Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Renesas kit lets developers evaluate cellular IoT options

Steve Rogerson
October 4, 2018

Renesas Electronics has announced a hardware and software reference design that allows embedded developers to evaluate cellular connectivity options and build low-power wide area (LPWA) cellular IoT applications.
The Synergy AE-Cloud 2 kit with the SSP v1.5.0 Synergy software package simplifies connecting IoT sensor devices to enterprise cloud services using 4G LTE Cat-M1 and Cat-NB1, also called NB-IoT, with fall back to 2G and EGPRS cellular networks.
The kit’s functionality accelerates the prototyping of cellular-enabled IoT devices for asset tracking, retail and agriculture monitoring, smart cities and utilities, mobile healthcare, and industrial automation.
Each hardware kit includes a Synergy S5D9 microcontroller baseboard, tri-mode cellular modem with cellular and GPS antennas, wifi, Ethernet, and various sensors such as lighting, microphone, temperature, humidity, pressure, air quality, geomagnetic, accelerometer and gyroscope.
For cellular access, developers insert a SIM card with data plan purchased from a local cellular carrier. The kit’s software lets developers provision the kit to connect to a 4G LTE IoT cellular network and their preferred cloud service provider – Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure or Medium One Cloud. Users can visualise their sensor data on a customisable, password-protected dashboard.
The kit ensures EMC performance, having passed global RF emissions tests. In addition, it complies with global regulatory certifications for FCC, CE, RoHs, WEEE and Japan MIC. Optimised hardware and software can save developers months of design time and resources creating a scalable, energy efficient and secure end-to-end LPWA cellular IoT application that can be used anywhere in the world.
“Renesas is the first MCU supplier to deliver a 4G LTE Cat-M1 and Cat-NB1-based reference design kit that is certified to operate globally, uses wifi and Ethernet, and offers cloud service example projects,” said Daryl Khoo, vice president for product marketing at the Japanese company’s IoT platform business division. “The kit’s wide array of sensors, global cellular modem and GPS capability open the door to countless IoT monitoring and control applications for deployment on a broad scale. Developers can use the kit to build prototypes and then reuse the hardware and software from the kit as reference building blocks to accelerate their own production applications.”
Features of the kit include: Synergy S5D9 MCU baseboard; Quectel low-power BG96 cellular module supporting 4G LTE Cat-M1, Cat-NB1 and 2G or EGPRS; and sensors for sampling and sending measurement data to the cloud. The sensors are the Renesas ISL29035 digital light sensor for ambient and infra-red light measurement, Bosch BMI160 MEMS sensor for acceleration and gyroscopic measurement, Bosch BMM150 MEMS three-axis geomagnetic sensor for compass navigation, Bosch BME680 MEMS sensor for gas, temperature, humidity and pressure measurements, and Knowles SPM0687LR5H-1 analogue microphone for sound and voice capture.
Features of SSP v1.5.0 include: customisable production grade software; Thread X real-time-operating system; Net X Duo MQTT message queue telemetry transport and Net X Secure TLS transport layer security for secure communications with cloud services; support for HTTPS client and HTTP 1.1 client; wireless frameworks for connecting to LTE IoT networks and cloud services; SSP cellular framework providing APIs to provision, configure and communicate with cellular network for data communication; and example projects for Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Medium One, including reference code and instructions for connecting AE-Cloud 2 to each cloud service using Ethernet, wifi or LTE IoT cellular.
Renesas will be demonstrating the kit at the Arm TechCon, October 17-18, in the San Jose Convention Center.