Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Accent pivots business model to smart grid

Milan, Italy, September 6, 2011 - Accent, a world leading semiconductor supplier of communications and metering technologies, announced today its second-generation ASMgrid™ standard product family targeted at the demanding performance needs required by Smart Meters. ASMgrid2™incorporates optimized flexibility to support and track next-generation home-area-network (HAN) and near-area-network (NAN) communication standards including IEEE 802.15.4g, G3, PRIME, IEEE 1901.2, home area networking with IEEE 802.15.4. The ASSPs feature breakthrough system capability to address the demanding performance, cost, and scalability needs of Smart Grid equipment manufacturers.

While Smart Grid trials and deployments are in full force in many parts of the world, solution providers are still defining more advanced communication standards and product features which would be required in electric meters. Unfortunately, silicon solutions available today fall short in either providing support for newer technologies or doing so in a cost effective and scalable manner. The ASMgrid2 product family reconciles these competing forces through market leading silicon integration and technology innovation at the architectural and design level.

To provide complete advanced smart meter solutions, the ASMgrid2 system-on-chip architecture encompasses a broad range of technologies including high-precision analog-front-ends, RF transceivers, non-volatile memories, and processing capabilities needed to run required protocol stacks and vendor application software. Each one of the three devices in the ASMgrid2 product family contains an ARM® processor for unmatched performance, code density, and development capability. In addition to other processing, the ARM processors are also used in combination with hardware acceleration for Accent’s SUNFXTM modems, providing adaptable solutions for still evolving utility communication standards.

"We're delighted Accent is adopting Cortex-M and ARM9 series processors as key technology elements in what is certain to be a significant enabler for the smart grid industry," said Eric Schorn, VP Marketing, Processor Division, ARM. "The ARM architecture provides an ideal low-power processing solution to meet the sensitive performance and cost needs of smart meters that are expected to operate for periods up to 20 years on a single battery."

“The ASMgrid2 ASSP family represents industry-first solutions in terms of technology, integration and feature set specifically designed to optimally address advanced Smart Meters, by offering compelling solutions to equipment manufacturers seeking to support the latest and future meter communication technologies with built-in system scalability plus rich feature set to address their long product life cycles”, said Federico Arcelli, CEO of Accent.


To satisfy the increased processing and every expanding memory needs required in smart metering, Accent offers the ASM201. The device’s unprecedented integration replaces as many as five ICs for unparalleled system capability and significant cost reduction compared to alternative solutions. In addition to Accent’s AEMET™ energy measurement as well as IEEE 2.4 GHz radio solution, the ASM201 incorporates ample performance capability for a complete communication and application processing solution, for the home area and near area networking. Battery-mode operation is supported by microamp standby modes as well as ultra-low power RAM for quickest power-down with retained state information.


For meter-to-meter wireless mesh networking, dominant in North America, Accent offers the ASM211 as a companion device for ASM201. The chip’s RF transceiver and software-based, hardware accelerated Accent SUNFX-4G modem is the industry’s first PHY solution to support the draft IEEE 802.15.4g standard’s mandatory FSK modes and high-data rate, OFDM options for up to 800 Kbps operation and a sensitivity of up to -118 dBm. The flexible architecture also offers support for existing FSK-based proprietary products.


The ASM221 addresses next generation metering needs requiring advanced OFDM powerline communication including G3, PRIME, and IEEE1901.2. The ASM221 integrates Accent's SUNFX-PLC software based, hardware accelerated modem and analog front-end, Accent’s AEMET energy measurement as well as ample processing and non-volatile storage capability, enabling the industry’s first single-chip, scalable and future-proof meter solution. The ASM221 also incorporates advanced low-power features and retention RAM for battery-mode operation.


Product sampling for the ASMgrid2 ASSP family is expected to begin by Q4 2011.

About Accent

Founded in 1993, Accent (www.accent-soc.com) is an ISO 9001:2008 certified world leading semiconductor supplier of communications and metering technologies for the Smart Grid industry. The company is backed by renowned investors such as Sofinnova Partners and Tallwood Venture Capital. Accent is a worldwide operation with offices in Italy, China, France, and United States. Accent's ASMgrid product families integrate the widest technology breadth supporting current and future Smart Grid standards to provide equipment manufacturers off-the-shelf standard products plus complete software platforms for rapid time to market and significantly lowered production costs.

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