27th February 2013

Qualcomm and Internet of Things (IoT)

So, is connectivity to internet necessary for all smart connected devices/applications? A lot depends on the application; for example in a multiplayer gaming app with players physically in the same room, a peer-to-peer network without connecting to the net can do. Qualcomm’s AllJoyn software and FlashLinq are a good fit in this space.

AllJoyn debuted last year and Qualcomm announced the extension of this to new core interoperable services at the Mobile World Congress this week. An application, in its present avatar, it may soon get integrated into the firmware for consumer electronic devices by their manufacturers, should the wave catch on.

And once that happens, I believe Qualcomm would like to see FlashLinq (their peer-to-peer PROPRIETARY technology) too get entwined into this. For while AllJoyn will run across various hardware platforms, AllJoyn apps will be able to run directly over FlashLinq without using Wi-Fi/Bluetooth etc. So if AllJoyn takes off in a big way, we can also look at chips with FlashLinq integrated within them flooding the market – another licensing revenue generator for Qualcomm.

posted in Semiconductor, Qualcomm, Internet of Things, IoT, Internet of everything, chip, connectivity | 0 Comments

14th February 2013

Internet of Things (IoT) and the opportunities for chip biz

There has been a lot of talk on Internet of Things (IoT) or Machine2Machine (M2M) communications – which basically is an intelligent grid of devices connected to each other through the internet. Chips are embedded in the devices enabling them to relay information, take decisions, communicate commands and adjust settings/implement a requisite action(s) accordingly.

As per a report from ABI Research, over five billion wireless connectivity chips will ship in 2013.

What does this mean for the chip biz?

Some basic things that various devices involved in this IoT will include are: wireless connectivity (mostly low power unless one or more of these devices is connected to the mains), sensors, MEMs and control units.

The control units here needn’t be too fancy – efficient and sufficient enough to do the task they are assigned for. They span from low end to high end depending on the computing power required for the control functions - served by MCUs, embedded processors. The sensors (for temperature, pressure, moisture, light etc.) are coupled with accelerometers, gyroscopes and the like.

Connecting to the internet – wirelessly and power efficiently – that will be the key for connectivity stake holders in this space. Nuel has come up with an interesting way to achieve this. It recently announced a white space (unused frequencies during TV channels’ transmission) radio chip for low power communications and come out with a chip to demonstrate the same (it implements the “Weightless’ specifications)

One thing I find interesting about IoT/M2M is that it does not have any defined market space/application. There are potentially several applications, several markets where these can find their way. So, while one can chose to specialize in servicing one market/application, a choice of providing a generic chip/platform (control/sensor/connectivity) for any or combination/integration (SoC) of the components of the basic fabric for any (or at least most of the applications) is also wide open.

However, for the application to catch on, it has to be implemented in an inexpensive way and should be easy to use - and that is where we’ll see some exciting innovation & integration happening

posted in ASICs, Semiconductor, Business, Communciation, Technology, Hardware, Ecosystem, chip design, Market trend | 0 Comments

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