Chipset vendor MediaTek is looking to drive the development of Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology by offering support for developers and device makers wanting to build and test prototype devices.

MediaTek Labs, launched in September, offers the LinkIt operating system designed for wearable and IoT devices that can connect to other devices and the cloud, along with an associated development platform.

Mimmis Cleeren, director of MediaTek Labs Europe (pictured), told Mobile World Live that the programme is aimed at making the firm “a more global and more open company”.

While admitting that IoT is at “a very nascent stage”, Cleeren said the company sees “huge growth potential” in the technology, with Gartner forecasting that there will be 26 billion IoT devices shipped by 2020. “We intend to take a large piece of the pie,” she noted.

The LinkIt OS has been designed to run on what MediaTek claims is the world’s smallest commercial system-on-chip for wearables, the MediaTek Aster, along with its energy-efficient Wi-Fi and GPS companion chipsets.

The LinkIt Development Platform includes both software and hardware development kits.

The SDK provides access to the core functionality of LinkIt, including capacitive touch and image processing. The current SDK is designed for the Arduino integrated development environment, with a version for Eclipse in the pipeline.

The hardware development kit can be used to build prototype wearable or IoT devices based on MediaTek’s hardware reference design. The first development board for the platform is the LinkIt ONE from Seeed Studio.

Cleeren said MediaTek is initially focusing on the wearables market as it is seen as a segment that could drive the development of an IoT ecosystem, including smart cities.

“For all this to take off, a high penetration of wearable devices and more standardised way of building devices is needed,” she explained.

With MediaTek’s background in feature phones, smartphones, electronics and chipsets, Cleeren added that MediaTek “is in a really good position to tackle this segment”.