Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Accent slashes smart meter development time with ASMgrid2 kits and standard product offering

MILAN, ITALY: Accent, a leading smart grid semiconductor supplier of communications and metering technologies, announced the availability of three development kits for its ASMgrid2 standard product family.

The three platforms showcase Accent’s one and two chip complete Smart Meter solutions, enabling unprecedented functionality and bill-of-material savings. Each kit includes a rich software suite, reference application examples, expandable hardware boards, and industry-standard tool chain support for plug-and-play operation.

Communication standards supported include ZigBee PRO, IEEE 802.15.4g, G3, PRIME, and IEEE P1901.2. The kits include a rich test environment which with the ASMgrid2 software libraries will speed a developer’s application certifications. For breakthrough energy measurement capability, Accent’s AEMET offers the industry’s widest dynamic range (10,000:1) available and superior accuracy for IEC and ANSI Class 0.2 meters.

ASM201 kit: For smart meter and home communication apps
Powered by a 192 MHz ARM9 in the ASM201, the kit provides meter developers a highly scalable application platform to satisfy current and future performance requirements. Developers may choose from either a 16 MB SDRAM or NOR Flash options for an extremely cost-effective solution to handle the industry trend of ever-increasing memory requirements.

The full spectrum of single-phase and split-phase sensor configurations is supported for leading utility-grade energy measurement with Accent’s AEMET solution. For Smart Home applications, the kit includes a complete 2.4 GHz ZigBee PRO solution and required software stack. The kit also supports additional stack processing, as would be required for a RF Mesh system, via appropriate serial connectors and software.

ASM211 kit: For advanced RF mesh networks
The ASM211 kit represents the industry’s first IEEE 802.15.4g system to implement both required FSK as well as optional higher-speed OFDM options. At a maximum rate of 800 kbps, the kit offers 4x the performance over 802.15.4g FSK-only alternatives or a 2-3x range improvement while transmitting at a comparable lower rate.

The ASM211 boards support US, European, and Korean RF bands specified in the standard as well as includes required modem software libraries for Accent’s SUNFX-4G solution. The innovative software-based, hardware-accelerated architecture utilizes the ARM CortexTM-M0 to provide a cost-effective solution for metering applications.

ASM221 kit: For OFDM powerline and smart meter apps
Targeting Smart Meter applications popular in Europe, Accent’s ASM221 kit supports narrowband OFDM PLC standards including PRIME, G3, and evolving P1901.2. The kit’s turnkey software offering includes respective PHY, MAC, and convergence layer software libraries, with a similar flexible approach to the ASM211 taken for the PLC PHY, SUNFX-PLC. Only a small portion of the 110 DMIPS from the ASM221 ARM Cortex-M3 is used for SUNFX-PLC processing, leaving the remainder to serve as a meter’s central application processor. The ASM221 kit also integrates Accent’s AEMET with similar energy measurement support as the ASM201.

“Accent ASMgrid2 kits incorporate unprecedented system capability tailored to the unique system needs of Smart Grid equipment manufacturers. This has been done while also providing an easy-to-use development environment to harness the advanced capabilities of the ASMgrid2 family and complete software offerings,” said Federico Arcelli, CEO of Accent. “As a result, Accent has removed the significant barrier associated with incorporating a new product into a meter design as well as accelerated the development process.”

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