Introducing Wibree - a New White Paper from EZURiO

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Following an unexpected launch, Wibree has been subjected to an initial flurry of misunderstanding and then has been largely ignored. The reality is that it is poised to become the fastest growing wireless standard ever. Its symbiotic relationship with Bluetooth will open up massive opportunities for network operators to deploy new consumer based services, kick-starting the C2M Consumer to Machine market.

It was announced, it created a short storm and then it disappeared again. Not an auspicious birth for a wireless technology that is likely to enable so many new applications around mobile handsets. To outline the reality, EZURiO has published a White Paper explaining how it fits in the wireless food chain and the new applications and business models that it will enable.

EZURiO is planning to support Wibree modules as soon as the standard is stable and the silicon is available. These will be based on the same Universal format and development tools as our current 802.11 and Bluetooth modules ensuring a simple transition for wireless developers. Now is the time for developers to start to understand and plan for the promise of Wibree. In conjunction with Bluetooth it will transform personal sensors, such as medical devices, giving network providers the opportunity to look after our health as well as our mobile telephony needs.

What is Wibree?

It's a new wireless standard that's designed for devices that run off small batteries, yet need to last for a year or more on a button cell. The clever thing about it is that it can be built within an existing Bluetooth chip. That means that it adds almost no cost to make a mobile phone capable of talking to Wibree devices.

Why do we need another wireless standard?

There's a big demand for wireless products that can transmit data to a central monitoring service, such as medical sensors. The problem is that they need to be very low power. The other problem is that if they are to use a mobile phone as a gateway to the network, then the same radio needs to exist within the phone. But phone vendors don't want to add yet another radio. That's where the clever bit about reusing parts of the Bluetooth chip comes in. It means Wibree will be almost free to put in a phone, and low power Wibree chips that just do the basic Wibree link will be cheaper than Bluetooth chips for the watches, sensors and other devices that need them.

So does Wibree replace Bluetooth?

Not at all. In fact they lead a symbiotic existence, as both need each other to enable the market for low power devices. It will just strengthen the case to add Bluetooth + Wibree to a larger percentage of handsets.

How does Wibree work?

The details are still confidential, but from what has been released in the past we know that it shares the same 2.4GHz spectrum as Bluetooth and 802.11. It gains its low power by being able to wake up, send data and return to sleep very quickly. And it should be frequency agile to help it work in the presence of interference.

What will Wibree be used for?

The application that is crying out for Wibree is medical sensors for remote health and wellbeing monitoring. These include simple sensors such as weight scales, and more sophisticated ones such as blood pressure monitors and glucosimeters.

It also has potential for safety devices, such as car airbags, which can use Wibree to transmit an emergency message through your phone, as well as applications in roadside information transmitters for intelligent traffic systems. In addition it can be used for sending content to your phone display, such as bus information from a transmitter at a bus stop.

That's alongside the fashion applications such as enabling watches and other smart clothing. Plus it could make you mobile phone a useful remote control for all of your home appliances in a way that really is simple to use.

When will Wibree be available?

The standard is due to be released in the second half of 2007, with silicon available towards the end of that year. It is likely to be incorporated in phones in time for you to buy one for Christmas 2008.

Where do I find out more about Wibree?

There's more about Wibree at EZURiO's website at http://www.ezurio.com/wibree/ along with a detailed white paper that can be downloaded from http://www.ezurio.com/dl/open/?id=110

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Nick Hunn
EZURiO
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