The continuing evolution of microcontroller (MCU) architecture has led to increased intelligence in embedded designs, while cloud connectivity introduces a whole new world of capabilities for businesses and users alike, including a superior user experience, remote operation, automated control and intelligent networking. In many cases, connectivity substantially enhances the utility, serviceability and versatility of embedded systems.
The value of the IoT comes from its interconnectedness. An IoT system must often be able to connect in two directions: down to its sources of data, such as sensors or other IoT devices, and up into the cloud, such as to a data aggregator or centralized control point. Connecting to data sources requires support for a wide range of machine-to-machine (M2M) protocols running over interfaces such as I2 C, Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) or universal asynchronous receiver transmitter (UART). For many applications, the industry and application define the types of M2M interfaces a system requires.
Connecting to the cloud through the internet requires an Internet Protocol (IP)-based interface, typically Ethernet for wired connectivity and Wi-Fi® for wireless applications. The ubiquity of 10/100 Ethernet makes it a compelling option when you need secure connectivity to a wired product line. The challenge is to implement this connectivity at the lowest cost and power without compromising performance or reliability.