Developing IoT products is still much too complex, says Silicon Labs

February 26, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
The main components of an internet-of-things application have been available for some time: why have the numbers of such designs not yet taken off? According to Silicon Labs' Geir Førre, senior vice president and general manager of MCU and wireless products, one reason is that development has been too complex.

Førre commented to EDN Europe that if the expected billions of devices are to be realised, the development process must be made aceessible to a wider user base. One step along that road is the company's free-to-download Simplicity Studio Platform, a design environment that provides unified support for 32-bit EFM32 Gecko microcontrollers (MCUs) and 8-bit MCUs. The new Simplicity Studio platform also integrates an Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE) that supports both 32-bit and 8-bit embedded designs.

Simplicity Studio is designed to give embedded designers using Silabs devices with everything they need to complete their projects, from initial concept to final product. The platform has built-in intelligence to detect the connected target MCU. Graphical hardware configuration tools automatically configure the MCU, freeing the developer from studying technical documentation. Developers can get projects up and running in minutes with sample demos and application code examples.

Simplicity Studio enables Silicon Labs’ MCU customers to develop on both 8- and 32-bit MCUs, without having to learn new software tools. This unified approach saves time and resources for customers needing both 8- and 32-bit MCUs and reduces the learning curve for new projects. Using Simplicity Studio, developers can explore Silicon Labs’ entire MCU portfolio, product options and embedded design solutions. The platform helps developers select the right MCU for their applications, provides integrated links to purchase MCU products and development kits, and offers extensive training materials.

Embedded developers can use the integrated Simplicity IDE to develop and debug their firmware. The IDE supports Eclipse plugins, uses the Eclipse Debugger for C/C++, and supports Keil and Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC) build tools. Silicon Labs also provides 8-bit MCU developers with Keil PK51 build tools at no charge. For customers who prefer the Keil µVision or IAR Embedded Workbench IDE, there is third-party tools support, allowing developers to launch their preferred IDE from inside Simplicity Studio. The package also configures MCU pin-out and peripheral placement and