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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Three part Bluetooth 5 mesh networking SDK boosts smart lighting and automation designs

By Nick Flaherty at

STMicroelectronics has launched a new software kits for creating smart objects that connect using the latest Bluetooth®wireless networking features.

The new Bluetooth 5 specification standardises mesh networking so that devices can communicate among themselves as well as directly with mobile phones. All smartphones currently on the market can connect to objects in Bluetooth Mesh networks without needing a central gateway or router, allowing easier control of smart lighting, general building automation, and other Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications such as environmental sensing, industrial monitoring, and asset tracking.
ST’s BlueNRG-MESH Software Development Kit (SDK) enables the creation of networked devices and the smartphone apps needed to control them. ST says it is the market’s only three-part SDK so far that provides developer packages for both Android and iOS, and the embedded-development software for building smart objects such as light fittings and sensors. Together, these three packages provide all the software building blocks engineers need to get applications running using ST’s BlueNRG mesh-ready Bluetooth Low Energy system-on-chip devices and radio transceivers.

“Bluetooth 5 will become a powerful force in the IoT market, and we have invested heavily to deliver solutions that support its important new features, like mesh networking,” said Benedetto Vigna, President, Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group, STMicroelectronics. “Adding BlueNRG-MESH to the ST BlueNRG portfolio ushers in an era of connected smart things all around us, like smart-home appliances or lighting switches, and enables secure and convenient control from the feature-rich and stylish user interface of a smart mobile application.”

The BlueNRG-MESH SDK supports developers building Bluetooth Mesh network nodes using either the BlueNRG-1 or BlueNRG-2 complete BLE System-on-Chip (SoC) devices, or the BlueNRG-MS BLE radio IC. The embedded SDK contains driver-level software including hardware abstraction layer and board support packages, middleware including the BlueNRG-Mesh library and BlueNRG core stack, and sample sensing and LED-lighting application code.

BlueNRG-1 and BlueNRG-2 integrate the Bluetooth radio and ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller, providing a single-chip solution for smart objects. BlueNRG-2 can operate up to 105°C, making it ideal for use in lighting products. The BlueNRG-MS radio works with a separate host controller, giving developers the flexibility to add ST’s BLE radio solution to an existing product and leverage the SDK to implement Bluetooth Mesh.

The Android and iOS packages provide the core stack and sample applications to help develop smartphone apps for end users to configure and control devices in the network. In a smart-lighting installation, this can include installing or removing lights, adding new lights to the network, grouping lights, pre-programming scenarios, and controlling the lights using gestures such as tap or shake.

A full range of development hardware, including BlueNRG-1/-2 Eval boards and Blue-NRG-MS expansion cards for STM32 Nucleo boards, is available to help streamline product development.

The BlueNRG-MESH SDK  is already available to selected customers with the full rollout planned for Q4 2017.

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