Connected Home Connectivity and Networking Debuts

18 November 2015

Silicon Labs has unveiled a series of comprehensive reference designs to speed up and simplify ZigBee-based home automation, lighting and smart gateways. Internet of Things solutions reference designs include hardware, firmware and software tools for interoperable, scalable, feature-rich connected home products based on the ZigBee Home Automation software stack and ZigBee SoC mesh networking technology.

IHS forecasts that connected home device shipments will increase from 59 million units in 2015 to 193 million units in 2018, a compounded annual growth rate of more than 48%.

The reference designs reduce the complexity of connecting ZigBee devices such as lights, dimmer switches and door/window contact sensors, in a connected home network. Consumers experience ease of use for “do-it-yourself” connected home products at leading home improvement retailers. The reference designs feature wireless lighting boards and plug-in demo board enabling quick demonstrations and testing. The Golden Unit ZigBee stack allows LED lights to join, interoperate and leave a mesh network and scale from a few to hundreds of light nodes on the same network. Connected lights support white, color temperature tuning and RGB color settings and dimming.

The ZigBee-based reference designs contain a capacitive-sense dimmable light switch and a small-form-factor door/window contact sensor. The light switch provides color, color tuning and dimming control capabilities. The design features an EFM8 capacitive sensing MCU to detect touch, hold and swipe gestures. The contact sensor reference design provides tools needed to create wireless, battery-powered sensors for monitor door and window positions.

Silicon Labs offers two ZigBee gateway options to complement the reference designs. The plug-and-play USB virtual gateway works on any PC development platform and supports the Windows, OS X and Linux environments. The “out-of-the-box” Wi-Fi/Ethernet gateway reference design is based on an embedded Linux system.

The connected lighting, home automation and smart gateway reference designs are now available. The RD-0020-0601 and RD-0035-0601 connected lighting reference designs are priced at $49. The RD-0030-0201 contact sensor reference design is priced at $39. The RD-0039-0201 capacitive-sense dimmable light switch reference design is priced at $29. The USB virtual gateway is priced at $49 and the out-of-the-box Wi-Fi/Ethernet gateway reference design is priced at $149.

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