity as well as Wi-Fi. Ti said Zigbee, Thread and Ethernet will be added in future generations.

The company hopes to lower the barrier to entry for developers through standardized functional application protocol interfaces. The chipmaker has shared code examples, documentation and training through its TI Resource Explorer and SimpleLink Academy.

Texas Instruments’ Adrian Fernandez, microcontroller development experience manager, will be a featured speaker this month at the Enterprise IoT Summit. Fernandez will join executives from AT&T, Verizon, Qualcomm, Intel, Gemalto, Telit and Silicon Labs in the IoT development kit content stream.


Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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