Listen to this story
Today, being disconnected from Wi-Fi would be incapacitating for most businesses.
Yet Wi-Fi is a relatively recent innovation.
Wi-Fi was invented in Australia just over 20 years ago by the CSIRO. Now almost all laptops, phones and tablets are connected to Wi-Fi.
While most Wi-Fi chip companies compete to invent faster speed Wi-Fi chips for existing products, Morse Micro is developing a new generation of Wi-Fi chips for a new generation of Wi-Fi enabled products.
“We see large companies focusing on ultra-high speed Wi-Fi, leaving a gap for startups like Morse Micro to get to market with a new generation of Wi-Fi HaLow chips for the Internet of Things (IoT) market,” said Michael De Nil, CEO of Morse Micro.
“Wi-Fi can now be found in more than just laptops, phones and tablets. Wi-Fi has made its way into many IoT devices. Devices that don’t necessarily need ultra-high speeds but do require a robust connection to the internet. That’s the problem that we’re trying to solve – connecting billions of new IoT devices to a robust, longer range Wi-Fi network.”
Morse Micro, a fabless semiconductor company headquartered in Sydney, develops Wi-Fi chips that reach 10 times farther than conventional Wi-Fi chips.
Their team includes one of the original inventors of Wi-Fi, Professor Neil Weste, who built the world’s first Wi-Fi chips here in Sydney.
However their product is different from the Wi-Fi that most users are familiar with.
“The big difference between the Wi-Fi in your phone and ours is that ours uses a lower frequency and narrower bandwidth. It means you go 10 times slower but reach 10 times farther,” Mr De Nil said.
One of the challenges associated with creating such cutting-edge technology is predicting how it will be applied.
“We’re in an emerging market. We’re putting Wi-Fi in products that don’t exist yet.”
Nevertheless, Morse Micro has been seeing an uptake of their Wi-Fi chips in various hardware manufacturers.
For instance, Morse Micro’s Wi-Fi HaLow chips are currently being implemented in industrial IoT hardware, where sensors and actuators require extended coverage in large factories. Morse Micro’s chips can also soon be found in various wireless video cameras, such as security cameras, video doorbells and smart baby monitors – all products that need Wi-Fi connectivity to reach farther than the Wi-Fi we have today.
“There’s a range of new IoT products that you’ll see hitting the market soon,” said Mr De Nil.
“All IoT products need to be connected to the internet. At Morse Micro, we develop the enabling technology that will power today’s and tomorrow’s IoT devices. While we don’t really know yet what these future IoT products will look like, we have the chip that will connect them robustly to the internet.”
However speculating upon the future of emerging technologies can be difficult.
Despite its ubiquitous presence in daily life, Wi-Fi was not readily accepted when it was first invented.
“When we first started talking about Wi-Fi, there were many non-believers. No one would have imagined Wi-Fi would end up in billions of devices,” said Mr De Nil.
“Now it’s in smoke alarms, thermostats, doors, etc, and with IoT we’re seeing so many more connected products in each and every home.”
Although Morse Micro faces the unique challenge of creating a product that will be deployed into largely unknown applications, Mr De Nil is optimistic about its future.
“It’s hard to predict the future of IoT … [but] I think we can all agree it’s very bright.”