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The “Internet of Things” Brings Sensors, Wi-Fi Connectivity to Everyday Objects | Cypress Semiconductor

The “Internet of Things” Brings Sensors, Wi-Fi Connectivity to Everyday Objects

It’s an expression that you’re likely familiar with, and will only hear more about — the Internet of Things. The term, vague as it is, is meant to describe the online connectivity of devices, appliances and other physical products that traditionally have no Internet connectivity.

But with the advancement of wireless chip technology, the idea that a refrigerator, for example, can share data about its contents with a grocery store smartphone app is no longer such an out-of-this-world idea. The number of mobile connected devices is expected to increase by 100 percent to nearly 12 billion by 2020.

Sooner rather than later, all physical objects will be linked through networks that connect to the Internet, enabling information to flow between devices and computers — or smartphones, tablets and other mobile gadgets using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart Ready certifications.


The Internet of Things in action: Aginova Inc.’s iCelsius includes Broadcom’s WICED tech.

Consider what’s already being introduced: a connected home thermostat by Honeywell is already on the market. And recent headlines around the wearable Google Glass have helped consumers better understand the concept behind the Internet of Things.

Today, Aginova Inc., a Broadcom partner, is unveiling the iCelsius, the industry’s first Wi-Fi-enabled temperature probe, which could potentially help backyard BBQers to remotely monitor the meat on the grill or the food safety industry to operate more efficiently. At the heart of this device is Broadcom’s WICED, or Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices, technology, which was first introduced in November 2011.

Read Aginova’s Press Release About the iCelsius

Using the WICED software platform to create secure wireless networking applications, developers can quickly implement Wi-Fi connectivity in an array of consumer devices, especially those without existing support for networking. The iCelsius’ temperature-reading device includes a Wi-Fi sensor so users can monitor temperature from afar and via a smartphone or tablet. It works with a free app that reads the temperature and registers changes, and then can store and parse temperature data to create graphs or set up alerts.

Broadcom’s WICED technology turns data into valuable information and turns a pedestrian interaction into something that simplifies and streamlines our lives. Devices like The Nest (an Internet-enabled home thermostat) and iCelsius are just the beginning.

The folks at Wired have suggested  that the Internet of Things “adds intelligence to ordinary objects.” Ultimately, it has the power to enable our homes to work in harmony with our everyday lives through automation and the smarter use of data to inform our habits, health and energy consumption. At Broadcom, we understand that the intelligence can only be registered, aggregated and acted upon if there’s a solid underpinning: robust wireless connectivity.


iCelsius temperature probe with app running on an iPad.

At the SXSW conference earlier this year, a panel about the Internet of Things that included Wael Diab, senior technical director in the Infrastructure & Networking group at Broadcom, explored the convergence of electronic devices and addressed the need for a more interdisciplinary approach to design, engineering, development, communication and privacy.

The trend is expected to pick up speed in the coming years as organizations, including the IEEE, move to create industry-wide standards. This month, the IEEE Standards Association is set to host an Internet of Things workshop “to identify collaboration opportunities and standardization gaps”— a significant first step in getting devices to “talk” to each other.

“From the hand to the home to the office, computing and networking technologies are playing an ever-increasing role as our connected devices become an integral part of our daily lives,” Diab said.

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