Congregating ST’s quad tech-honchos crafted a never-before locution with Bis Infotech team on solutions which are set to revolutionize the adolescent ‘Smart India’.
Below is the edited nub from the F2F interview during 4th Smart Cities event.
Senior Technical Marketing Manager , Analog And Mems Group, Rf, Sensors And Analog Custom Products, Asean-Anz And India, STMicroelectronics
MCU Marketing Manager, India, STMicroelectronics
Head -Smart Grids and Metering, STMicroelectronics, South Asia, Power and Discretes
Technical Marketing Manager, MMY, India, STMicroelectronics
Q What ST is predominantly showcasing this year at this year’s Smart-Cities event?
Sapna Mongia – This year, we showcased our solutions for smart city, smart grids and metering, smart things and the communication technologies plus the NFC, smart tags offerings. Basically, we demonstrated our vast portfolio, showcasing ST’s Technology leadership in Smart Home & City; Smart Things; Internet of Things to the stakeholders
Q Talking about the Embedded and MEMS segment, complexity is growing for design engineers in coming time because of security and equally rendering solutions integrated in one chip. So how you think is critical or proficient for the design engineers to work with ST?
Vishal Goyal – In the MEMS segment, ST is already a market leader for MEMS in consumer and mobile application and we are the fastest growing company in automotive application. Now, ST is putting strong focus on industrial MEMS and sensors. With these industrial MEMS and sensors, we are giving a 10-year availability guarantee to our customers so that if they start to use our parts we will continue to supply those parts for 10 years. This is not the case with consumer sensors because their technologies changes very fast in line with innovation in consumer devices.
The Industrial sensors are very reliable because there are very less tolerance to failures. They are tuned to the industrial applications with very low noise, high stability and accuracy.
Security is a very critical aspect for any IOT system. In any system, you would require sensors, microcontrollers, and the connectivity to send the data to the receiver and vice versa. Therefore, it is important that the data that you are sending over the whole the network is secured. We take of this aspect through many security features and protocols in our RF technologies and our micro-controllers. We offer 128-bit encryption so that the data that is transferred is secured. Apart from that, we also have several security specific chipsets.
Q Can you elaborate more on the NFCs, its emerging applications from India’s scenario?
Amit Sethi– It is a short-range, wireless link based on radio-frequency identification technology (RFIT) that has the ability to transfer small amounts of data between two devices held close to each other. NFC Operating at 13.56MHz and is based on the RFID HF standard (ISO14443 & ISO15693). It is Interactive and zero power, enabling convenient connection to the Internet of Things.
The demonetization forced everyone to take up smarter means of paying – like digital wallets and net-banking. Near-Field communication (NFC) payments are not to be left behind. Instant payments in seconds is the motto driving contactless cards, which uses near-field communication (NFC) technology. While even swiping a card at a PoS machine takes time for authentication, entering PIN, printing slip etc, NFC cards offer a swift payment option.
Natural Gas, Water and the Electricity are the prominent resource of energy which is used for domestic, commercial and industrial purpose in the whole world. As the resources are limited, a precaution should be taken to minimize misuses and wastage. A contactless NFC card based prepaid metering could be the solution to overcome these situations. This prepayment system can control efficiently the supply of energy in meters installed in the client’s site.
Q In a regime of a tech revolution, how indifferent are the Consumer and Industrial technologies churning, specifically smart devices?
Vishal Goyal – As said earlier, Industrial sensors are more reliable, stable, and accurate and capture less noise. Besides, we give 10-year availability for our Industrial sensors. It makes them different from the requirement in the consumer application. Because in consumer application, the driving factor are:
i. consumption of power-they should consume lesser power because they are driven by battery operated application;
ii. The size should be very small and,
iii. The price should be very less. These are three very major aspects when we drive consumer products.
But in industrial, none of them is so important. The reliability is the most important factor in Industrial applications. In a sense that, customers are ready to pay higher price for a machine that, costs may be thousands of dollars. Industrial machines are power by mains so power consumption is not a very critical criteria in most of the cases. This is how the requirements changes and this is the difference when we design the sensors for industrial applications.
One of the typical example of Industrial applications is the predictive maintenance. It is one of the biggest buzzword today in Smart Industries. For instance, you may know that 60% of the electricity consumed in the industry is consumed by the motors. It becomes very vital to keep them healthy because they are, I would say the single most important component in the industry. So if we are able to maintain motors in a right way and able to predict the failures well in advance, we can avoid the failures by taking actions proactively. This is how predictive maintenance comes into play.
The MEMs and sensors can capture the vibrations that the motor generates. If those vibrations are out of specification, out of the natural frequency of the motor, this information can be captured by FFT analysis and sent over the network. On the cloud, analytics can be done to predict the failure. You will know in advance when the motor is going fail. This is predictive maintenance.
Our focus is strong in this segment and we are showcasing the same in this event. We are also developing some reference designs around the predictive maintenance. Other than that, the other applications for sensors in the industrial domain are the structure monitoring. You can have sensors on any structures or buildings. In case of any natural calamities like earthquake, or any wear and tear on the building, the sensors can capture the tilt or vibration and pass on the information to the cloud using IOT enabled devices. Therefore, Structure Monitoring is the key aspect.
These are the type of applications which are emerging in the industrial sensors.
Q When talking about ST, what are the major technology scopes that the company is looking into from the Smart City concept?
Vinay Thapliyal – For any Smart City concept, we can put key technologies in 3 categories – Sensing, processing and connectivity. As discussed above, we offer wide range of sensors through our state of art MEMS technology. On the other side, we talked about short range connectivity NFC and then completing the things on processing side, ST is one of the pioneer in ARM-Cortex family based Microcontrollers. Today, ST has one of the broadest portfolios in this segment. The key elements of MCU for any application are based on key pillars – one of them is power efficiency. Our Ultra low power family of controllers are very well suitable for such applications. Second element is the performance, the more and more integration, the more of the intelligence you see across the smart home automation or smart cities. That’s another pillar and our portfolio is enhancing the same through our high performance portfolio. The third element is the Connectivity. While our NFC devices provide short term connectivity; BLE is another good portfolio where ST’s focus is strong. Then going forward with the long distance connectivity, where you want to sense the data or you want some automation data to be monitored from very long distance or remote locations. ST stands strong in these Long Range solutions – LoRa and Sigfox are very good technology offerings to support this purpose. We are doing a lot of integrations also on the MCU side. So all these three pillars i.e. Ultra-Low-Power, High performance and integration of connectivity solutions are ST’s strong points in the MCU portfolio.
Q Adding more, many of the power semiconductor companies are working on materials like SiC and GaN. Do you think ST will be focusing or is already focusing on these materials?
Sapna Mongia – ST’s portfolio of silicon carbide devices includes 650 / 1200 V SiC MOSFETs featuring the industry’s highest junction temperature rating of 200 °C for more efficient and simplified designs.ST has done a lot of research in this area. ST already has customers using these devices.
Q Which technologies are showcased at ST Booth?
ST has all the key ingredients for the IoT: Technologies, Products and Partnerships to continue fueling our growth. We want to clearly demonstrate the unique value and benefits of ST’s Smart Home/City products and technologies to the varied stakeholders.
The theme of our booth was ST is making Cities Smarter. Over 22 demos showcase ST’s technology leadership in Smart Power, Sensors, Connectivity, Microcontrollers, NFC/RFID and Smart meters. A first time showcase of STM32 ODE Wall and Bluetooth Mesh demo along with Smart Parking, Smart Street Lighting based on PLC, Alexa, SmarTAG were displayed.