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Broadcom Shares its Vision for the

IoT

Interview with Stephen DiFranco – VP and GM of IoT Division at Broadcom

Use 10,000 Times Less Power with Passive WiFi THz Wireless Technology Breakthrough April 2016


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CONTENTS

Wireless & RF Magazine

EDITORIAL STAFF

PRODUCT WATCH

Content Editor Karissa Manske kmanske@aspencore.com

ZF Electronic Systems: Energy Harvesting Switches

Digital Content Manager Heather Hamilton hhamilton@aspencore.com Global Creative Director Nicolas Perner nperner@aspencore.com Graphic Designer Carol Smiley csmiley@aspencore.com Audience Development Claire Hellar chellar@aspencore.com

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TECH REPORT

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WiFi Signals Using 10,000 Times Less Power A Look into Passive WiFi TECH SERIES

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Wi GaN Low Cost Differential-Mode Wireless Power Class-E Amplifier Using eGaN FETs INDUSTRY INTERVIEW

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THz Wireless Technology Breakthrough The End to Fiber Optics?

Broadcom Shares its Vision for the IoT Interview with Stephen DiFranco – VP and GM of IoT Division at Broadcom

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Victor Alejandro Gao General Manager Executive Publisher Cody Miller Global Media Director Group Publisher

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Wireless & RF Magazine

ZF Electronic Systems

Energy Harvesting Switches

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PRODUCT WATCH

ZF Systems, renowned for their high quality switches, has created energy harvesting RF switches specific for industrial automation.

Using the energy created by the mechanical actuation of the switch, these compact generators can power RF transmitters that can wirelessly communicate with special receivers to perform preset functions. This completely eliminates the need to run complex wiring to the switch, also allowing greater flexibility of placement, without the constraints of wiring accessibility.

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Wireless & RF Magazine

To be truly useful, these switches need to successfully accomplish three things. First, they need to be truly standalone. By using the energy of the switch actuation, this eliminates the typical trade-off of the inconvenience of being hardwired versus the inconvenience of worrying about battery life in transmitters. Placement limitations are significantly reduced, upkeep is completely eliminated, and peace of mind is increased that the switches will work when needed, no matter the circumstances. Second, they need to be robust. Each time a switch is used, it generates up to three messages, pseudo randomly spaced, to ensure the message reaches the receiver. These switches are also rated for one hundred thousand actuations in bi-stable mode and one million actuations in monostable mode, meaning that in most cases, they will outlive the facilities they’re used in.

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PRODUCT WATCH

Third, they need to be versatile. Available as either a rocker or pushbutton switch, or even as a standalone generator, users can find the interface they need for their applications. The receiver is also flexible, and can be paired with multiple switches or, if desired, multiple switches can be paired with it. The receiver also comes with different outputs, RS232, RS485, SPI, and USB 2.0 so that can seamlessly integrate into any infrastructure type. Finally, all transmitters and receivers can function at either 868 megahertz or 915 megahertz, allowing them to be used anywhere in the world. ZF Systems’ energy harvesting RF switches are perfect for applications such as building automation, industrial automation, smart homes, and lighting. To learn more about these switches and how they can help solve your switching challenges, please visit cherryswitches.com.

Click the image to watch a video on Energy Harvesting RF Swtiches

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TECH REPORT

This THz Wireless Technology Breakthrough May Mark the Beginning of the End to Fiber Optics Researchers create a terahertz transmitter capable of signal transmission at a data rate of over ten gigabits per second By Jeffrey Bausch

Researchers from Hiroshima University, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and Panasonic Corporation have announced the successful creation of a terahertz (THz) transmitter that can support signal transmission at a perchannel data rate of over ten gigabits per second over multiple channels at around 330 GHz. The aggregate multi-channel data rate registered in excess of 100 hundred gigabits per second.

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Wireless & RF Magazine

In terms of performance, the transmitter created covers the frequency range from 275 GHz to 305 GHz. Impressive performance, but even more noteworthy is the potential for the technology’s immediate scalability— the transmitter was created as a silicon CMOS integrated circuit. This means it could see sooner-ratherthan-later implementation in both the commercial and consumer sectors. What does it all mean for the general consumer? In short, wireless communication with data rates that are approximately ten times higher than current technology allows. For those unfamiliar with THz wireless technology, it’s a relatively new and vast form of wireless communication. Unfortunately, it’s also something that has not seen tremendous adoption due to the fact that the technology needed to support it is not ready yet. The technology’s frequencies are, on average, higher than those used by the

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millimeter-wave wireless local area network, which goes from 57 GHz to 66 GHz; its available bandwidths are also much wider. And given that the speed of a wireless link is proportional to the bandwidth in use, this THz transmitter looks to be an ideal solution upon which to build future ultra-highspeed communication technologies. In terms of performance, the transmitter created covers the frequency range from 275 GHz to 305 GHz. As of right now, this range is unallocated, and its future frequency allocation won’t be addressed until the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 under the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector. Most wireless communication technologies today use much lower frequencies—generally about 5 GHz or below, with high-order digital


TECH REPORT

modulation schemes specially designed to enhance data rates within the limited bandwidths that are available. In one test, the researchers successfully demonstrated that quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) is viable at 300 GHz with CMOS and that THz wireless technology could give it a bit boost in wireless communication speed.  “Now THz wireless technology is armed with very wide bandwidths and QAMcapability. The use of QAM was a key to achieving 100 gigabits per second at 300 GHz,” said Prof. Minoru Fujishima, Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter, Hiroshima University. “Today, we usually talk about wireless data-rates in megabits per second

or gigabits per second. But I foresee we’ll soon be talking about terabits per second. That’s what THz wireless technology offers. Such extreme speeds are currently confined in optical fibers. I want to bring fiber-optic speeds out into the air, and we have taken an important step toward that goal,” he added. Looking ahead, the team plans to further develop 300 GHz ultrahighspeed wireless circuits. “We plan to develop receiver circuits for the 300-GHz band as well as modulation and demodulation circuits that are suitable for ultrahigh-speed communications,” said Prof. Fujishima. Details of the technology were formally presented at the “International Solid-State Circuit Conference (ISSCC) 2016”. Via EurekAlert!

“Today, we usually talk about wireless data-rates in megabits per second or gigabits per second. But I foresee we’ll soon be talking about terabits per second...”

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Wireless & RF Magazine

Engineers Figure Out How to Generate WiFi Signals Using

10,000 Times Less Power 12


TECH REPORT

New Solution is Referred to as “Passive WiFi� A team of electrical engineers and computer scientists from the University of Washington has demonstrated the ability to generate WiFi signals using 10,000 times less power than modern-day methods.

By Jeffrey Bausch

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Wireless & RF Magazine

Referred to as “Passive WiFi”, the system also consumes 1,000 times less power than existing energy-efficient wireless communication platforms like Bluetooth Low Energy and Zigbee.

two decades, the digital side of that equation has become increasingly efficient, but the analog components still require a lot of power.

According to MIT Technology Review, the technology is considered one of the 10 breakthrough technologies of 2016.

So instead they assigned the powerintensive analog functions (e.g. producing a signal at a specific frequency) to a signaling device plugged into a wall. A collection of passive sensors then produce WiFi packets of information using very little power by reflecting and absorbing the signal using a digital switch.

“We wanted to see if we could achieve Wi-Fi transmissions using almost no power at all,” said co-author Shyam Gollakota, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering. “That’s basically what Passive Wi-Fi delivers. We can get Wi-Fi for 10,000 times less power than the best thing that’s out there.” Passive WiFi signals can be transmitted at bit rates of up to 11 megabits per second and decoded on any WiFi-connected device; that is, it does not need to be a device specially designed to pick up Passive WiFi signals. While the speeds of this new technology are slower than that which can be considered maximum WiFi speeds, passive WiFi signals are 11 times higher than Bluetooth. The team’s success with this technology came as a result of their decoupling the digital and analog operations involved in radio transmissions. Over the last

In terms of real-world application, the team found that their passive WiFi sensors and a smartphone were able to communicate with one another even at distances of 100 feet. “All the networking, heavy-lifting and power-consuming pieces are done by the one plugged-in device,” said co-author Vamsi Talla, an electrical engineering doctoral student. “The passive devices are only reflecting to generate the Wi-Fi packets, which is a really energy-efficient way to communicate.” And due to the fact that the sensors are creating actual WiFi packets, they’re able to communicate with any WiFi-enabled device presently on the market. 

While the speeds of this new technology are slower than that which can be considered maximum WiFi speeds, passive WiFi signals are 11 times higher than Bluetooth.

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TECH REPORT “Now that we can achieve Wi-Fi for tens of microwatts of power and can do much better than both Bluetooth and ZigBee, you could now imagine using Wi-Fi for everything.”

“Our sensors can talk to any router, smartphone, tablet or other electronic device with a Wi-Fi chipset,” said coauthor and electrical engineering doctoral student Bryce Kellogg. “The cool thing is that all these devices can decode the Wi-Fi packets we created using reflections so you don’t need specialized equipment.”

choice for that,” said co-author Joshua Smith, UW associate professor of computer science and engineering and of electrical engineering. “Now that we can achieve Wi-Fi for tens of microwatts of power and can do much better than both Bluetooth and ZigBee, you could now imagine using Wi-Fi for everything.”

It’s widely believed this new type of technology will lead to new types of communication not previously thought possible due to energy demands outstripping available power supplies. Passive WiFi could also greatly simplify the growing market of data-intensive applications, especially when it comes to Internet of Things technologies within the home, along with wearable devices.

To read more, download Passive Wi-Fi: Bringing Low Power to Wi-Fi Transmissions

“Even though so many homes already have Wi-Fi, it hasn’t been the best

The University of Washington team will formally report their findings in a paper to be presented in March at the 13th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation.

Source: University of Washington

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MYLINK


MYLINK


Wireless & RF Magazine

Yuanzhe Zhang, Ph.D. Director of Applications Engineering Michael de Rooij, Ph.D Vice President of Applications Engineering Efficient Power Conversion Corporation

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TECH SERIES

Wi GaN:

Low Cost Differential-Mode Wireless Power Class-E Amplifier Using eGaN® FETs In this installment of Wi GaN, we will present a differential-mode class-E amplifier for 6.78 MHz loosely coupled resonant wireless power applications. It uses the EPC2037 eGaN FET [1], which has a small (0.9 x 0.9 mm) footprint and can be driven directly with a logic gate. The amplifier is AirFuel™ Class 2 [2] compatible, capable of delivering up to 6.5 W load power over an impedance range of 70j Ω. This is challenging because the wide impedance range severely impacts the performance of the amplifier and in many cases would require an expensive and complex source coil adaptive re-tuning circuit. Providing low Bill-of-Material (BoM) cost, this differential class-E amplifier further opens greater opportunities in more cost-sensitive resonant wireless power applications.

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Wireless & RF Magazine

The Class-E amplifier: From Single Ended to Differential Mode With only three external components—the RF choke (LRFck), the extra inductor (Le) and the shunt capacitor (Csh), a single-ended class-E amplifier has high efficiency (usually above 90%) when designed properly. The values of those external components and the supply voltage are determined by the reflected load resistance and output power of the amplifier. The voltage stress on the FET, however, can be as high as 6.5 times the supply voltage, causing designers to use costly transistors with higher voltage rating and consequently higher RDS(on) and potential loss of logic gate drive. Detailed analysis and design equations for singleended class-E amplifier are provided in [3]. The equations suggest that, with a fixed load resistor, duty cycle, and operating frequency,

Figure 1a

the output power only depends on the supply voltage. In order to provide higher output power without increasing the voltage stress of the device, we need to consider the differentialmode class-E topology, as shown in figure 1(a). The circuit can be simplified to an equivalent single-ended configuration according to half-circuit analysis. First, the load (and series tuning capacitor Cs) can be divided into two parts, resulting in a completely symmetrical circuit. Then, taking half of the circuit results in figure 1(b). This equivalent circuit can be used for design purposes—where the external components (Le, Csh) for a given Zload in a differential class-E amplifier are the same as those designed for Zload/2 in the single-ended configuration.

