This is the 8th segment in the Postscapes Interview Series with some of the top people influencing the Internet of Things.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m currently the Director of Value Chain Marketing at Wiznet where I joined in 2001 as an Engineer. Previously, I was working at Firstec, a laser printer manufacturing company as an Engineer during my 5 year military service.
My current job is to create synergy between our product offerings and our partner’s products. Sometimes this requires the development of a new product so I can still get my hands plenty dirty with code as well.
How do you view the term “Internet of Things” at WIZnet?
As you can see from the current range of definitions at Wikipedia, the term itself is a little bit ambiguous to us. Sometimes it refers to RFID/NFC and at other moments it also includes the web interface. Anyway the point is all kinds of devices will have ability to connect to the Internet but still maintain their old value propositions. In this case, the function of Internet is very simple and we can classify it as “Control and Monitoring”. For this simple data communication element how can you incorporate Internet functionality to work on legacy devices like washing machines, refrigerators, etc? Changing all of existing design and use Linux? That would be nonsense. Internet connectivity should be simple and stable.
Typically most MCU vendor solutions rely on the host for networking whereas our entire TCP/IP stack is sitting on the chip as a hardwired logic. This means the host microcontroller’s only job is focus on it’s own application. By just adding our chip as a peripheral, Internet connectivity becomes possible for your device. The simplicity and ease of use of our hardware TCP/IP chip makes it a perfect fit for the IoT era.
WIZnet’ chips and modules are used in many Open Hardware projects, can you tell us a little more about your involvement with that community??
That’s right. Our W5100 chip is used in the official Arduino Ethernet shield, as well as other widely used clones. If you visit the site Shieldlist and search for ”Ethernet” shields, or visit Youtube you can see many DIYer’s and other Open Hardware projects using our chips and modules. I think this is because our solution is very easy to use and provides a good amount of flexibility built-in.
We’re currently very interested in supporting Open Hardware development and hope that communities will continue to use our solution on their platforms in the future. We were a co-sponsor of last years Open Hardware Summit and are currently working directly with several teams to develop Wi-Fi shields. Microchip recently introduced their Ethernet PICtail™ (Plus) board using our W5200 chip on board and another effort of ours is working with 43oh (MSP430 community) on a project that we will be finishing shortly.
We have just released our new W7200 chip, which includes a Cortex-M3 and an easy to use Hardwired TCP/IP solution which is exciting. We also have the Wiz820io, which is a drop-in-network module and serial (UART or SPI) to Wi-Fi module. I’ll be working on creating some new interesting ideas using these products and also tracking other engineer’s developments on our blog (blog.wiznet.co.kr). With this combination we think we can work closely with more Open Hardware platforms to create some new solutions and collaboration opportunities.
Project wise, I’m always most inspired by what has been coming out of Kickstarter. Recently I was impressed with the Open Hardware projects Ninja blocks and Twine because I’ve also dreamt of these type of ideas for a while now and it was nice to see them get funded so quickly.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us and we are excited to see what’s coming next from WIZnet and the things that people create with your latest products.