Silicon Labs platform suits embedded IoT devices

  • August 23, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

At its fourth annual Works with Developers virtual conference this week, Silicon Labs announced its Series 3 platform, purpose-built for embedded IoT devices, and the SG23 and SG28 systems on chips (SoCs) for Amazon Sidewalk.

The always-on, community-driven Amazon Sidewalk network uses three radios: Bluetooth LE for device provisioning and nearby device connectivity; sub-GHz FSK for connectivity up to 1.6km; and a proprietary CSS radio for extreme long-range. Most Amazon Sidewalk end-devices will support Bluetooth LE and one of the two long-range protocols: FSK or CSS.

The SG28 includes two dual-band SoCs with radios for both sub-GHz FSK as well as Bluetooth LE. For device makers, the SG28 dual-band parts help simplify their devices and reduce cost by including the two most used radios on Sidewalk end-devices in one package, while the SG23 provides security and a robust sub-GHz link budget for long-range, end-node devices.

With a move to the 22nm process node, Silicon Labs Series 3 devices will be designed to offer compute, wireless performance and energy efficiency with the highest levels of IoT security architected to the silicon.

To help developers and device manufacturers streamline and accelerate product designs, Silicon Labs also announced the next version of its Simplicity Studio developer tool suite. With support for the firm’s entire portfolio, including Series 3, Simplicity Studio 6 will let developers use some of the most favoured integrated development environments (IDEs), while giving them the latest tools to support their continued development on Series 2 as well as Series 3.

“Our Series 3 platform is built for a more connected world that demands development flexibility and that more intelligence be pushed to the edge,” said Silicon Labs CEO Matt Johnson. “Series 3 not only meets the needs of developers and device manufacturers today but is built to meet their needs for the next decade.”

The initial Series 1 and current Series 2 platforms continue to help scale the IoT, connect more devices, and open up applications. In large part, this is because they formed a platform with many commonalities that developers could leverage, and Series 3 follows in the same way.

Series 3 devices will provide more processing power at far-edge devices across all IoT applications in key areas including smart cities and civil infrastructure, commercial buildings, retail and warehouses, smart factories and Industry 4.0, smart homes, personal and clinical healthcare, and the demand for increasingly portable, secure, compute-intensive applications.

Building on the firm’s Secure Vault technology, the first security package to earn PSA Level 3 certification, Series 3 devices will include all the security features available on Series 2 devices with enhancements to make them the most secure devices in the IoT market. Targeting critical power points with proprietary improvements could add years to a device’s battery life.

Series 3 will bring more than a hundred times processing capability, including integrated AI and ML accelerators for edge devices, enabling consolidation of system processing into wireless SoCs. With the increases in programmable compute, developers can eliminate MCUs taking up space and adding cost to their systems. This will include digital and analogue peripherals enabling higher-performance systems.

Series 3 will be a multi-radio IoT platform with a common code base for over 30 products across key wireless protocols including Bluetooth LE, wifi, Wi-Sun, 15.4, multiprotocol and proprietary protocols. This will let developers use one common set of tools to build applications and programme countless devices. In addition, it will support an extendable, scalable memory architecture, including external flash.

The move to 22nm will open scalability for Series 3. The past several years have included several events and trends that have put a strain on the semiconductor supply chain across the entire industry, and the IoT hasn’t been immune. To reduce geographic risk and disruptions for users, Series 3 will be produced in multiple fabs across multiple geographies.

Along with Series 3 hardware, Texas-based Silicon Labs also announced Simplicity Studio 6, the latest version of its application development and productivity tools. Simplicity Studio 6 will bring the latest development tools to the entire Labs portfolio of devices, including Series 1 and Series 2, while giving developers a bridge to Series 3.

One of the most common pieces of developer feedback is they don’t want to be locked into vendor-specific tools, and they increasingly want to leverage open-source communities and third-party applications to enhance their development capabilities. Because of this, the biggest and most impactful change to Simplicity Studio 6 is the decoupling of the IDE from the firm’s productivity tools. With the launch of Simplicity Studio 6, Silicon Labs is letting developers use some of the most requested IDEs in the industry and not be locked into a vendor-specific IDE.

“We recognise that development is not a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Michael Norman, senior product manager at Silicon Labs. “That’s why we wanted to present developers with the most complete set of tools, support for an expansive universe of providers, and let them choose. We want to offer a great platform, tools, and support and get out of their way.”

To fulfil that goal, Silicon Labs has announced an extension for Microsoft Visual Studio Code, a popular tool for software development. This extension will enable Silicon Labs applications, new or existing, to be developed from within Visual Studio Code. A beta release of the Silicon Labs extension is available for download in the Visual Studio Code Marketplace that works with the latest version of Simplicity Studio 5.

To hear more about what was announced at the Works with Developers virtual conference, visit