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Microchip Collaboration

Microchip collaboration with a distribution partner and a leading street lighting innovator results in a connected street light solution that also powers a new generation of connected nodes for smart city applications.

Microchip Collaboration

Microchip collaboration with a distribution partner and a leading street lighting innovator results in a connected street light solution that also powers a new generation of connected nodes for smart city applications.


Smart

Features dashboard control and monitoring at Municipality local level and beyond, enabling a runway for future smart city applications.

Smart

Features dashboard control and monitoring at Municipality local level and beyond, enabling a runway for future smart city applications.

Connected

Real-time cloud connectivity with leading-edge Microchip LoRa® and Bluetooth® solutions.

Connected

Real-time cloud connectivity with leading-edge Microchip LoRa® and Bluetooth® solutions.

Secure

Microchip CryptoAuthentication™ solution set featuring advanced confidentiality, data integrity, and authentication to systems with MCU or MPUs running encryption/decryption algorithms.

Secure

Microchip CryptoAuthentication™ solution set featuring advanced confidentiality, data integrity, and authentication to systems with MCU or MPUs running encryption/decryption algorithms.

From the earliest attempts to harness volcanic gas or burning oil, humans have been lured by the prospects of squeezing more useful hours from each day by lighting up the night. Municipal street lights have been illuminating the paths of travelers for hundreds of years now, with many urban cores operating 24/7 as cities that never, or rarely, sleep.

As public utility organizations work with their trusted vendors to address the migration to LED-based lighting, all manner of related technology advancements have been introduced into the mix. The height, location and elevation of a municipality’s street lights (or more importantly, their poles) offer a promising locale for smart traffic sensors, security cameras, public Wi-Fi hotspots, environmental sensors, small cell wireless antennas, solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, and IoT nodes for applications that have yet to be developed.

THE CHALLENGE


Designing the Next Generation of IoT-enabled Street Lights

A leading lighting systems vendor approached Microchip to discuss their vision for interconnected street lights as a prerequisite for future Smart City initiatives. They described the landscape of LED street lights as lacking widescale connectivity and an operating environment without universal standards. Urban leaders often faced expensive operational costs and maintenance burdens, along with less-than-stellar energy efficiency outcomes. Their experts felt that a strong response to increasing municipal demands for Smart City IoT solutions and the opportunity to introduce smarter street light solutions would give them a competitive edge in their regional markets and enhance their position globally.

A Catalyst for the Smart City

Smart City schemes promise cost-effective solutions for managing public assets and interconnection among neighboring communities. In both state-run utility agencies and in highly-regulated public/private agencies, the concept of street lights as catalysts for Smart City projects has a great deal of momentum. IoT-enabled street lights of the future are projected to decrease the cost of municipal lighting, and offer advanced capabilities that were unthinkable a generation ago. City managers will be able to manipulate the illumination levels throughout the day, increasing them gradually as sunset approaches. Spikes in vehicle traffic, dynamic changes in weather conditions, antisocial behaviors and public gatherings at major events could all be supplemented with increased lighting from smart city platforms (SCPs).  Secondary services including air quality measurement and noise pollution monitoring could be supported by the smart lighting networks.

Streetlights Get Smart Diagram

The Solution


A Scalable Architecture for the IoT-enabled City of Tomorrow

The initial meeting led to more detailed discussions between the Microchip sales team and the vendor’s design and executive teams. With a long history of success in the development of microcontrollers, embedded wireless connectivity solutions and security applications, Microchip proposed an innovative LoRaWAN™-based approach for the company’s next-gen connected streetlights in collaboration with a trusted distribution partner.

This project mandated a solution that could produce a low total cost of ownership and simply the design process so the solution could be launched in a short time frame. Interoperability for future expansion and wide scale deployment were also critical to the success of the project.

Low Power, Wide Area Networking with Security Baked In

Microchip’s 433/868 MHz RN2483 LoRaWAN module turned out to be ideal. It is a European R&TTE Directive Assessed Radio Module, which accelerated the development time for the UK company while reducing development costs. With a form factor of 17.8 x 26.7 x 3.0 mm with 14 GPIOs, it provides the flexibility to connect and control many sensors and actuators while taking up very little space. Perfect for connected street lamps.

Enhanced security features were paramount for a first-of-its-kind solution leveraging an open long-range wireless network. Microchip was able to serve this mandate as well, with its ATECC608A CryptoAuthentication™ device. The ATECC608A part of Microchip’s family of high-security cryptographic devices which combine world-class hardware-based key storage with hardware cryptographic accelerators to implement various authentication and encryption protocols.

Hybrid Wireless Connectivity

For short-range wireless connectivity, the connected street light solution would rely on a trusted module from Microchip’s Bluetooth portfolio. With a small form factor, the surface mount module has the complete Bluetooth stack on-board and is controlled via simple ASCII commands over the UART interface.  The device also includes all Bluetooth SIG profiles, as well as MLDP (Microchip Low-energy Data Profile) for custom data.

High performance and reliability characteristics made the Microchip SST26VF016B Serial Quad I/O (SQI) flash device a perfect choice. Utilizing a 4-bit multiplexed I/O serial interface to boost performance while maintaining the compact form factor of standard serial flash devices, the SST26VF016B also supports full command-set compatibility to traditional Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) protocol. 

The Result

Microchip and our distribution partner were able to offer a collaborative approach to the customer, supporting the design from start to finish and enabling each of the three companies to bring their best design elements to the project. As a result, the customer was able to launch a groundbreaking, adaptable connectivity node in 2018 that can be used with any brand of street light.

Featured Product
Microchip Low-Power Long Range LoRa® Technology Transceiver Module

More Building Blocks

  • Microchip Bluetooth® Low Energy Module
  • Microchip Serial Quad I/O (SQI) Flash Device
  • Microchip CryptoAuthentication™ Device
Featured Product
Microchip Low-Power Long Range LoRa® Technology Transceiver Module

More Building Blocks

  • Microchip Bluetooth® Low Energy Module
  • Microchip Serial Quad I/O (SQI) Flash Device
  • Microchip CryptoAuthentication™ Device