Introducing Network Co-Processor: game-changer for retrofitting devices with IoT

For smart electronics manufacturers, introducing a new product or retrofitting an existing one just got a whole lot easier with our brand-new Blynk.NCP.

This solution allows seamless integration with Blynk platform, unlocking advanced features like WiFi device provisioning, multi-connectivity support and OTA firmware updates for any hardware without any limits. It's designed to streamline your process, clear roadblocks, and hasten your product's journey to the market. Let's dive into a comprehensive overview of this innovative tool and its benefits.

What is Blynk.NCP?

Blynk.NCP is a software solution that enables fast integration with the platform using Network Co-Processor.

Network Co-Processor (NCP) is a module designed to offload network connectivity tasks (WiFi, Ethernet, Cellular, etc.) from the main microcontroller in an IoT device. This allows freeing up the main MCU to handle business logic such as sensor readings, data processing, and decision-making.

When to use Blynk.NCP?

Network Co-Processors are often used for building and retrofitting commercial products - when reliability, resources, and time to market are crucial. Choose Blynk.NCP path for your IoT solution if:

  • You're building a new IoT product with specific requirements for the Primary MCU, so you're adding a separate connectivity module
  • You are using Blynk for retrofitting your existing products
  • You have included an AT command-based module, but you struggle to make it work right or to achieve your product goals
  • You are looking to reduce risks, integration efforts, and time to market, along with improved reliability of your products
  • You have a dual-MCU IoT prototyping board and want to connect it to Blynk in a flash.

Why use Blynk.NCP?

To immediately have access to all Blynk’s advanced features - such as device provisioning and OTA firmware updates - that are especially valuable for commercial use cases.

Hardware flexibility

As mentioned above, Blynk.NCP makes it possible to use state-of-the-art device provisioning, OTA firmware updates, and other Blynk.Edgent functionality, with virtually any hardware. Here are the possible integration scenarios.

Add IoT functionality to your Zephyr OS based product

For developers seeking to integrate Blynk with Zephyr-enabled hardware, we've prepared firmware examples for top boards like the ST Nucleo L4R5ZI, WeAct Black Pill F411CE, Adafruit Feather STM32F405, Raspberry Pi Pico, Adafruit Feather M0 Basic, and more. You can connect any Zephyr-supported hardware using BlynkNcpDriver to equip your products with Blynk's advanced IoT capabilities.

Add IoT features to your Arduino based product

Let’s say you have a product that is running on an STM32, ATmega, RP2040, ATSAMD, K210, or any other microcontroller. To enable a seamless connection and advanced Blynk’s functionality, you just need to add one of the supported connectivity modules to your hardware as a Network Co-Processor. We’ve prepared an example that includes firmware and will help you set up the communication between your hardware and Blynk with minimal effort.

Use a Dual-MCU Arduino-enabled board for your IoT project

You can try out this Blynk.NCP example to set up communication with the platform if you are using one of the following dual-MCU boards: UNO R4 WiFi, Portenta C33, Nano RP2040 Connect, Nano 33 IoT, MKR WiFi 1010, T-PicoC3, or RPi Pico + ESP8266.

Add IoT functionality to your existing product (any MCU)

You can also easily integrate a lightweight BlynkNcpDriver into an SDK of your choice. For the NCP Blynk provides a ready binary firmware, handling network communication.

Don't forget to update your library to the latest version 1.3.0 to use Blynk.NCP!

Firmware consistency & privacy

The main MCU runs a lightweight client library that communicates to the Network Co-Processor over UART interface. It enables blazing-fast and high-quality integration. It’s perfect for retrofitting scenarios as you can add a connectivity module to your existing hardware without redesigning your firmware for integration with Blynk.

As the communication firmware is stored on the secondary MCU, it allows keeping your main solution architecture private - any platform-related changes are carried out on the connectivity board.

Risk management 

Network Co-Processor adds reliability to your IoT solution. For example, due to non-blocking operation, the primary MCU with the main functionality keeps working even when the Network Co-Processor is busy.

Device provisioning

  • BLE-assisted device provisioning using Blynk.App (iOS/Android)
  • WiFi AP-based provisioning for devices without BLE support
  • Support for Production Line provisioning

Automatic Over-The-Air firmware updates

  • Scheduled OTA updates using Blynk.Cloud
  • Before device activation, using Blynk.App
  • Both Network Co-Processor and MCU updates are supported

Secure cloud connection with API for

  • Virtual Pins
  • Events
  • Metadata access
  • Time and Location
  • Persistent automations (works even if the device is offline)

Network Manager

  • WiFi (up to 16 saved networks), Ethernet, Cellular (depending on the hardware)
  • Advanced network connection troubleshooting

Wrap up

No need to build complex IoT software from scratch or settle for less in hardware choice or reliability! Whether you are creating a new IoT solution with specific requirements for the primary MCU, or retrofitting your product - Blynk.NCP will save you months of development, minimize integration efforts, and improve the reliability of your connected product! 

Let's discuss using Blynk.NCP for your specific case - drop us a line and we will contact you shortly.

July 27, 2023
CRO at Blynk

If you are working on a commercial project - let's get in touch. We'd be happy to learn about your business challenges and share our expertise.

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