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MediaTek & Canonical partner to build app-enabled smart home gateways


on 25 February 2016

Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company, MediaTek, and Canonical, are joining forces to build multi-purpose, future-proofed home gateways and premium routers based on the MediaTek smart home gateways chipset and ‘snappy’ Ubuntu Core. The home gateways will be capable of adapting to the evolving demands of the smart home, thanks to the versatility and power of MediaTek’s hardware. They will also benefit from built-in support for OTA upgrades and the flexible app-based architecture inherent in Ubuntu Core; the super lightweight version of Ubuntu specifically designed for IoT and use on the smallest devices.

Home gateways are becoming a more prominent feature in the home as demand for differentiated bandwidth is growing. According to recent figures from Gartner, the smart home market is expected to grow from 100 and 200 million homes today to 500 and 700 million homes by 2020. Distributing multiple streams of HD video over WiFi is proving more and more common in media-hungry households; traditional routers fail to deliver the differentiated bandwidth or adapt their WiFi signal strength to the individual architecture of each home. To help tackle this issue, MediaTek and Canonical are partnering to offer flexible and monetizable bandwidth management capabilities to OEMs and network operators.

Maarten Ectors, VP IoT said: “The evolution of the smart home hasn’t been painless. Early adopters have had to wrangle with the variety of communication protocols used by the various alarms, thermostats, cameras and other objects. They have also ‘stacked’ various gateways to connect these objects to the internet. Unfortunately, most of these gateways could not be upgraded, leaving their users with obsolete equipment. With the smart home market now maturing, demand is ramping up for gateways which can support multiple protocols, manage a number of locally connected devices and can be upgraded over the air. This is precisely what we’re collaborating with Mediatek to develop.”

SR Tsai, General Manager of MediaTek’s Home Smart Device Business Unit said: “The home gateway and smart device market are evolving rapidly. Network operators are increasingly demanding hardware and software that can adapt to future user demand and new services. We have designed our smart home gateway chipsets to anticipate consumer needs by offering a wide choices of interfaces, enhanced security and a powerful computing. With Ubuntu Core, Operators and OEMs can fully leverage the hardware versatility to build app-enabled home gateways that will satisfy end users over the long term.”

MediaTek’s ARM based MT7623 is a powerful SOC targeted at the smart home gateway market. In addition to standard home gateway interfaces (HDMI,ethernet, Wifi) it offers multiple interfaces to interact with a variety of devices as a smart home gateway (Bluetooth LE, USB, Infrared, SD card), and an enhanced security engine to improve confidentiality of user data.

‘Snappy’ Ubuntu Core is the super lightweight version of Ubuntu optimised for IoT and particularly suited for home gateways. Its Linux-based architecture makes it a familiar, rich and secure environment on which OEMs and service providers can build and offer new services. Its app-based architecture makes it possible to offer a vast array of app-enabled customer services (voice command, universal IOT gateway, differentiated firewall) and be ready for the always evolving demand for smart home technology. Its ability to upgrade the entire OS and all installed apps over the air, make it a safe, simple to manage and future-proofed platform for all on-premise customer equipment.

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