Verizon Wireless has certified an LTE chip from Altair Semiconductor on its network, the first time the nation’s largest wireless carrier has certified a chip vendor as opposed to a device. Altair makes a radio for LTE networks, and with the certification, it can now sell its chip to hardware makers and promise them those devices will work on the Verizon network.
This helps those companies trying to build products that might need cellular connectivity, but who don’t want to spend a lot of time and money getting their device certified. For example, I wrote last week about SmartThings, a company trying to build a network of connected sensors that can be controlled with an app. The company wasn’t sure if it could embed cellular connectivity into its sensors and so couldn’t promise that feature. One reason it may have been loath to promise that functionality is because the certification process for getting a device approved on a carrier network can take a while and cost more than a startup might have.
But now, SmartThings could theoretically order pre-certified chips and pop them into its sensors without having to jump through testing hoops. That’s one less hurdle Big Red puts in place for hardware guys that want to run on its network, and one more indication that Verizon is hoping the Internet of Things is good for its business. For more on the topic come to our Mobilize 2012 conference this month where Verizon’s Ann Shaub will discuss connecting devices around the home.