Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Tatung modules suit smart city applications

Steve Rogerson
January 28, 2015
At last week’s Smart City Expo in Taipei, Taiwanese company Tatung announced a line of embedded modules developed for smart city applications such as electrical vehicle charging, intelligent street lighting, and pervasive sensing and control. The modules have been designed to suit applications where system integration, standards-based communications protocols, reliability and cost are key considerations.
"We believe that the smart city is all about dealing with data and processes autonomously to make our lives more efficient and comfortable," said Alan Pan, chief strategy officer of Tatung's consumer business group. “However, today we lack pervasive computing devices that can practically and seamlessly weave through the web for smart cities regardless of communication methods and data-exchange formats.”
The range starts with compact-sized M1 and M3 boards that have built-in power-line communications, and Linux- or Java-based system-processing capabilities. The UDK-21, for use as an intelligent gateway, is an expanded version of M3 that includes a stackable C3 board and hosts an array of peripheral control devices.
Additionally, the MEVSE board has a design for use in smart EV charging stations, while the MGX board enables pervasive smart city sensing and control. The MGX board can also be used as an intelligent network hub virtually anywhere in a large, wide area deployment.
The modules are based on the ST Microelectronics ST2100 StreamPlug that combines a processing subsystem with powerline communications (PLC), security and peripherals to support hybrid networks using popular wired and wireless standards including HomePlug AV and HomePlug Green Phy.
At the Smart City Expo, Tatung displayed its full line of modules with software developed with its partners, including New Jersey-based Arkados, which has provided software support packages that complete the software release of these modules. The support packages integrate board-level software and provide developers with a complete development environment. In addition, Arkados' LinqUSP device-management software has been added as a utility for managing the device lifecycle, a critical task throughout the smart city application.
"With Arkados' rich experience in PLC technology and expertise in embedded- and application-software development, we are in a strong position to continue contributing to perfecting Tatung's embedded modules for a wide range of smart city applications," said Terrence DeFranco, CEO of Arkados. "Our focus goes beyond architecting software for these modules at the embedded level. We also support developers in building valuable products on our platform and enabling rapid deployment and lower development costs. Speed and quality of application development are crucial and we are already seeing great traction with large customers."
Specialised software IP, such as the Grid2Home Smart Energy Profile 2.0 and Prosyst's OSGi have also been integrated, according to application needs.
"Our goal at Tatung is to work with our partners and play an indispensable role in this area,” said Pan. “We believe our full-line modules will be among the first in the industry to provide complete building blocks for smart city network-based computing for smart energy management, sensing and control, and remote monitoring. The cooperation with Arkados in developing the software support packages has been an important step of our accomplishment."