Connecting Wearables to the Cloud

9/3/2013

Connected devices are becoming wearable. From accessories like smart watches to workout shirts that feature embedded sensors, our clothing is working harder to bring us the data and communications we crave. Technology companies are supporting this trend with new solutions.

One recent example is Broadcom Corp., www.broadcom.com, which announced a platform designed to enable the development of wearable devices. The company has enhanced its WICED (Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices) platform by integrating Wi-Fi Direct, a Wi-Fi standard that allows devices to connect with each other without requiring a wireless access point.

Broadcom says WICED is designed to simplify the implementation of Internet connectivity into consumer devices, and the new WICED Direct option will allow OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to more quickly create wearable products that can communicate to the cloud via smart mobile devices.


With WICED Direct, two devices can communicate with each other over a secure Wi-Fi connection, without the need for an access point of computer. This should make it easier for wearable products to transmit data.

The company views connected devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as primary hubs for connecting wearables to the cloud. Broadcom says some of the products that will make use of WICED technology include blood pressure monitors, glucometers, smart watches, and fitness bracelets.

Wearable connected devices have been gaining prominence in the market. IMS Research, www.imsresearch.com, says 170 million wearable devices will be shipped in 2016. Beecham Research, www.beechamresearch.com, recently collaborated with Wearable Technologies Group, www.wearable-technologies.com, on a new report on this market that looked into the potential for these devices with consumers. The report found while the market shows development and potential, more work still needs to be done to bring together value-chain partners.

Wearable technology is taking multiple forms, as manufacturers embed wireless into products as varied as construction hardhats, Google Glass, and fitness devices. As demand grows for these types of wearable solutions, companies like Broadcom are poised to help enable the growth of the market.

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