Democratizing IoT technology is no small task, but Sensry is in a perfect position to do so. By offering remarkable advantages to other startups and SMEs in the IoT space, Sensry advances new developments and reduces time-to-market. The Dresden-based company is an exciting addition to NBT's venture portfolio. Sensry recently visited NBT’s HQ in Berlin to share their solutions and get to know our venture community. In this update, we’ll explore in some detail why Sensry's platform is so unique, and how you can benefit from their offerings.
Platform: Hardware + Software
Sensry builds a platform in the hardware sense, which also has a software aspect. More specifically, what the company offers is a construction kit for IoT applications with a fixed (base) part (including an RISC-V application processor mentioned below) and a customizable peripheral part (usually sensors, but these could be also other peripherals like memory extensions, etc.)
Sensry’s modular support for IoT applications is particularly well-suited for AI-based applications. [Usually AI applications use a lot of matrix operations. Matrix operations, or so-called ‘mathematical convolution operations’ happen within a convolutional neural network, or CNN.]
The cluster architecture of the RISC-V is perfect to independently calculate many matrix operations, because each of the eight cluster cores has its own memory and floating point unit (FPU) and works independently. Each core can be fed with tasks by the main core.
The hardware comes with and Software Development Kit (SDK), covering all aspects and layers with different (APIs) - Sensor-API, Interface-API , Crypto-API for security and a CoreCom-API which can feed the cluster cores with tasks.
Unique Solutions & Use Cases
Firstly, why again does IoT need sensors?
The Internet of Things relies on a physical way to transmit electrical signals to the cloud, or the edge, or a host device. A sensor transfers that physical value or unit into an electrical one, which can be digitized and sent to the cloud or to the fog.
How do Sensry’s solutions overcome typical challenges of IoT-based application ideas?
Sensry’s solutions can be described as:
Easily integratable & customizable
Having a high-end security subsystem
Open & richly connected: Analog & digital interface, including standard I/F like UART, I2C, SPI, CAN, Ethernet etc. but also three different Analog-Digital-Converter (ADC)
Using low power but enabling high-performance calculations
Where might Sensry’s solutions be especially useful?
An immediate application that comes to mind is air quality monitoring, but there are many more since the platform can easily integrate sensors for temperature, pressure, humidity, motion, gas-sensing, and vibration.
Tailored to startups. Built for speed.
To develop a business, you need to be fast and can’t spend tons of money on development. How can a normal startup finance $USD 1.5 Million for development? Short answer: They can’t.
Instead, startups can discuss their needs with Sensry and receive a highly-integrated system, a special configuration of sensors, processing power, and communication protocols.
It’s called an "SiP" short for "System-in-Package," which is the physical expression of the platform. A special add-on involves "Package-on-Package" (PoP) construction, which means that one can add assembly sensors directly on top of the SiP while maintaining a maximally compact form.
How does Sensry provide startups with a competitive edge to get their product to market faster? We count three ways:
1. Flexible Platform: Sensry just needs to know what startups need, and they can adapt to that. They use readily-available sensors but given their strategic relationships, can also accommodate very specific sensors for niche applications.
2. Supply Chain Access: Sensry has a partnership with major powerhouses in developing a Universal Sensor Platform (USeP project), including several Fraunhofer Institutes (Fraunhofer IIS/EAS, IPMS, IZM, ENAS) and Fraunhofer AISEC’s involvement in terms of the hardware security concept. In regards to chip access, they’re partnered with Global Foundries, one of the biggest foundries producing silicon wafers with microchips.
3. High-volume Potential: Sensry has the ability to deliver prototypes in the quantity of millions per week. Although that output is standard for Silicon Industry, what’s not standard is to provide that volume of production to smaller companies – at very reasonable market costs. Sensry supports SMEs and startups from the initial prototype stage to high-volume production.
How does Sensry keep costs down?
Sensry maintains a reasonable cost offer by using a "modular construction kit" approach: the one part of the modular system (which is standard for all of the applications) is then combined with a customizable (sensor) part. The fixed part uses high-end silicon technology and can be produced in advance at high volume in the background. The challenge is to design the fixed part in a way that it supports a wide variety of applications. Customization is done later with specific sensors or peripheral setup upon order.
So in sum, the platform offers an optimized modular approach between tailor-made hardware solutions and all-purpose prototyping platforms. This gives startups and SMEs the possibility to access high-end silicon technology at an early stage to help realize their breakthrough IoT ideas quickly and in a way that is closer to the end product. Sensry’s platform saves startups from an undesirable situation in which they must completely re-design several times on their way from idea to product prototype/s.
What future services does Sensry aim to offer?
In the future, Sensry aims for a “web shop” where customers can configure the platform and "design" their own instance of the platform. This platform could be ordered in units of 1 to 1 Billion, with Sensry taking care of the supply chain. All the hardware components would be covered by a software support layer for all parts of the system.