WaRP7 Changes the Way Customers Design IoT and Wearable Products

anil kumar challyil
Anil kumar Challyil, Business Development Manager, Strategic Programs, element14

As every human today is opting for connected life; the intrinsic boom in the IoT and Wearables market is rational. But, there are also challenges when we swoop into the core architecture of these connected devices. Rapid prototyping, flexible design, license-free, market-ready platforms shall get some elbow room to give designers the ease of innovating the products. The new WaRP7 platform from element14 is not only enabling developers to take their designs faster to market with a FCC/CE pre-approved Hardware but is also solving key IoT challenges like platform miniaturisation faced by existing SBCs in the market and gel with traditional development tools.  Further demystifying the myths of this sensor-laden market, Anil kumar Challyil | Business Development Manager | Strategic Programs | element14 standpoint on the challenges of the developers community and their role to ‘connect’ and simplify designs for innovators. Edited Excerpts.

How can WaRP7 be defined as a key enabler and differentiator in the India’s growing Wearable & IoT ecosystem?

The IoT ecosystem is rapidly expanding, owing to demand for various applications based on IoT technology and is set to take the growth of IT industry to the next level. In fact, according to the recent Nasscom report, the Indian Internet of Things (IoT) market is set to grow to $15 billion by 2020 from the current $5.6 billion.

The WaRP7 platform has been architected and designed to address the key challenges faced in the Internet of Things and wearables market. It is an open source platform backed by the development community of element14. The WaRP7 platform speeds and eases development of Internet of Things and wearable devices by addressing technology challenges and helps developers to focus on creating differentiated features. The platform consists of a main board and a daughter card. The main board is based on the NXP i.MX 7Solo applications processor that features an advanced implementation of the ARM Cortex-A7 core, as well as the ARM Cortex-M4 core.

This unique heterogeneous multicore architecture enables low-power modes critical for most IoT end node and wearable designs, but also provides the power to drive a higher level operating system and a rich user interface. The daughter card is based on a flexible design with sensors to collect a range of data and the MikroBus expansion socket opens users to over 200 Click Boards, allowing rapid prototyping across all potential wearable usage models. All components included in this system were selected based on low power, small form factor and cost. 

There are legion of sensor-laden kits hitting the shelf that are designed to help engineers create wearables and virtually all IoT-targeted designs. How does WaRP7 aim to rule the designing domain of IoT wearables?

WaRP7 changes the way customers design IoT and Wearable products and shortens time to market. WaRP7 includes the optimized hardware and compact form factor and allows designers to develop on a solution which is close to the end product. The customers get access to all the design files, schematic and BOM with WaRP7. The Linux source code is also open and available at github. Open source design allows designers to use the device as a starting point and innovate without licensing restrictions, enabling them to focus on product differentiation. WaRP7 is built to meet the needs of a broad range of applications including smart home, fitness trackers and wearables.

WaRP7 is the industry’s first heterogeneous  asymmetric architecture ( Processor  + Controller)  low power CPU board for wearables with pre certified wireless interfaces and support for more than 200+ industry standard add on modules. WaRP7 kit will include the main CPU board, the I/O daughter card and a battery. A touch screen LCD will be an optional choice. WaRP7 hardware and software will be open source and support will be primarily community driven via the dedicated website at www.element14.com/warp7. 

element14 is an affluent distributor, manufacturer and backed by a huge developers community. How were all these expertise put together to propel the end to end ecosystem of WaRP7?

element14 boasts the first and largest online community of design engineers and technology enthusiasts, with more than 400,000 active members and more than 2,000 new members joining each week. Individuals around the world have come to depend on element14 as the premiere source for new product information, project support and a place to interact with the industry’s leading experts. For suppliers, the element14 community presents a unique opportunity to connect with customers and gain critical insights into the real-world project needs of everyday engineers.

element14 works with the world’s leading semiconductor companies to design and manufacture their latest development board in house, drawing on the skills and experience of 200 design engineers within the Embest and Avid businesses.  These strong partnerships give us a deep understanding and design knowledge that allows the us to provide consistent and reliable support to customers with differing design needs, as their projects move from concept through to design, and gives us a unique insight into the latest trends and technologies in the market. 

What were the key facets kept in mind while rolling out the WaRP7 in this promising wearable market? In terms of Developers community support, get to market, applications, etc.

The Warp7 addresses two major concerns developers face while designing a wearable device – Production ready Hardware and Rapid prototyping.  The platform enables developers to take their designs faster to market with a FCC/CE pre-approved Hardware. In addition to that it solves key IoT challenges like platform miniaturisation faced by existing SBCs in the market. Even though it has a tiny form factor, the WaRP7 is flexible enough to offer all the advantages of traditional development tools. The open-source design of WaRP7 allows developers to take the platform as a starting point and innovate without any licensing restrictions. element14 also provides dedicated Warp7 community with in house experts to support customers and developers during the design process. 

How vigorous is element14’s product development focus in India?

element14 has its Product development Team and Global technology centre based out of India in Bangalore. These teams are subject matter experts and function to support the design engineering community to accelerate their design process.

India is a hub for innovation and we see a lot of development in IOT, Wearable and Automation sectors. Having a team locally helps us understand the latest trends and focus on being ahead of the product curve by ensuring that we maintain an inventory profile in line with the market requirements, and address technology issues if any arise during the design process. 

What are the key industry trends you are witnessing and foresee in the wearable and IoT segment in India?

The India wearable sensors market is expected to increase to $18.29 million by 2018 at a CAGR of 48.49% over the period 2014-2020. India is estimated to be the third fastest growing market in Asia Pacific for wearable sensors during this forecast period. The growth of wearable sensors market in this country is due to growing healthcare industry, consumer awareness towards health and fitness, coupled with technology and computing in daily life. The consumers of India are fast adopters of this new technology.

The industry trends driving this market are as follows:

  • Falling price of the components used to manufacture wearable sensors is making the wearable devices affordable.
  • Increasing demand across various application sectors such as wearable technology for fitness, healthcare and security is driving the India wearable sensors market to grow lucratively.
  • The rising market of smartphones and tablets is enabling the integration of wearable devices with the smartphones.
  • Wrist wear segment holds the majority of the market share and is anticipated to dominate the market during the forecast period. 

From 0pc market share in 2010, the wearable market is foreseen to reach 12.6 billion in 2018. Though it showcases the dynamic growth of the market, it also brings performance and reliability factors. How is element14 set to address this breach and empower engineers and designers for a desirable future?

element14 is addressing performance and reliability by using an extremely low power consuming i.MX7 Solo Processor with equally low power consuming Wireless solution. element14 is also providing a rich set of wireless and multimedia support packages through the Yocto and Android platforms thereby empowering engineers and designers.

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