ZigBee market leader notches another industry first with multinetwork support for ZigBee PRO networks.
Ember, a leading provider of low-power wireless mesh networking technology, became the world’s first ZigBee technology provider to support multiple interconnecting networks on a single system-on-chip (SoC) or network co-processor (NCP) for Connected Home applications.
The Ember breakthrough enables a single SoC or NCP device to operate on multiple ZigBee PRO networks or Personal Area Networks (PANs). Thus, Ember-enabled Connected Home devices such as home gateways, appliances, displays and thermostats will be able to operate concurrently on multiple ZigBee PRO networks that support ZigBee Smart Energy and ZigBee Home Automation applications.
The new Ember solution will significantly benefit OEMs by reducing the bill of materials (BOM) cost for their products as well as providing consumers the benefit of more integrated applications in the Connected Home.
Ember will initially offer the capability to connect consumer applications and networks in the home with utility-owned smart metering Home Area Networks (HANs). In the first configuration, an Ember EM357 could operate as a coordinator or router on a ZigBee Home Automation network and also operate as a “sleepy” end device on a secondary network running ZigBee Smart Energy 1.x. The other configuration would enable a ZigBee Smart Energy 1.x coordinator or router to also operate as a ZigBee Smart Energy sleepy end device on a secondary network.
Ember has conducted extensive testing of the multi-networks feature with the support of its customer, LG Electronics (LGE), a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, mobile communications and home appliances, to ensure the feature offers robust security, data integrity and network scalability.
“Ember has always been a ZigBee leader providing solutions for the future,” said Jinho Sohn, vice president and the head of the LG Electronics’ Future IT R&D Lab.
“The multi-networks feature will enable reduced costs and accelerate the convergence of different networks in the Connected Home.”
Ember also recognizes the importance of making this feature easy to implement, and to that end, multi-networks functionality will be built into Ember’s AppBuilder tool, allowing designers to easily incorporate the feature into their ZigBee certifiable applications, as well as providing analysis of multi-network configurations within the InSight Desktop network debug and diagnostics tool. The multi-networks feature is expected to be generally available to Ember customers in July.
“As the ZigBee market expands to include newer, more integrated applications in the home, there is a need to help customers such as LGE to reduce their BOM cost and collapse designs on to a single chip,” said Bob LeFort, Ember CEO.
“The ability of devices to operate concurrently on multiple networks is crucial to enable a truly interconnected home and realize the vision of the Internet of Things.”
Ember Corp. develops wireless mesh networking technology—chips, software and tools—for Smart Energy, connected homes, and many other monitoring and control applications enabling greener living and work environments. The Boston-based company is a promoter of the ZigBee Alliance with an IC design center in Cambridge, England, an office in Hong Kong and sales channels and distributors worldwide.
About LG Electronics
LG Electronics, Inc. (KSE: 066570.KS) is a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, mobile communications and home appliances. With 117 operations around the world, LG achieved global sales of USD 49 billion (KRW 54.26 trillion) in 2011. LG is comprised of four business units—Home Entertainment, Mobile Communications, Home Appliance, and Air Conditioning & Energy Solutions—and is one of the world’s leading producers of flat panel TVs, mobile devices, air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators.