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Viewpoint


Internet-Enabled Innovations


Colin Faulkner, Product Manager of Smart Home and Energy at NXP Semiconductors talks us through how wireless controls can help make life at home that bit easier.


In the not-so-distant future, smart homes with wirelessly controlled lighting will become more prevalent. While the “smart home” as a concept has been with us for decades, it has traditionally remained in the domain of luxury homes. Now, however, the smart home is going mainstream.


At this year’s Lightfair International, we’ll see several exciting examples of Internet-enabled light bulbs that can be controlled remotely via a Smartphone, tablet or a remote control device, on display from leading manufacturers. Lights can be smoothly dimmed or brightened through a quick tap of a touch screen, and scene settings and vacation settings can be changed with the touch of a button. You can also start to monitor energy consumption for maximum power savings - the possibilities for intelligence throughout the home are endless.


Why is this happening now? It comes down to a combination of factors: First, the growing pervasiveness of Smartphones and tablets that provide a highly intuitive


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interface from which you could control your lights, appliances and other systems in your home. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it is the availability of important new IEEE 802.15.4 wireless communication standards such as JenNet-IP™ and 6LoWPAN, which are helping to drive down the cost of IPv6-enabled lamps and other devices.


Since NXP Semiconductors first announced JenNet-IP at Lightfair last year, we’ve received an overwhelming response from manufacturers and service providers in lighting, networking and home controls. As wireless microcontrollers using JenNet-IP start to approach a low price point, lamp manufacturers are able to design them into cost-sensitive products like light bulbs.


Wi-Fi is indeed ubiquitous, but consumes a lot of power, and can be seen to lack the reach necessary to serve as the network backbone for the


“Internet of Things” inside the home. We envision that the smart home of the not-so-distant future will have a mixed network topology – high-bandwidth nodes using Wi-Fi, alongside JenNet-IP nodes using only one-tenth the power. JenNet-IP is able to meet consumer expectations of performance, based on what they’ve come to take for granted in wired networks – security, zero latency, access to the Internet, and instant rejoin after power is cut.


Over time we believe that the advantages of JenNet-IP – including the ability to easily scale networks to 100-200 intelligent nodes, and easily extend the smart home network beyond lighting to climate control, security systems, and other appliances – will offer exciting possibilities for consumers and solution providers in a more affordable, more accessible smart home environment.


Contact T: +44 (0) 161 408 0792 www.nxp.com


www.a1lightingmagazine.com


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