Smart speakers become control hubs for smart homes

Smart homes have gradually been realized with the Internet of Things’ (IoT) rapid development, and smart speakers have become the control hubs for these smart homes. Users can easily control the smart homes’ devices by simply speaking to these smart speakers. This article will outline the development of smart speaker applications and introduce wireless communication solutions developed for smart speakers.

Smart speakers with specialized WiFi connection requirements

With the rapid development of artificial intelligence and big data technology, computer speech recognition capabilities have been improving rapidly. People are growing accustomed to giving commands to the virtual assistants on their various mobile devices such as Siri and Google Assistant. The development of smart speakers rapidly increased after Amazon introduced the Echo and all kinds of smart speakers such as Google Home and Apple Homepod began to pop up.

The primary function of the smart speaker is not only to play music or answer questions. If users install various smart home devices, they can use their voices to control these devices by speaking to these smart speakers. Users can speak to turn on the TV, the lights, or air conditioning, making smart speakers the control hubs for smart homes.

In addition to the key artificial intelligence speech analysis capability, smart speakers remain on standby and use the shortest amount of time to instantly react to the users’ commands. This is critical to the users’ experiences and the conventional WiFi modules need to be adjusted for the special requirements of the smart speakers. These adjustments need to be made to reduce the delay in responding to users’ commands, save power, and improve performance.

The Type 1GC wireless communication module made by Murata is designed for smart speakers and IoT devices. Type 1GC is a small-sized high-performance module based on Cypress's CYW43907 chipset. It supports up to 150Mbps PHY data rate of WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, and up to 100Mbps PHY data rate for Ethernet. It also has an integrated 320MHz ARM Cortex-R4 microcontroller for executing host-side application protocols. The Type 1GC delivers high-throughput consumer applications with its ARM Cortex-R4 microcontroller without the need for additional components.

The Type 1GC Network Controller Module provides device manufacturers with data acquisition, device management, WiFi Ethernet gateways and industrial control application solutions that help with designing devices. The Type 1GC supports USB 2.0 and SDIO 3.0 host and device modes for high-speed external communication. The RF matching, antenna design and regulatory certification have all been specially processed and tested.

Each Type 1GC module provides a complete network controller solution with direct control over WiFi, TCP/IP, security supplicant and other network application protocol functions. In addition, the multi-function Type 1GC module uses tiny packaging that can benefit size and power-sensitive applications.

The Type 1GC is an ultra-small dual-band WiFi module with shielding capability, and supports 150Mbp of 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band Wifi of 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band with an internally operated WiFi Stack. It also supports Cypress WICED, USB 2.0, SDIO 3.0 host and device modes, and is equipped with Ethernet and microcontroller modules that support AP and STA network modes. The built-in Cypress CYW43907 chipset uses an ARM Cortex-R4 processor that supports DSSS / CCK / OFDM modulation functions, which provides high-performance options for IoT devices suitable for industrial IoT, smart home devices, sensor networks, gateways and other applications.

For example, you can easily create a low-power, easy-to-set wireless smart speaker solution Murata Type 1GC WLAN module with the QuickLogic EOS S3. With a special design, this solution can lower the current power consumption by approximately 90% during voice-activated standby. Compared to common solutions, the current during the current voice-activated standby is usually greater than 120mA, but Murata's WLAN module and QuickLogic EOS S3 can lower the voice-activated standby current to 10mA.

This solution can significantly reduce power consumption, since the device can be voice-activated when it is standing by in sleep mode as the host’s Micro-Processing Unit (MPU) can remain in sleep mode. The QuickLogic EOS S3 can maintain low power consumption when it is in voice-activated standby, and can be rapidly booted up when a voice triggers its activation. The Murata WLAN module can maintain a wireless connection without processing through the host’s microprocessor since the microprocessor is not loaded, which allows it to be applied to low-performing products.

The Murata Type1GC can be easily set up on multiple platforms as the Murata WLAN module solution can be applied to Linux. This solution can be coupled with the QuickLogic EOS S3 and software development kits, as well as the Cypress IoT platform “WICEDTM Studio”. Murata also offers evaluation kits as reference for customers and please refer to the following website for more details:

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