LONDON – Atmel Corp., a vendor of microcontrollers and touch technology, is buying Ozmo Inc., a provider of low-power Wi-Fi for an undisclosed amount of money.
Atmel said it will the use the technology that comes with Ozmo to help it address wireless applications and in particular devices targeted at the Internet of Things (IoT).
Ozmo (Palo Alto, Calif.) trades as Ozmo Devices and was founded in 2004 as H-Stream Wireless in by co-founders Kateljin Vleugels and Roel Peeters. Ozmo has worked on wireless personal area network technology and its low power ICs are suitable for connecting fixed and portable peripheral equipment with Wi-Fi platforms. Ozmo raised more than $30 million in venture capital from: Intel Capital, Granite Ventures, Tallwood Ventures and Atlantic Bridge Ventures.
The overall wireless peripheral market is expected to reach about 1 billion units in 2015 with Wi-Fi Direct as the fastest growing segment, Atmel said in a statement.
"This acquisition accelerates Atmel's strategy to provide complete solutions for products that will make possible The Internet of Things," said Steve Laub, CEO of Atmel, in a statement. "As a leader in the Wi-Fi Direct segment, Ozmo's solutions are well positioned in this rapidly growing market."
The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2013.
"Is Wi-Fi still a good technology for IoT? Is this cheap and power efficient enough?"
It depends on which Things (the 'T' of IoT) that you are talking about. Bluetooth 4.0 is probably the best for things near you, such as pulse monitors for exercise logging.
For things around the house, the advantage of WiFi is that it exists in almost everyone's house. If you created a WiFi controlled plug or garden sprinkler system, for example, anyone could buy one, plug it in and immediately use it.
Some other RF network, such as Zigbee may be smaller and lower power, but it requires a separate controller.
For objects used out of the house (such as a tablet), what other choice is there but WiFi?
I agree with tb1. If it's "personal area" you're talking about, something like Bluetooth might make more sense. But much of IoT is not just personal area. It's at least room area, if not whole house area, which is exactly what WiFi is designed for.
So then the question should be, is there anything inherently wasteful in IEEE 802.11 that might suggest a better alternative for the job?