WICED and iDevices: A Recipe for IoT Innovation | Cypress Semiconductor
WICED and iDevices: A Recipe for IoT Innovation
If you are anything like Chris Allen, then you don’t mess with the iconic summer barbecue — unless you can improve on the fire-meets-meat experience.
Allen, a barbecue enthusiast who also founded iDevices LLC, was inspired to build the company’s flagship app-connected iGrill monitor a few years ago after a sub-par wireless thermometer left him — pardon the pun — with a bad taste in his mouth.
“I saw an opportunity to do away with the secondary device and just connect it directly to your smartphone,” said Allen, who was then working as a stock broker. “I went out and put a patent on it.”
The resulting product — iDevices’ iGrill — enables consumers to monitor the cooking temperature of their grilling food from a distance, via a Bluetooth-enabled thermometer and smartphone app. The iGrill enables the host to step away from the grill and socialize with friends and family, while ensuring that food reaches a safe internal temperature but doesn’t overcook.
His idea for improving at-home cooking spawned iDevices, which is now an established Internet of Things player that designs connected consumer electronics.
The company has branched out into other cooking gadgets that aim to tackle the everyday problems faced by home cooks and BBQ-ers, including the up-and-coming iLP propane monitor.
The iLP monitors propane levels and uses an algorithm to predict how much propane is left in a tank.
At the heart of the iGrill and the iLP is Broadcom’s WICED™ platform, which uses low-power Bluetooth Smart technology to send data from sensors to smartphones and tablets.
Allen worked with Broadcom’s Bluetooth team to get reliable, low-cost and low-power connectivity into the iGrill, and its related product family, which includes the iGrill2 (for professional chefs) and iGrillmini (a pocket sized version).
The partnership that iDevices established with Broadcom’s WICED™ (Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices) team helped Allen get the iGrill to market quickly, he said.
“We liked the team and the technology,” Allen said. “We tapped Bluetooth because it was lower-cost and lower-power, which allowed us to come into a consumer market that is very price sensitive.”
The iGrill family of devices retail for less than $100.
The WICED platform is so powerful that iDevices is leveraging it to help other companies develop their own Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets.
Part of iDevices’ consulting business includes a development kit for other IoT entrepreneurs, one that’s based on Broadcom’s WICED technology.
“We took a deeper dive and built an SDK around the WICED hardware platform,” Allen said. Touting the small size, low-cost and high level of integration that the module brings to the table, the company is “easing the development process even further.”
The iDevices Bluetooth Module includes an embedded Bluetooth Smart antenna, 24Mhz clock, and 512Kb EEPROM, along with the required software stack.
Looking forward, iDevices’ Allen said he expects to see “a lot of evolution” as the IoT accelerates over the next two years.
He anticipates a time when such devices focus less on automation and more on artificial intelligence, while offering “predictive” experiences for consumers.
“The phone will be doing more of the work,” he said. “It will be a true seamless integration of connected devices into consumers’ lives.”