Figure 1b

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Figure 1. (a) Schematic of a differential class-E amplifier (b) Equivalent circuit for designing the amplifier

www.epc-co.com 1 r in GaN Technology | EPC Confidential and Proprietary EPC - The leader in GaN Technology | EPC Confidential and Proprietary

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www.epc-co.


TECH SERIES Determining the Nominal Design Point The design equations require a specified nominal load resistor, defined as Rload,N. The actual value of Rload seen by the amplifier, however, may be different from Rload,N. Therefore, the amplifier needs to handle a certain range of Rload. For instance, for one of the AirFuel Class 2 [2] standard coils, the required load range Rload is 6.5 Ω to 70 Ω. When the actual Rload is lower than the nominal Rload,N, reverse conduction occurs; when Rload is higher than Rload,N, the FET switches at none-zero voltage, leading to extra switching (COSS) losses [3]. The goal is therefore to select the nominal Rload,N so that the losses over the entire actual Rload range is minimized. A differential-mode class-E LTSpice simulation with the EPC2037 device model is used to determine Rload,N. For each Rload,N (consequently each set of Le and Csh), the circuit in figure 1(a) is simulated for the whole range of Rload (actual)

and the losses of the FETs are recorded. Shown in figure 2 as an example, the optimum Rload,N is between 40 Ω to 50 Ω. Further simulation with smaller step gives the nominal Rload,N = 42 Ω. Experimental Results A photo of the differential class-E amplifier realized using the EPC9051 evaluation board is shown in figure 3. The component values are: Le: 568 µH (custom made air core), Csh: 200 pF (Vishay high frequency series), LRFck: 47 µH (Coilcraft 1812PS series). Although air core inductors are used in this test, high frequency capable low profile inductors are available from various manufacturers. The eGaN FETs used are EPC2037 [3], rated at 100 V with 0.55 Ω RDS(on). No gate driver is required as the CISS is low enough to be driven directly from a logic, such as the Fairchild NC7SZ125 buffer.

Figure 2

Figure 3

No gate driver required

Coil Connec?on

eGaN FET

Extra Inductor Le2

RF Choke LRFck

EPC - The leader in GaN Technology | EPC Confidential and Proprietary

Figure 2. Simulated FET losses for a range of Rload in the differential-mode class-E amplifier with different nominal Rload,N

N Technology | EPC Confidential and Proprietary

Extra Inductor Le1

www.epc-co.com

Figure 3. Differential-mode class-E configured EPC9051 development board

www.epc-co.com

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Wireless & RF Magazine

The AirFuel Class 2 [2] standard also specifies the reflected load reactance range of -65j Ω to 5j Ω. Impedance rotation on Smith Chart is allowed as it simply adjusts the series tuning capacitor Cs (shown in figure 1). The rotated reactance range to be tested is from -30j Ω to +40j Ω. With the discrete programmable load [3], the amplifier is tested first without transmitting wireless power. The measured total amplifier efficiency over the entire required impedance range is shown in figure 4. The gate drive power dissipation is only 13 mW at 6.78 MHz. The measurement was halted when either the device temperature reaches 100°C without forced air cooling or heat sinking or the drain voltage reaches 82 V. The last data

point at 65-30j Ω was not completed due to over temperature. Apart from that, figure 4 indicates that the amplifier can comply with the AirFuel Class 2 [2] standard over the entire range without the need for adaptive re-tuning of the source coil. Next, the amplifier is connected to a tuned coil and tested when transmitting wireless power. The total system efficiency with a 6.5 W Category 3 device load and rectifier is also measured, as shown in figure 5. The distance between the source coil and the device coil is 9 mm. The maximum allowable DC load power is 6.5 W. The efficiency curves in figure 5 have very little spread with a peak efficiency of 75%.

