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Broadcom’s WICED Technology Opens New Frontier for Wireless Connectivity | Cypress Semiconductor

Broadcom’s WICED Technology Opens New Frontier for Wireless Connectivity

Wireless home networks have evolved a long way from just connecting a single desktop PC to the Internet. Today’s home networks bring online connectivity to laptop computers, smartphones and tablets, as well as gaming consoles and cable/satellite boxes. But that’s just the beginning.

Experts agree that the “Internet of Things” — a concept that appliances and other non-traditional devices will eventually become enhanced through Internet connectivity — will reach into every corner of our daily lives in as little as a decade. In some cases, it doesn’t sound so far-fetched, such as the ability to turn on the air conditioner at home from the office, via a smartphone app. In other cases, wireless connectivity is just scratching the surface of what it can do.

It’s the proliferation of small, low-power wireless chips that’s taking connectivity to new levels and sparking new ideas around non-traditional devices. These chips, which are highly integrated and have a low-power footprint, enable a growing list of smart, sensing devices — such as those that record and transmit data about our personal health — to send data to specialty apps on our smartphones, tablets or social networks.


Sony’s SmartWatch is just one example of a new class of Internet-enabled, wearable sensors that track body metrics.

Recently, Broadcom unveiled one such chip, the BCM4390 , a cost-effective, highly integrated, low-power Wi-Fi chip that’s set to power the Internet of Things. On display at the Computex show in Taiwan next week, the BCM4390 is part of a Broadcom product family known as Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices, or WICED (pronounced “wicked”).

The BCM4390 comes on the heels of last month’s WICED Smart announcement, a development kit that makes it easier for wearable and sensor -based devices using low-power Bluetooth Smart to pair with smartphones and tablets and connect to the Internet to send and retrieve data from cloud-based applications.

WICED’s First Markets

Beyond the scores of embedded Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that might make their way into your life (useful, or not), the Internet of Things trend is expected to cultivate an ecosystem of tiny devices that might need nothing more than a coin-sized battery to operate. That raises the potential for future applications of all types, including environmental, wearable or even sub-dermal body monitoring.

Industry watchers predict that the early adopters of WICED technology will go for gadgets that are wearable and collect data for health monitoring, fitness and personal care. Such products are already out there — those that track movement, register calories burned, record food intake and monitor sleep quality.

But it’s the next level of health care that could most benefit from WICED technology — heart monitors that send data to doctors via email or eye examinations that take place using a smartphone camera, for example. In some instances, these technologies are already in use — and FDA approved — but few are wireless. Yet.

On the cutting edge of wireless health accessories are things like sensor-laden pills that transmit data about body temperature, heart and respiration rate to a doctor’s computer, after it has been swallowed by the patient. If you’re not quite ready to gulp down wireless sensors, you might consider a dermal patch that transmits blood chemistry analysis of biomarkers to a doctor’s smartphone.

With innovative chip technologies developed by Broadcom, entrepreneurs have an open frontier to develop new, never-before-imagined applications that could change the way we live.

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