At CES 2016, Broadcom Corporation announced a range of consumer innovations optimized to enhance connectivity in the home. One of the highlights at the show is the BCM4908, which includes the pioneering 1.8GHz 64Bit quad-core ARM CPU and Broadcom's Runner network packet processor to deliver more than 5 Gbps of system data throughput without taxing the CPU. The BCM4908 enables OEMs and service providers to deliver the extra CPU power needed for smart home and Internet of Things applications while unleashing the higher Internet speeds coming into the home.
Best Partner to OEMs
“We want to be the best partner to OEMs,” Michael Hurlston said, executive vice president of worldwide sales at Broadcom Corporation. According to Hurlston, in the IoT arena, there are two fundamental layers, the driver and application. Semiconductor companies like Broadcom play the key role that supplies the best possible technology solution to makers. The application layer is dominated by software designing companies. On the driver layer, Broadcom wants to be as flexible as possible, so that OEMs do not need to have heavy technical backups or efforts. As such, makers can shorten their time to market, which is very critical in the current IoT competition.
As the IoT continues to evolve, more and more applications are being developed. Software is therefore getting more heavyweight in smart home. “But it does not mean that Broadcom recruits as many software partners as possible,” Hurlston commented. Finding the right partner with a rich domain know-how and competitive engineering strength is more important. Broadcom now has its innovation office in Shanghai to make sure Broadcom IoT solutions sync well with its IoT partners. Hurlston sees Broadcom as an enabling link in the long chain of startups, application developers, consumer electronics manufacturers, module makers and cloud integrators that are coming together to build more nuanced IoT ecosystem.
One of Broadcom’s software partners in the smart home is TriClouds. At CES, TriClouds demonstrated an integrated smart home solution, consisting of smart water leakage, doorbell, smart plug, smoke detector, IP camera and other devices for better energy saving and comfortable lifestyle. “Low power battery design and video running on Broadcom WICED makes sensors or detectors easily to be residential alarms and alerts via mobile phone for building up a safe home environment. “ said Daphne Chen, VP and co-founder of TriClouds.
As Open as Possible
However, forming a special alliance or group to build up an ecosystem is not in the Broadcom’s roadmap at this moment. “The smart home mass adoption has been hurdled by too many standards existing in the market. Users are confused and do not know how to choose,” Hurlston said. In his perspective, having one more alliance or standard is not helpful to the real market development. “What we can do is to keep our solution on the driver layer as open as possible.”
Hurlston took the WICED CORE ELP Bluetooth family as an example. It supports simultaneous multi-protocols and is currently the industry's first 40nm flash memory in a communications SoC, low-power consumption and a common development platform. “In addition to enabling multi-protocol support, WICED supports more complex IoT applications for OEMs and developers, all the while consolidating our low-power solution in a small package.”