Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ: SWIR) (TSX: SW) today announced that Beeldhorloge, based in the Netherlands, has selected a Sierra Wireless AirPrime™ embedded module to provide wireless connectivity for the Pictowatch. The Pictowatch is designed to assist individuals with cognitive disorders – such as dyschrony (a condition whereby the sufferer is unable to recognize what time of day it is), ADHD, dementia and Asperger’s Syndrome – in managing daily routines.
The wireless element connects the Pictowatch to a web server where an online schedule is hosted and managed by the wearers’ caregivers, enabling real-time alerts to users when it is time to perform a certain action – to eat lunch, for example, or go to work. Alerts take the form of beeps, vibrations, and a digital display of pre-selected icons or photos representing the designated activity. The core of the watch is based on the Sierra Wireless AirPrime SL6087 EDGE wireless module, which provides access to the GSM network and is also responsible for running the Pictowatch application and producing the pictogram on the watch display.
In developing the Pictowatch with an AirPrime module, Beeldhorloge was able to take advantage of the Sierra Wireless Open AT Application Framework, which enables customers to embed their application directly onto the wireless module. By using the processing power already built into the wireless module, no separate microcontroller is required. This is the real value-add of the Sierra Wireless module: it combines GSM and microcontroller functions, acting both as modem and as central processor, so that the entire firmware and software of the Pictowatch is actually run on the module. For Beeldhorloge, this means that the Pictowatch can be smaller, use less power, and have a noticeably lower bill of materials than it would if a separate processor had been required.
With the AirVantage M2M Cloud Platform, Sierra Wireless also provides remote device management services, which allows Beeldhorloge to update the firmware and software on the watch remotely. The download-over-the-air approach proved vital in the testing phase of the Pictowatch, as prototypes could be modified while in the field.