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Broadcom Corp., a developer of semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications, has expanded its wireless Internet connectivity for embedded devices (WICED) portfolio with the introduction of WICED Direct. By integrating Wi-Fi Direct into the WICED platform, Broadcom is enabling OEMs to rapidly develop wearable products that communicate seamlessly to the cloud via smart mobile devices.

"The value of a wearable device lies in its ability to connect to a smartphone or the Internet with minimal impact on battery life. As the market gains momentum, Broadcom is actively widening business opportunities in this growing space by offering the breadth of IP and customized components that enable creative new smart wearable devices to be connected," said Rahul Patel, vice president of wireless connectivity combos marketing at Broadcom.

Broadcom's WICED portfolio provides the foundation for embedding low power, high performance, interoperable wireless connectivity into these devices. Emerging segment leaders are currently designing health and wellness devices based on Broadcom WICED technology, including blood pressure monitors, glucometers, smart watches, fitness bracelets and more. By supporting Wi-Fi Direct, a specification that allows two devices to communicate with each other securely via Wi-Fi without an access point or computer, Broadcom is opening the doors to the development of new, innovative smart accessories, clothing and other wearable sensors. 

As wearable technology becomes more prominent, wireless connectivity technologies that enable these devices to connect to smartphones are key to unlocking their true potential. Specifically:

  • Near Field Communication (NFC) enables a consumer to buy a new wearable device and simply tap it to their smartphone so the devices can start to communicate instantly and securely.  No more complicated menus or arduous setup processes.
  • Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi allow the consumer to collect data from their wearable device (i.e. calories burned, heart rate, etc.) and transfer it to their smartphone or into the cloud without draining the battery.
  • Wi-Fi Direct allows a consumer to directly connect two Wi-Fi devices together without the need for an access point or computer.
  • A wearable device combined with location technology allows for interesting new use cases such as doctors tracking patients in clinical environments or retailers sending targeted advertising to consumers.

Experts predict nearly 15 million wearable smart devices will be sold this year, and nearly 70 million by 2017. As designs get smaller, lighter and more power efficient, the connection of a wearable device to powerful smartphones or tablets that can process and send data to the cloud is critical.  For this reason, smart mobile devices have become the hub for interconnecting everything.

Tags: Broadcom, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth

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