USA - MIPS Technologies (www.mips.com) and Vango Technologies (www.vangotech.com/int) announced they are working together to provide solutions for the fast-growing China smart grid market. Vango will leverage MIPS Technologies' popular
MIPS32 M14K processor cores to provide 32-bit microcontroller functionality in smart meter and smart grid SoCs. Through the MIPS Alliance Program (MAP), the companies will also partner to promote reliable next-generation smart grid solutions.
According to a report by Innovation Observatory, utilities worldwide will collectively invest more than US$378 billion in building electricity smart grids by 2030. The report notes that China will be the top-spending market in that period, with annual smart grid capex overtaking the U.S. from around 2016. In a public statement, the report's co-author Catherine Viola noted that "China's plans for wide-scale smart meter deployment will see it install over 360 million smart meters by 2030. We expect China's overall spend on smart grid development to reach US$99 billion by that date -- more than a quarter of the global total."
Currently, most power meters are based on 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs. While these MCUs meet current market needs, the future outlook calls for 32-bit MCUs to facilitate complex, uninterrupted and secure processing.
32-bit MCUs enable meters to scale for future needs, providing the hardware necessary to support tomorrow's sophisticated software, which can be updated in the field without interruption.
With its 8-bit MCU solutions, Vango is already an established supplier of solutions for China's power grid market. Its chips have been adopted by tier-one meter companies in China, and are leveraged by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the world's largest utility. Vango is one of the largest providers of chips to SGCC's rural power grid market, and is making inroads into urban markets. In addition, Vango CEO Dr. Nick Tan was recently appointed as senior advisor to the Microelectronics Department of SGCC. In this role, Dr. Tan provides technical advice regarding IC design and qualification for the smart grid.
"Uninterrupted power is a necessity today, and can be a matter of life-or-death. For this reason, nothing is more important than reliable power grid management," said Dr. Tan. "With the established and proven MIPS architecture, we can create reliable 32-bit solutions that are high-performance and low-power. Together with MIPS, we look forward to dramatically expanding our role in China's smart grid."
"We are delighted to work with Vango, an innovative company that holds a leadership position in China's power grid market," said Gideon Intrater, vice president of marketing, MIPS Technologies. "In our M14K cores, the industry-standard MIPS architecture has been specifically enhanced to address technical challenges specific to MCUs, providing advantages over the competition in terms of higher performance, lower power and more advanced features. With these cores, which are widely used in embedded designs, Vango can create scalable, cost-effective and trusted 32-bit MCU solutions."
MIPS32 M14K Core with microMIPS(TM) ISA The M14K core offers advanced features that are optimized for MCU and real-time embedded applications. It incorporates the microMIPS code compression Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), which offers uncompromised 32-bit performance with exceptional code density by using an optimal combination of 16- and 32-bit instructions. Executing the microMIPS ISA achieves 98% of the performance with up to a 35% reduction in code size relative to MIPS32-only mode. The M14K core achieves best-in-class performance of 3.09 CoreMarks/MHz and 1.57 DMIPS/MHz in microMIPS mode.
The M14K core is supported by a comprehensive, integrated set of software and hardware development tools, an evaluation/development platform and a broad ecosystem of third party partners providing RTOS, debug probes, software development tools, SoC design tools and complete Linux distribution packages that help achieve 'first time' designs and reduce time-to-market.