GSM/GPRS/Ethernet router based on Lightfoot(TM) 32-bit processor enables wireless communication between machines
Sunbury, Middlesex, UK - 22 April 2001 - DCT, a developer of high-performance, low-cost Java(TM)-enabled microprocessor solutions, has announced a small footprint GSM/GPRS/Ethernet router based on its 32-bit Lightfoot(TM) microprocessor, for the rapidly expanding wireless M2M (machine-to-machine) communication market. The company has teamed up with ByBox, a specialist in unattended delivery solutions, to provide wireless locker management services - routed via the Lightfoot(TM) microprocessor and a GSM module from Sony Ericsson - to Royal Mail and Parcel Force.
Nick Randell, software engineering director at DCT, said, "This is a significant breakthrough in wireless M2M communication. Java is increasingly becoming a requirement to enable wired and wireless network connectivity in embedded systems and we are excited at the prospect of playing a key role in its mass deployment."
The router for ByBox utilises Lightfoot's excellent code density to fit the complete application into just 26KB of program memory, 6KB of data memory and 8KB of runtime data memory. The Lightfoot CPU, peripherals and boot program reside in a single Xilinx Spartan-II FPGA, making the solution ideal for FPGA-based SoC applications. DCT's software engineering team developed a complete TCP/IP stack, running over Ethernet and PPP (point-to-point protocol), a modem control library and a real time operating system.
Randell adds, "The code density offered by Lightfoot effectively signals the end of 8- and 16-bit microcontrollers and their 'ancient' coding constraints." ByBox specialises in electronic locker technology, allowing logistics companies to deliver parcels to its customers using banks of lockers at convenient public locations. ByBox technology then enables the logistics company's customers to securely collect, or return, parcels at their own convenience from these locker systems.
With the Lightfoot-based router and Sony Ericsson radio module, ByBox can now control and manage the locker systems over wireless communications networks such as GSM or GPRS. The software can dial in or out from the bank of lockers to the server to confirm locker status and control operations of the locker. Stuart Miller, chief executive officer of ByBox, said, "This is a significant step in improving our product offering. Wireless M2M technology allows us to break free from the limitations of only being able to manage systems over the fixed line telecoms networks."
Commenting on the choice of Lightfoot, Miller added, "It was the best solution we could find on the market for the price, without the memory or footprint overheads. The system connects to the GSM/GPRS network, and the solution was delivered and running within four weeks of us specifying our needs."
Nick Randell added, "This is a really exciting application of Lightfoot, and we are already getting interest from several companies for wireless M2M applications, where 'intelligent' communications between machines is required, and where decisions need to be made based on machine status and actions. Java is ideally suited to such requirements."
About wireless M2M
Wireless M2M communications is a rapidly growing application enabling remote, automated monitoring, reading of meters, fleet and asset management, and consumer telematics applications. There are many types of applications for such technology including for example, tracking the location and condition of any mobile assets including delivery vehicles and shipping containers.
DCT is a fabless semiconductor company developing high-performance, low-cost Java(TM)-enabled microprocessor solutions based on its Lightfoot(TM) and Bigfoot(TM) 32-bit processors together with development tools and run-time system software. Using DCT's system solutions, developers can add network connectivity to their embedded systems using Java technology without the size or cost overheads typically required by competing solutions. Founded in 1997, DCT is a privately held company and was funded by MTI Partners in March 2000.
ByBox supplies unattended delivery solutions to increase the efficiency and convenience of the supply chain. Its solutions are based on secure electronic locker-bank technology. Carriers deliver goods to a locker, after which customers are sent a notification message to collect their goods in their own time. ByBox enables swift deployment of locker-based applications. This is achieved through a modular approach to software and hardware development, which produces technology designed for rapid integration into any logistics infrastructure. ByBox is currently building and deploying a network of its locker-banks in the UK and across Europe.
Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. Lightfoot is a trademark of DCT.
All other brand and product names are the property of their respective holders.