Power Efficient MCU From Alif Semi Drive AI in Cellular IoT Applications
September 16, 2021
The Ensemble and Crescendo product families, developed by Alif Semiconductor, represent the latest in secure connected, AI-enabled, and power efficient MCUs and fusion processors aimed at always-connected IoT products. Boy, that’s a mouth full, but it’s accurate and it’s a big deal.
These two families fill the need for scalable devices that integrate AI/ML acceleration, multi-layered security, LTE Cat-M1 and NB-IoT connectivity, and GNSS positioning. The parts also integrate enough memory to enable the design of today’s IoT products, regardless of whether the processing needs to occur locally or in the Cloud.
The power efficiency comes thanks to Alif’s Autonomous Intelligent Power Management (aiPM) technology that allows fine-grained control of when resources in the chip are being powered. The result is a much-desired class of battery-powered IoT devices.
The Ensemble family is built with processor cores ranging from single Arm Cortex-M55 MCUs up to a new class of multi-core devices—fusion processors—that blend one or two Cortex-M55 MCU cores, one or two Cortex-A32 processor cores capable of running high-level OSs, and up to two Arm Ethos-U55 micro-NPUs for AI and machine-learning acceleration.
Ensemble devices contain multiple layers of security, including device integrity protection, secure identity, strong root-of-trust, and secure lifecycle management. Together with large on-chip SRAM and non-volatile memory, accelerated graphics, imaging, and reduced power dissipation, the Ensemble family is suited for smart home products, appliances, point-of sale, and robotics applications.
The Crescendo family offers the same functionality as the Ensemble family, but adds LTE Cat-M1 and NB-IoT Cellular connectivity, optional iSIM for simplified subscriber management, integrated RF, power amplifiers, and a concurrent GNSS receiver for positioning. The result is a processor that has the feature set needed for next-generation smart city, connected infrastructure, asset tracking, healthcare devices, and wearables.