Do you remember the first consumer IoT device you read about? Ok, your first generation iPhone doesn’t count. Maybe you’ll think about the Nest thermostat? When it was introduced in 2011 the Nest Learning Thermostat was one of the first globally successful IoT devices. It was followed by a big hype around similar products and smart hubs which were meant to control our lighting, heating, doors and more in order to save energy and simplify our lives.
Now, a couple years later the term “Internet of Things” is omnipresent and arrived on our wrists in form of wearables and smartwatches and made it into our cars’ infotainment systems and running shoes. Our smart hubs at home are no longer controlling only building related applications but play the perfect music in each situation and remind us of taking an umbrella before leaving the house.
It seems that the line between building automation and other IoT segments is fading. What does this mean for building related IoT applications? Here are some answers from the Intelligent Building Systems (IBS) Conference 2015 in France which we joined together with our supplier partner ON Semiconductor.
The joint booth of EBV, ON Semiconductor and SIGFOX in the early morning shortly before the IBS opened its doors
The overall message of the conference was obvious: There is still a huge and growing demand for connectivity in building automation. This has two reasons. On one hand the building sector consumes more energy than the transport, agriculture or industry sectors so there is vast potential to save energy. On the other hand there are tons of systems and applications in our homes which can profit from connectivity in order to simplify how we interact with them and in order to enable completely new and beautiful design and architecture.
Smart metering and smart grid applications enable us to upgrade our power, water and gas grids on the micro scale in our homes as well as on the macro level improving the environmental impact and energy efficiency of whole regions and countries. In order to add structure to the flood of new possibilities several highly necessary standards have been introduced by governments and organisations in the recent past.
It seems that those standards are well accepted and known; still it is a major challenge for many companies especially those who are new to connectivity and electronics (e.g. traditional metering application manufacturers) to meet those standards. Innovative designs like our EBVchips solutions Hermes and Maia, which address the special needs of smart metering and smart grid applications and are compliant with the most important standards can help to speed-up time-to-market, cut down development costs and minimise the risk of failing to achieve the required standards and certification.
The EBVchip Hermes is a M-Bus transceiver that reduces power consumption
The EBVchip Maia is a wireless sub-GHz module with proven M-Bus and OMS stack
Security has been another hot topic not just at the IBS but for all IoT segments over the last months. Again requirements like those of the IP500 Alliance, an open wireless standard solution for smart building management, smart home and wireless security have to be met. Modules like our EBVchip Vesta supporting wireless asynchronous mesh networks in the Sub-GHz frequency bands and being fully compliant with the IP500 standards help to secure applications with low effort.
The EBVchip Vesta is a wireless sub-GHz module for IP500 mesh networks
In addition consumers are graving new possibilities to connect all of their devices to a home network in order to control them from wherever they are in the world. This means that manufacturers of home appliances and devices from lighting over kitchen to sanitary need to integrate semiconductor and IoT hard- and software into their products to stay competitive in the future.
It is crucial for these companies to find partners and to build sustainable relationships which help them to implement electronic components fast and efficiently and support them with sophisticated and flexible solutions for the IoT.
The EBV MAREN IoT reference design, which is equipped with MEMS sensors (motion and environmental), BLE and NFC connectivity as well as sensor processing algorithms (sensor fusion) is the perfect fit for a broad range of such home and building automation applications.
In order to demonstrate MAREN’s capabilities we showcased two demos using MAREN, both based on Atmel connectivity chips via Xplained Pro connectors. In the first demo we used SIGFOX technology to connect the board to the SIGFOX Cloud, in the second one we connected it to the Orange Datavenue Cloud via WiFi.
EBV MAREN demo connected to the SIGFOX Cloud
EBV MAREN demo connected to the Orange Datavenue Cloud
With ON Semiconductor we had the pleasure to be present at the IBS with an experienced semiconductor manufacturer with a broad product portfolio well-suited for building automation applications. ON Semiconductor showcased the new high-efficiency KNX transceivers with their NCN51XX family.
ON Semiconductor with the all new NCN51XX family of KNX certified transceivers at the IBS 2015
The KNX certified transceivers allow small, low-cost external components, while delivering increased regulator current and boosting overall efficiency by up to 20 percent compared to existing solutions.
“The three new transceivers we are launching today support the world‘s most adopted standard for building automation, and enable designers to create even more cost-effective products offering greater functionality and energy efficiency,” said Ryan Cameron, vice president of Industrial and Timing products for ON Semiconductor about the showcased products. “Making buildings smarter is key to preserving the environment and ensuring energy security, as buildings currently represent about 40 percent of the world’s energy consumption.”
In addition ON Semiconductor showcased a SIGFOX demo based on RF components from AXSEM, a company they recently acquired. The KNX RF and EnOcean certified transceivers will help us to offer you even more flexible and tailored solutions.
With SIGFOX, a company providing global cellular connectivity for the Internet of Things, fully dedicated to low-throughput communications, we had another strong partner on our booth able to support customers with solutions based on an antenna & base station infrastructure that is completely independent of existing networks, such as the telecommunications networks. The SIGFOX connectivity solution, a low-throughput only network, is being rolled out in 60 countries within the next five years.
For support or questions on building automation, smart metering, smart grid and IoT applications feel free to contact EBV Elektronik directly via this link.