Home Control

The Really Smart Home Automation Solution

If you are in the Smart Building Control / Home Automation / LED Lighting markets then  this article is for you.

The Smart Home today needs to save energy more than ever. In Europe the price of electricity has sky rocketed over the last few years. Folks need to save their hard earned cash.

Savings can be made without too much inconvenience, a neat way is needed to ensure that the elctrical aplliances you are using are on.

The big difference between the North American and European markets is that North America is focused on user convenience whereas Europe is focused on saving costs and energy.

In Europe, house building is at an all time low, and so the big market is retro fit of existing properties, and not bespoke systems in new property builds. A retrofit system needs to be “plug and play”  and this enables retailers to sell the product. No installation engineers should be required ,as this drives up the system cost and limits the market demand severely.

The system also needs to be able to add nodes in a transparent manner.  Expanding the smart home market requires a low price point to entice the consumer. A good route is  with a ” starter” pack.  The user can then buy more nodes, as his confidence in the system grows.  A lower price entry point also means the user sees little risk to spending the money on the starter pack. New nodes must also be plug and play and seamlessly auto-connect to the existing system.

The most common approach in the marketplace is to use the convenience of wireless with ZigBee ( or another IEEE 8012.15.4 wireless variant). There are no wires to connect up and the system should set itself up.  Sounds great but….

The Challenges of an 802.15.4 Wireless only Solution

Wireless does have its limitations as a stand alone communications technology.  The operating frequency is 2.4 GHz and at these frequencies it is ” line of sight ” communications.  The signal will bounce off walls and scatter through a building, so it is not quite just line of sight. However there four challenges that limit the effectiveness and reliability of communication with ZigBee :

  • In Europe, many buildings are old with very thick walls, and so 802.15.4 wireless will not penetrate the walls and the only hope of the radio signal escaping the room is through the door and the signal will vary if the typical heavy wooden door is open or closed.
  • New buildings have a built in layer of aluminium in the walls to reflect the heat back into the room. However, this also acts as a Faraday cage.  Modern structures therefore can have the same challenge as older buildings, where the wireless signal can only escape a room through the door opening. This limits the range and reliability of the signal
  • Multi-floored homes present a further challenge in successfully achieving reliable wireless communications on the upper floors
  • In countries in densely populated areas, there is a lot of wireless already being transmitted. In the case of the UK where all the electricity meters will be  ZigBee, the end result will be a raised noise floor on the ZigBee channels and this “interference” will further limit the effective range.

The Solution : A Low cost Power Line / Wireless Communications System

There is an alternative to solving all these issues and that is to use a hybrid communications system consisting of power line communication and 8012.15.4 wireless.   A mesh network is implemented using power line and wireless.  The good news is that Greenvity communications has built power line and wireless into one chip.  The even better news is that the chips is supplied with a thin client mesh networking software which runs on the chip. This enables a full robust network to be implemented with NO EXTERNAL PROCESSOR.  The network itself decides how to communicate with each node either on power line or wireless by continuously looking at a range of parameters to evaluate whether communications quality is better on power line or on wireless.

This is done by looking at various parameters such as signal strength.

The chip is the Greeenvity Communications GV7011 and here i the block diagram below :

GV 7011 Block diagram

 

 

 

 

             

The GV7011 Block Diagram

This is all implemented in one chip and so makes for a very cost effective and robust solution.

Greenvity Solutions

Greenvity provides the complete solution and all the software to enable you to get into the market quickly.  The chip also has PWM outputs so that LED lighting can be dimmed, switched on and off and colour tuned.   There is a GV- Controller with all the software built in and there are IoS and Android applications  to allow control of the home/building from your mobile phine or tablet. A Cloud application will allow control from anywhere in the world from your phone /tablet. ( to be released in a few weeks). All this software in binary form is free to greenvity product users

I know the picture is not too clear so if you click on the picture or here you can see the products on the Greenvity  website

Greenvity Products

Greenvity Products

All of these products are available now.

Contact us

Please contact us and we will be happy to provide more information . Click here to email us for a fast response 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Greenvity Communications Inc.

 

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