Riot Micro addresses the strong need for ultra-low power and low-cost requirements to drive a broad adoption of Cellular IoT. A decade after its inception, Riot stands out as a prominent developer of industry-leading wireless chipsets for smart objects in the Internet of Things segment. The company’s wireless chipsets simplify cellular connectivity for current-generation applications such as smart metering and vehicle telematics, enabling users to build smart objects from wearables and smoke detectors to parking meters and traffic lights.
The Vancouver-based startup focuses solely on the quickly changing and growing market of LTE-based IoT. Riot is in the business of providing lowest power and lowest cost chipsets to connect things to the internet of LTE cellular network.
A Note on the Trending Product
Riot Micro made a grandeur entry into the market with its product called the RM1000. It is a dual-mode MTC/NBIoT baseband modem that provides market-leading low-power performance, designed with unique architecture. The architecture enables other manufacturers to achieve low cost points that drive high volume deployments in Cellular IoT. The innovative design approach reduces power consumption by up to 50% and enables customers to deploy products with 10+ year of battery life. Some of the key IoT applications of RM1000 include asset tracking, smart cities, connected alarms, and environmental sensors. The product is supplied to OEMs and module manufacturers developing custom solutions, in an 8mm x 8mm 68 pad QFN package or WLCSP package.
Riot’s Differentiating Strategy
Riot has designed the LTE CAT-M/NBIoT modem like a BLE or WiFi device, borrowing many of the proven low cost and low power techniques and adopting them for the world of LTE. For Cellular IoT to deploy en masse, cost and power, it needs to rival other technologies such as Lora, Zigbee, and even WiFi and Bluetooth. Consequently, to enable this mass volume deployment of Cellular IoT, the company took a very different architectural approach to develop its solution, instead of using DSPs (Digital Signal Processors) such as traditional LTE modems.
LTE modems for smartphones are powerful, implementing higher Category LTE standards that enable gigabits of throughput, but for IoT, Riot takes very low (kilobits) data. When the hood on Riot’s chip is opened, it looks like a BLE modem —the PHY is implemented in gates (vs. DSP), and its custom highly optimized protocol stack is tightly coupled to the hardware, running on a low-speed M0 controller and only supports CAT-M and NB-IoT.
Hurdles Crossed So Far
“It has been a great ride, we’ve had very supportive investors who are very excited about the opportunities in front of us who have allowed us to really innovate,” exclaims Peter Wong, the CEO of the company. He adds “We targeted a large market where the customers are really excited to talk about what we are doing and starting to implement solutions using our chipset.”
According to team Riot, customer-pull is the most exciting aspect of what they do. Any semiconductor company knows that hitting the right features with the right chip at the right time is not easy in this space. During the initial days of Riot Micro, the management went through the most challenging times to pull together the right team with the right skillsets – a combination of strong wireless background in cellular and complementing it with a bunch of guys who have a ton of experience in designing BLE/WiFi. However, the team witnessed satisfying results for its hard work and countless sleepless nights, with the launch of its first product – RM1000.
The Leader with a Vision
Riot Micro is steered by Peter Wong, who joined the company in 2014. Peter holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering from Simon Fraser University. He has been in the semiconductor industry for over two decades. Before joining Riot, Peter was at PMC-Sierra for 12 years, driving their server and storage business strategy and sales efforts, where they grew server/storage revenues from 0 to 70% of the company’s revenue.
Following that, Peter joined LSI, as a Vice President in the CTO organization. At LSI, he developed partnerships with large datacenter customers and strategic alliance partners to drive future architectures. Peter left the company shortly after it was acquired by Avago/Broadcom. Peter’ has also worked with HP, Creation Technologies, and Teltech during the initial days of his career.
Peter is an energetic and passionate leader who has a steadfast vision of excellence. Under his leadership, Riot has witnessed unprecedented growth over the past three years and has made its market debut with the industry’s lowest power base and modem chip for the cellular Internet of Things (IoT) recently.
A Future of Expansion
As a startup, Riot is using its flexibility, agility, aggressiveness and willingness to enable its customers achieve what they need in order to develop end-solutions that are well aligned with what the end customers want.
“I think what we are doing in terms of changing the game on cost and power can really help our customers drive Cellular IoT to volume deployment,” exclaims Peter.
Riot Micro stands steadfast in its decision to march down the path to drive out cost and power from its customer’s system, taking advantage of CMOS technology advancements and leveraging IP from technology partners. Customers can expect the team announcing customer wins and carrier partnerships in the upcoming months. The company is also planning to leverage key ecosystem partners to offer great solutions in areas such as indoor/outdoor positioning. Hence proving that the company has a very exciting future roadmap and the team is all set to explore the potential market with its new product releases