Echelon Corporation (NASDAQ:ELON) and Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR) announced a collaboration to extend the advantages of Echelon’s LonWorks® networks to controllers used in building, industrial, and home applications. As a result of the joint collaboration, the LonWorks communications protocol (a.k.a. ANSI/EIA709.1 and EN14908) has been ported to Altera’s Nios® II embedded processor which is implemented in a Cyclone® FPGA. This FPGA-based solution, in conjunction with Echelon’s new FTXL high-speed network transceiver, provides a quick and easy hardware interface to LonWorks control networks.
This new solution is expected to expand the market for high-end LonWorks based controllers by enabling manufactures to include greater functionality and processing power – at lower costs. For example, a single Cyclone III FPGA and Nios II embedded processor serves as a LonWorks processor, intellectual property (IP) host, digital signal processor, and touch-screen display driver.
Altera’s Cyclone III FPGAs deliver high functionality with a rich feature set and very low power consumption, making them ideal for environmentally responsible products that require a high-performance device while reducing energy consumption and cost. In home appliances, Echelon’s newly updated ShortStack 2.1 API uses Altera’s Cyclone III FPGA and Nios II embedded processor to replace as many as four function-specific microprocessors with a single FPGA and a power line smart transceiver. This helps reduce cost, complexity, and development time while simultaneously adding network communications to an appliance that enables utility companies, home appliance OEMs and consumers to effectively manage and control energy consumption. The ShortStack 2.1 API works in conjunction with Echelon’s power line smart transceivers to use the existing electricity wiring in a home for communications, making the solution a “no new wires” approach.
“The combination of Echelon’s FTXL high-speed network component and ShortStack 2.1 API with our FPGA and embedded processor technology enables us to deliver flexible, low-cost solutions for consumer products as well as high-performance building and industrial automation system controllers,” said Michael Samuelian, director of Altera’s industrial business unit. “Through our close collaboration with Echelon, we will continue to demonstrate the tremendous benefits our FPGA technology provides to the broader building, industrial and home automation markets.”
According to Bea Yormark, Echelon’s president and COO, “One of the unique abilities of the LonWorks platform from day one has been its potential for adding networking into any electric device. We believe that our work with Altera once again demonstrates the almost limitless boundaries of the LonWorks market, delivering a cost-effective and flexible solution not only to consumer products but also the ‘high-end’ of the device spectrum in typical control, monitoring and sensing networks. The collaboration with Altera has been a fruitful one, yielding products that are real enablers in our industry.”
The Echelon FTXL high-speed network component and ShortStack 2.1 API will be available in January 2008.
Altera® programmable solutions enable system and semiconductor companies to rapidly and cost-effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets.
About Echelon Corporation
Echelon Corporation (NASDAQ:ELON) is a networking company that provides products and systems that can monitor and save energy; lower costs; improve productivity; and enhance service, quality, safety, and convenience by connecting everyday devices in utility, buildings, industrial, transportation, and home control systems. Tens of millions of smart devices based on Echelon’s LonWorks products and Networked Energy Services (NES) systems are used around the world today, bringing benefits to consumers and industry.
Echelon, LonWorks, and the Echelon logo are registered trademarks of Echelon Corporation registered in the United States and other countries. Altera, the Altera logo, Nios and Cyclone are registered trademarks of Altera Corporation in the United States and other countries.