How PIC® and AVR® Technologies Help Drive the Evolution of IoT
Over the last 30 years, the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) has played a major role in the growth of enterprise, industry and consumer products. This embedded technology has evolved idle objects into locatable, addressable and readable counterparts of the Internet. It drives connectivity, interactivity and dynamicity, extending "anywhere, anyhow and anytime" interactions into "anything, anyone and any service" connectivity.
The virtual representation of an object can only be seen when connected through the Internet, which in turn paves a path for new products and services across many different domains. Interconnected devices help collect data and create opportunities for important functions such as situational awareness, enabling applications, machines and human users to better understand their surrounding environments. PIC and AVR microcontrollers are at the heart of millions of these embedded applications. However, as developers migrate next generation PIC and AVR based applications to the cloud, they must overcome complexities associated with low power budgets, security, communication protocols and hardware compatibility.
To accelerate the development of these applications, Microchip and Google have partnered to develop two easy-to-use, secure and lower-power IoT development platforms: The PIC--IoT WG Development Board and the AVR-IoT WG Development Board. This collaboration has established a bridge between embedded applications and the Google Cloud IoT Core with the combination of a low-power microcontroller, the CryptoAuthentication™ secure element IC and a fully certified Wi-Fi® network controller. The boards exhibit three of the most important characteristics of a cloud-based application, offering simplicity, security and uncompromised connectivity.
The Harvard architecture of Microchip’s PIC and AVR microcontrollers allow developers of all skill levels to easily convert their ideas into real-time applications. However, the main concern of IoT-based applications is security. Functioning as Microchip CryptoAuthentication devices, the PIC- and AVR-IoT boards boast hardware-based, ultra-secure key storage with an ATECC608A secure element. This element protects the private keys and increases the power efficiency, enabling the microcontroller to communicate securely with the Google Cloud. In addition, Microchip’s Wi-Fi network control module offers the complete solution for wireless connectivity by supporting the complete TCP/IP stack that helps automatically authenticate the server’s connection to the Google Cloud. The connectivity is then strengthened by the Google IoT Core Cloud, using the MQTT publish and subscribe model and by employing a mechanism based on the JSON Web Token (JWT) to make the authentication process efficient on even the smallest 8-bit microcontroller architectures.
To establish a simple, secure and easy communication connection with the Google Cloud, the only requirements are a PIC- or AVR-IoT WG Development Board, a data-cable and an internet connection—ultimately delivering a seamless plug and play process.
The Atmel START and MPLAB® Code Configurator (MCC) tools pave the way for users of the PIC and AVR Curiosity development boards. To view temperature and light exposure information on the Google Cloud, users can download and export the inbuilt IoT application projects. These tools also provide interface-oriented applications that help users view air quality and weather-based information, just by interfacing with some of the widely used MikroElektronika Click boards™ such as Air quality click or Weather click. Once the PIC- or AVR-IoT board is connected to the PC, and the examples from MPLAB Code Configurator or Atmel START are configured, downloaded, exported and run on the respective IDE, the user can open the drive of the Curiosity board and view the temperature, light, air quality or weather details via the clickme.html link.
With the help of these simple and secure implementations, the continued evolution of IoT technologies will push the boundaries of a smarter, more connected world. To learn more about Microchip’s PIC or AVR Development Boards, please visit www.microchip.com or contact your local Microchip representative.
Note: The Microchip name and logo, the Microchip logo, PIC and MPLAB are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. and other countries. CryptoAuthentication is a trademark of Microchip Technology Inc. in the U.S.A. and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective companies.