At the end of September 2017, Sanechips Technology Co., Ltd (hereinafter abbreviated as “Sanechips”) released the RoseFinch7100 chip, which is the first self-developed NB-IoT security chip in China. It is obvious that the commercialization of RoseFinch7100 is planed according to the NB-IoT schedule of China’s three major telecom operators --- the networks will fully support NB-IoT in 2018.
In fact, there are two IoT chip series in Sanechips, the WiseFone series and RoseFinch series, focusing on high-speed and low power consumption, respectively. The WiseFone chip series are featured by high-speed Cat4, covering mobile broadband, vehicle networking, smart grid and other high-speed IoT fields; the low power consumption RoseFinch series are used in NB-IoT, covering environmental monitoring, smart meter reading, smart wearable devices, intelligent agriculture and other smart city applications of low-speed IoT fields.
During the China Mobile Global Partner Conference 2017, China Mobile released the test results of NB-IoT chips, of which the power consumption of RoseFinch7100 is only 0.006mW in power saving mode (PSM), meaning the 3600mAH lithium battery could last for 10 years for daily data report to the cloud in a smart water meter equipped with RoseFinch7100, or last for two weeks in a smart bracelet with 30mAH lithium battery.
"At present, the development of Internet of things hasn’t come to the outbreak stage, however, our NB-IoT chip achieved the minimum sleep current of only 2uA, this will reach a tipping point. Because the outdoor infrastructures without electricity supply, such as gardens and water pipes, will demonstrate intense networking requirements, the market will be very large when low power consumption chips are introduced." Zhou Jin said.
According to the vice general manager of Sanechips Long Zhijun, it is expected that the overall procurement volume will reach tens of millions in China in the next year. He stressed that the value created by network connection is linear, but the value brought by the data in IoT sensors is nonlinear. This will be a huge market, "data acquisition and operation will be the real booster of this market", he said.
The guarantee of data security is the prerequisite for commercial operation
However, Long Zhijun also emphasized that data management can achieve development only when data reliability is ensured, while a major highlight of RoseFinch7100 is security.
According to the introduction, the trust execution environment (TEE) and rich execution environment are separated in the system architecture of RoseFinch7100, ensuring the user information, core data, keys and codes are stored and processed in an isolated and trusted environment. It can achieve secure access to key peripherals through hardware security space configuration. It means that even the system was under attack, the security zone will be free from infringement. With this architecture, each RoseFinch7100 chip will be identified by a unique ID as security key and find out malicious fake devices.
Zhou Jin said, ZTE's overall IoT strategy is "chip, network and cloud", while Sanechips promotes the industry chain from chips, only with secure chips can achieve development of the other aspects. "Take the generator vibration data for example, we can send out the data through a secure channel, then it can get access to the Internet. The first consideration of IoT is security. If the data looks good after equipped with sensors, while the factory collapses, it will cause great losses. There are also many applications for added value of the data and we have carried out in-depth cooperation with many Internet companies."
It is reported that the layout of Sanechips will focus on two aspects. In support of high-speed IoT, the company has developed WiseFone7520V3 chip to support Cat4 and WiseFone7520A to support Cat6; based on the needs of users in the future, it may release chips that support Cat9 - Cat16. In the low power consumption NB-IoT chip aspect, in addition to the released RoseFinch7100, Sanechips has also made plans for CatM supporting chips.