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Figure 4. Measured total amplifier efficiency including gate drive power over the entire AirFuel class 2 impedance range

EPC - The leader in GaN Technology | EPC Confidential and Proprietary

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www.epc-co.com

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TECH SERIES Summary eGaN FETs and integrated circuits are enabling more wireless power transfer applications, especially at the ISM bands of 6.78 MHz and 13.56 MHz. Low gate charge (QG) and low input (CISS) and output capacitances (COSS) [4] help achieve high efficiency at high frequencies; while small footprint ensures compact design with no sacrifice in performance. Instead of requiring a dedicated FET gate driver chip and complex adaptive tuning, the differential-mode class-E amplifier with EPC2037 [1] can be driven directly with logic buffers, thus reducing the overall BoM cost. The amplifier is designed and measured to the AirFuel Class 2 standard. When paired with a Category 3 device, it is able to transmit 6.5 W with peak system efficiency of 75%.

[1] Efficient Power Conversion, “EPC2037 – Enhancement Mode Power Transistor,” EPC2037 datasheet, June 2015, [Online] Available: http://epc-co. com/epc/Products/eGaNFETs/EPC2037.aspx [2] A4WP PTU Resonator Class 2 Design - Spiral Type 140-90 A4WP standard document RES-14-0006 Ver. 1.2 June 26, 2014. [3] M. A. de Rooij, Wireless Power Handbook, Second Edition, El Segundo, October 2015, ISBN 978-0-9966492-1-6. [4] A. Lidow, J. Strydom, M. de Rooij, D. Reusch, GaN Transistors for Efficient Power Conversion, Second Edition, Chichester, United Kingdom, Wiley, ISBN 978-1-118-84476-2.

Visit www.epc-co.com for more information.

eGaN® FET is a registered trademark of Efficient Power Conversion Corporation.

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Figure 5. Measured total system efficiency using a category 3 device load

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www.epc-co.com

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Wireless & RF Magazine

Broadcom Shares its Vision for the

IoT Interview with Stephen DiFranco – VP and GM of IoT Division at Broadcom

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INDUSTRY INTERVIEW

A

s the need for product development in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena increases, Broadcom aims to deliver innovative products and solutions by combining their global scale, engineering depth, broad product diversity and operational focus. EEWeb met with Stephen DiFranco, Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s IoT division to discuss current projects, visions for the future, and the challenges of working with the ever-changing technology of the IoT.

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Wireless & RF Magazine

Could you tell us about the IoT division at Broadcom and the technology it is developing?

We offer a toolset called WICED, which stands for Wireless Internetconnected Embedded Devices.

We just officially launched the Internet of Things (IoT) Business Unit at Broadcom. This business unit was a function of the traditional wireless unit and is now its own independent unit with its own set of engineers. It is focused on finding solutions and customers who need to create internet-connected devices in a range of industries like consumer, commercial, industrial, and automotive. The group is responsible for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular combo parts that are all focused and designed for IoT products. One of our belief systems in the IoT is that these products will iterate very quickly and very often窶馬ew products will come on the market, consumer IoT products will be refreshed every year, and industrial products will have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or combos for the first time. The ability to take a product like a commercial air conditioner that has never been connected before will be done easily, quickly, and in a way that will be able to work in the environments of the consumer, industrial, and automotive products. This is the overall goal of our group: to create the tools and processes to make the products efficient to create an IoT product and to streamline the integration and activation of an IoT product.

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In what ways does Broadcom work with clients to achieve this streamlined product development process? We offer a toolset called WICED, which stands for Wireless Internet-connected Embedded Devices. WICED started off as our own tools to help our partners take a Broadcom Bluetooth or Wi-Fi device and be able to connect to it. Over the last two or three years, it has evolved into an SDK, which you can download off the WICED community site where customers can communicate using a community forum. Our plan is to evolve that into something called WICED Studio, which is a fullfledged development environment. This would allow companies that consult with clients to have a studio from which to develop their entire connectivity stack on top of their product. Part of making the Broadcom IoT business unit is that we have made WICED our official product and we have engineering teams dedicated solely to WICED; it is very much a product as is our Bluetooth and Wi-Fi combos and cellular products.


