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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Self-powered Bluetooth mesh opens up smart applications

By Nick Flaherty

Polish smart lighting pioneer Silvair is working with EnOcean to developed self-powered lighting controls and multifunctional sensors with Bluetooth mesh networking connectivity.

The wireless switches and sensors developed under this partnership will use EnOcean’s patented energy harvesting technology that captures energy from the environment. Up until now, this had to be used with EnOcean's own ultra-low power telegram-based wireless messaging technology (that has been standardised as ISO/IEC 14543-3-10) at 868MHz and 915MHz rather than other 2.4GHz standards such as WiFi or Bluetooth.

Instead, Silvair will use its own Bluetooth-based Mesh Stack. This has been designed for low-latency wireless communication even in high-density lighting networks employing sensors for more efficient use of spectrum. It can be updated over-the-air to become compliant with the upcoming Bluetooth Mesh standard following its adoption.

The value of this is to support smart lighting from multiple suppliers, rather than being locked into the same supplier as the hub controller, without having to use long life or rechargeable batteries. This means the sensors and actuators such as switches can use a 'fit and forget' approach.

It also extends the number of lighting systems that can be controlled, and adds in new location-based services. Silvair aims to deliver the world’s first full-stack Bluetooth Mesh implementation allowing lighting manufacturers to easily incorporate a robust and fully interoperable mesh networking technology into their products.

“This collaboration comes as a natural fit for both companies. EnOcean has mastered energy harvesting solutions for professional building automation and Silvair has been the major contributor to the upcoming Bluetooth Mesh standard which is simply the most robust and powerful low-power radio technology for connected lighting in commercial spaces. We look forward to working together on truly smart products that can unleash the full potential of Bluetooth-based mesh networking,” says Rafal Han, CEO of Silvair.

“Through our partnership with Silvair, who shares our commitment to industry leadership in wireless lighting control and the Internet of Things (IoT), we have taken another important step toward modern LED lighting control for worldwide usage,” says Andreas Schneider, CEO at EnOcean. “Our self-powered and wireless Easyfit switches combined with Silvair’s Bluetooth-based mesh networking solution enable wireless, easy to install, maintenance-free applications for modern lighting control based on our proven energy harvesting technology.”

Silvair is the leading contributor to the Bluetooth SIG’s Mesh Working Group. 
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