NEW YORK – “The Internet of Things” is the latest catchphrase among chip companies chasing sockets for sensors and connectivity ICs.
Among those joining this high-stakes game are NXP Semiconductors, Texas Instruments, Freescale, and now, Dialog Semiconductor, a German company relatively new to the wireless chip market.
Betting its firm on a new variation of the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) technology – the underlying technology for digital cordless phones at home -- Dialog (Kirchheim Unter Teck-Nabern, Germany) is announcing Tuesday (Sept. 13th) what the company is billing as “the world’s first family of IC based devices interoperable with the DECT Ultra Low Energy (ULE) standard.”
The company hopes to go after a market for self-configuring wireless sensor network devices used in remotely managed home automation, healthcare, security and energy monitoring consumer applications.
DECT ULE is a local area network (LAN) technology designed for wireless low-power applications within a 300-meter range that can provide sustained longevity for battery- powered consumer equipment such as burglar and smoke alarms, door bells and others.
While accepted by ITU-T and expected to become an ETSI standard by year’s end, DECT ULE is a technology that seems, in some ways, to be coming out of left field, and perhaps a little late. In the last decade, the industry has already seen its share of incompatible low-power wireless technologies touted by different companies. Competing low-power wireless technology standards include Bluetooth, ZigBee and Z-Wave.
No one but Dialog has launched any DECT ULE-based devices.
So, why DECT ULE now? Should a conscientious customer swallow its skepticism and consider DECT ULE?
Further, what are Dialog’s chances to win in this wireless market? After all, connectivity was never Dialog’s core business until the company bought SiTel Semiconductor earlier this year.
It is far from clear if DECT ULE can catch up with the low-power energy wireless technology products that have been in the market for a while in certain segments.
This becomes a high-stakes game for Dialaog and others because leading chip companies see short-range wireless devices as one of the fastest growing segments of the market.
IMS Research’s senior market analyst Lisa Arrowsmith, for example, pegs growth in “the residential automation & lighting segment” at over 30% CAGR from 2009 to 2015, with over 200 million ICs shipped for this application.