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Framework Developed to Integrate Wireless Technology Into Wearable Devices

Sept. 19, 2013
A new platform has been developed that helps connect wearable devices with smartphones over a secure connection and without a secondary access point.

Forecasts predict that about 15 million wearable smart devices will be sold this year, necessitating a standard for communication between devices over WiFi networks. The Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) portfolio, which was developed by Broadcom, recently introduced WICED Direct. This platform helps to simplify the implementation of Internet connectivity into consumer devices. Using smart mobile devices, consumers will be able to use wearable products to communicate seamlessly with the cloud.

Essentially, WICED Direct enables manufacturers to design accessories, clothing, or other wearable sensors that connect and transfer data to smart mobile devices and the cloud with minimal impact on battery life. The platform utilizes Wi-Fi Direct, a specification that allows two devices to communicate with each other securely without an access point or computer. Another feature, near-field communications (NFC), enables users to buy a device and tap it to their smartphones for instantaneous and secure communication. In doing so, it eliminates any setup processes for the user.

Wearable technology has been especially useful in the health and wellness sector for devices including blood-pressure monitors, glucometers, smart watches, and fitness bracelets. When combined with location-based technology, wearable devices enable further uses, such as doctors tracking patients in clinical environments or retailers sending target advertising directly to consumers. With the market expected to reach more than $1.5 billion by 2014, seamless communication is just the first step of integrating these devices into various applications.

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