INDUSTRY INTERVIEW How does this platform play into Broadcom’s overall vision for the IoT? I believe we will begin to see commercial businesses move toward highly customized integration of Wi-Fi, like industrial air-conditioners or smart cities trying to create a custom integration solution for their city. Overall, the industry will move towards platforms. That platform will be a mix of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, WICED for control, a microcontroller for the application, and some set of analog devices that would be wrapped around it. The platform and kit would be a self-contained solution, which is the same thing as if you had ten different air commercial conditioners in your product and you could use the same solution for all of them. The way to have an expansive network— quickly, affordably, and efficiently—is to get to a platform that can be used in lots of different applications. In the consumer market, that will be less common. Obviously, with consumer industrial design, engineers will be more concerned about things like the physical shape of the device and how small they can make it. The other piece where this is important

is that it will bring about standardization. History has always shown us that as you start to standardize things, they turn into mass market products very fast. The broad adoption of the IoT is going to be the ability to buy these components and platforms in a mass-market environment.

Given that the IoT is in its relatively nascent stages, IoT products being developed today will be very different two or three years down the road. How does Broadcom build IoT-ready components to withstand the rapid growth in product development? There are a couple of things that help us with regards to this. There are many protocols out there that ensure compatibility between devices for long-term reliability. We have gotten to a point where the cellular carriers around the world are starting to have very serious conversations about what narrowband will likely be and if they were to participate in the IoT, they will need pricing structures for their products. If you have any cellular nodes, the customer will pay a certain amount per month for that cellular node’s access to a carrier. We are starting to see these financial models starting to come into play.

Overall, the industry will move towards platforms. That platform will be a mix of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity,

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Wireless & RF Magazine

The other piece to this is the fact that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity have always been backwards compatible. The industry has taken a very thoughtful approach to this question of longevity, which is a very important issue within the IoT realm. One of the reasons we believed we had to create WICED was that we wanted to make sure that people developed their applications in a way that makes every device backwards compatible.

What were some of the challenges you encountered while developing WICED? We realized it was important to direct our customers to WICED and to make sure that there were not 15 different versions of it for specific applications. We actually used the middleware models in enterprise computing as our model. There was a high degree of reliability to how a user connected to a piece of middleware and how middleware connected to the enterprise infrastructure. The biggest challenge was getting everybody to commit to this; our natural instinct, as a company with a lot of customers, is to make something

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special for everybody. Sometimes the best thing to do is make something that is very efficient for everybody. The second piece to this was realizing that the IoT is going to be an industry of many customers. It is going to be very different than what the phone industry is today and very different from what the access point industry is. As an industry of many customers, we made certain decisions—one of which was that everybody had to be able to use it. This could only be possible by having everybody download it from our website. This wasn’t traditionally the way the industry would work and I think if you look at what we are doing in the IoT, everything is working towards making it more accessible to our customers.

In what ways will IoT change the way companies develop products to reach the new customer base? Part of this answer is that you need a partner ecosystem. We are reaching those customers mainly through our WICED community site, which brings us the most amounts of referrals and new customers. When someone goes to


INDUSTRY INTERVIEW our website, registers, and downloads WICED—that’s the way we meet the largest number of new customers. The second way is through our module and MCU partners, who bring customers to us because they need the connectivity part. The third way is through companies like consultancy firms and IoT integration companies who are becoming part of our ecosystem who basically help companies set up IoT strategies and products.

What are some of the more exciting applications that this technology can enable? Obviously, business models are going to change. For years, we have envisioned refrigerators telling the user when they need milk, which really isn’t that interesting of a scenario. What is really interesting is when the appliances in a home can identify their wear and determine when they need to be repaired and replaced in advance of that actually happening. The same thing can be applied to automobiles— industrial component management and monitoring will be a big change to how business models work.

I try to be a student of big data and what it all means. The idea of business analytics available through machine-tomachine data will completely change the world. These will be jobs that we have never heard of and there will be data scientists analyzing things we could have never imagined. When you have information from tens of millions of points, whether it be agricultural sensors or smart city devices, we know that it will change product development like never before. I think the IoT will become what people say is the next big technology revolution.

What is really interesting is when the appliances in a home can identify their wear and determine when they need to be repaired and replaced in advance of that actually happening.

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