Building a secure, cloud-connected IoT deployment can be a complex process that depends on hardware kit selection, security considerations, and cloud connectivity. All of these areas can easily derail an IoT project, resulting in wasted time and resources.
To help address these complexities, and to help businesses focus on faster development and scalability, we collaborated with Microchip on the AVR-IoT WG development board (WG abbreviates “Wi-Fi” and “Google”). This device is the first cloud-connected, 8-bit microcontroller (MCU) development board connected to Google Cloud Platform, lowering the barrier to entry to develop IoT solutions across cost, security, and cloud connectivity.
8-bit MCUs are designed into billions of IoT devices each year, from medical devices in healthcare, to smart metering systems for utilities, to portable consumer applications. Additionally, across multi-processor designs, 8-bit MCUs are often used to offload timing-critical and safety-sensitive workloads. Now, with the addition of a secure element and Wi-Fi connectivity, customers with IoT deployments can deliver new use cases in segments such as consumer appliances, industrial equipment, retail and more, or upgrade the billions of existing designs in market with connectivity to Google Cloud.
The AVR-IoT (WG) development board allows developers to connect their devices to Cloud IoT Core and take advantage of Google Cloud services across new and existing projects with a single click using Microchip’s free online portal. Once connected, developers can access Microchip’s rapid development tools: MPLAB(R) Code Configurator (MCC) is an integrated developer environment (IDE) for programming and cross-compiling C for the architecture, and Atmel START is a set of libraries that allow easy driver and middleware integration. Both tools enable embedded systems engineers to develop and debug in the cloud. The board combines smart, connected and secure devices to permit designers to quickly connect IoT designs to Google Cloud, including:
Cloud-connected AVR(R) microcontroller (MCU) with integrated peripherals. The ATmega4808 8-bit MCU offers the processing power and simplicity of the AVR architecture with added advanced sensing and robust actuation features. With the latest Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) that decrease power consumption, it provides dependable performance in real-time sensing and control applications.
Secure element to protect the root of trust in hardware. The ATECC608A cryptographic co-processor device provides a trusted and protected identity for each device that can be securely authenticated. ATECC608A devices come pre-registered on Google Cloud IoT Core and are ready for use with zero-touch provisioning.
Wi-Fi connectivity to Google Cloud. The ATWINC1510 is an industrial-grade, fully certified IEEE 802.11b/g/n IoT network controller that provides an easy connection to an MCU of choice via a flexible SPI interface. The module relieves designers from needing expertise in networking protocols, allowing simple, easy connection to Google Cloud.
“The goal of our collaboration with Google Cloud on the AVR-IoT WG is to provide engineers with a simplified development process so businesses can bring IoT designs to market quickly,” says Steve Drehobl, vice president of Microchip’s 8-bit MCU business unit. “Because the board is supported by both MCC and Atmel START, designers can accelerate development using their preferred tool.”
Once devices like the AVR-IoT WG connect to Google Cloud, they’ll have access to data and analytics services such as BigQuery and machine learning products such as AutoML. With these cloud products, you can store petabytes of telemetry data and make fast queries to gain insights from your IoT solution or customize machine learning models that add autonomous or classification capabilities to low-power endpoint devices, all with a simple REST API call to Google Cloud. The connection to Cloud IoT Core also offers the scalability to manage millions of devices across Google’s high-speed global infrastructure.
“We were very impressed with how quickly and seamlessly we were able to get sensor data to the cloud and visualize it. Google and Microchip have removed all of the friction typically encountered when publishing IoT data securely from the edge. Embedded engineers everywhere are going to love this product.” says Eric Conn, CEO and Co-Founder of Leverage, a design firm partner working with Google Cloud and Microchip.