Get ready. This year, the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to see exponential growth. IDC has forecast that there will be 22 billion IoT devices installed by 2018. In addition, IDC says that more than 200,000 new apps and services will be created to be used with the IoT during the same time period.
There’s no doubt that the IoT is the next big technological revolution – and it is coming fast. In the early 1990s, we experienced a business revolution driven by the Internet. Companies saw that by adopting email and Internet access, they could increase productivity and use information more effectively. The same is happening with the IoT. Right now, companies all over the world are looking at the IoT as a way to become more competitive and efficient.
In early 2015, Silicon Labs acquired Bluegiga Technologies, a privately held company based in Espoo, Finland. As one of the world’s fastest growing independent providers of short-range wireless connectivity solutions and software for the IoT, Bluegiga was the perfect strategic acquisition for Silicon Labs. Bluegiga’s market-proven Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules, software stacks, and development tools were a natural complement to Silicon Labs’ 802.15.4 ZigBee® and Thread mesh networking software, ultra-low-power sub-GHz solutions, and wireless MCU and transceiver product offerings.
At the time, Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Silicon Labs said, “With Silicon Labs’ wireless, microcontroller and sensor portfolios gaining considerable traction in the IoT markets, the timing of this acquisition couldn’t be better. Bluegiga’s products round out our wireless portfolio and complement our IoT solutions. The addition of Bluegiga wireless modules gives us new ways to deliver simplicity to our customers, enabling developers to easily add wireless connectivity to their designs.”
In less than a year, we’ve seen Tuttle’s prediction come true. We’re making it possible for customers of all types and sizes to bring new connected products to the IoT quickly and affordably. Customers have all the embedded wireless technology options they need for connected device applications at their fingertips, including 802.11 Wi-Fi (including low-power Wi-Fi), Bluetooth Classic and Smart, ZigBee, Thread and Wireless M-Bus protocols, as well as wireless MCUs, sub-GHz transceivers, wireless modules and multi-protocol IoT SoCs.
“The applications seem infinite at the moment. Anything you can imagine there are plans to put Bluetooth into it – because Bluetooth is what connects things to the IoT. Sports and fitness tools, professional tools, inventory management systems, irrigation systems, weather stations, thermostats, health monitoring and management, you name it.” says Tom Nordman, former Managing Director at Bluegiga, now Marketing Director for Wireless Modules at Silicon Labs. “One of the most unusual applications I’ve seen recently was a coffee mug that had Bluetooth integrated into it. It streams photos from your phone to the mug, so the pictures changed automatically. The technology is so cost effective that it can be used in almost any type of product.”
Nordman predicts, “It’s all coming this year. Unlike in the past, when a new technology started out at a high cost and become accessible to the mainstream over a period of years, the IoT is going to erupt out of the starting gate. It is so cost effective to make connected devices, that they will be available to virtually everyone and embedded in almost everything.”
Working together, Silicon Labs and Bluegiga have seamlessly brought their common vision of a more connected world to life. Keep your eyes open for all the new ways that individuals and businesses will become more connected through this next technology revolution, the Internet of Things.
The next blog in this series will highlight our office in Singapore. And don’t forget to read the previous post in this series here.