CSR has announced the latest version of its Bluetooth Smart solution for the smart home, CSRmesh Home Automation. The latest software release adds sensor and actuator models to build on the original protocol that was designed for lighting control. This makes it possible for developers to deliver a wider range of home automation solutions including control of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, door locks and window sensors.
The flood mesh solution combines a configuration and control protocol based on CSR’s proven Bluetooth Smart devices, including the CSR101x family, and allows for an almost unlimited number of devices to be networked together and directly controlled from a smartphone, tablet PC or wearable device. The system does not require a hub or router to function locally, or an end-to-end IP connection which means it offers a simple and seamless user experience. An encrypted network key, combined with other measures, ensures security against eavesdroppers, as well as man-in-the-middle and replay attacks.
Importantly, for a positive user experience, CSRmesh for Home Automation significantly extends battery life for sensors and actuators such as door locks. Multiple devices can be easily grouped together with a mains powered proxy device in the group, for example a light bulb, holding data from a battery powered sensor device. This proxy device can then relay that information without ‘waking’ the battery powered sensor. By doing this, manufacturers can reduce the duty cycle of each mesh device to as little as 2%, ensuring long battery life without any impact to the consumer experience. Some battery powered devices, such as security sensors and light switches, need only wake up when they are triggered by user activation such as a window being opened. At all other times the devices would be in sleep mode, providing extremely long battery life.
A recent study commissioned by CSR found that consumers are increasingly interested in home automation, but a quarter (26%) are concerned connected devices would be too difficult to set up and too complex to use (25%). A significant amount is also anxious about security, with 26% worried about devices being open to hacking.
The solution can provide whole building coverage, even in RF dead zones, without the need to add relays or set up routing tables for each device. It does this by enabling an almost unlimited amount of Bluetooth Smart sensors and actuators to be simply networked together. CSR is working in the Bluetooth SIG Smart Mesh Study Group to help create a global standard for Bluetooth Smart mesh to ensure interoperability of all compatible devices and prevent fragmentation.
To enable developers to get products to market quickly, the CSRmesh Development Kit provides a complete set of tools for evaluation and software development, including Android and iOS source code. New example applications for the HVAC market, including those that allow developers to set thermostats, trigger air conditioning or heating, or display the current temperature, are also available.
“Consumers want a simple, secure smart-home experience that works with a wide range of devices and smartphones. The set-up process has to be simple and low maintenance with minimal need to change batteries,” says Anthony Murray, Senior Vice President, Business Group, CSR. “This latest version of CSRmesh meets increasing consumer demand for a much wider range of home automation applications that are seamless and secure. And it’s significantly more cost-effective than other RF technologies designed for the smart home market.”