All posts by PeCoo76

ZigBee Alliance New Remote Control 2.0 Standard Announced

On September 11th the ZigBee Alliance announced that it has ratified the updated ZigBee Remote Control 2.0 standard.  The new standard adds many new features such as Find my Remote, universal remote functions (e.g. automatic IR code download), voice control, and simple pairing.

ZigBee Remote 2.0

In conjunction with this IC vendors such as GreenPeak and TI have been quick to announce related chips capable of supporting the new standard. Freescale, NXP and Silicon labs have also contributed to the implementation of the standard.

GreenPeak announced its latest chip the GP565 .

TI also announced its SimpleLink™ RF4CE CC2533, CC2530 and CC2531.

Device vendors have also announced solutions based on this new standard. Such as Universal Electronic’s latest QuickSet SDK.

This new standard addresses many of the needs of Service Providers as they continue to roll out Set-Top Boxes for use as Smart Home hubs. ZigBee continues to remain relevant as an important technology in the growing Home Automation market.

Epson Range of Wellness Bands Added to Database

Epson’s recently released range of Wellness bands have been added to the LWW database (see here, log in required).

Japanese based vendor Epson used the IFA event this week to showcase the new devices which includes both GPS sports watches (Runsense) and activity trackers (Pulsense).

Its Pulsense range of activity trackers all feature an integrated optical heart rate sensor and accelerometer, the PS-100x series is a simple band with LED indicators and the PS-500 features a monochrome LCD display.

Its Runsense range of sports and fitness smart watches are all GPS enabled and vary in price and feature set from the most basic SF-310G at approximately $200* up to the highest spec SF-810V with optical heart rate monitor (and more).

More information can be seen on the free to access database on the LivingWithoutWires.com website and more detailed specifications can be found at Sensian Research’s website (here).

  • we haven’t seen $ amounts released yet so this an estimate based on GB£

Moto 360 Available from Today, On Paper It’s Looks Very Impressive But Can It Be Successful in the Market?

 

The eagerly anticipated Moto 360 smartwatch goes on sale today (9/5) and it its specs are very impressive, some that stand out include:

  • Wireless Charging
  • Accelerometer
  • Optical HRM
  • Bluetooth Smart
  • Stereo Mics
  • TI OMAP AP

Moto 360 Dynamic Black

This device really looks like a good all rounder, providing much of the functionality that consumers are looking for in a companion smart watch. The smartwatch/band market is still developing and very fragmented but this could be a good solution for many. This has come a long way since the Moto ACTV (although we still believe this was well ahead of its time).

Motorola has a good chance of getting ahead of its competitors (again) as long as it puts lots of support behind it (users will remember how the Moto ACTV was discarded and will be wary it may happen again).

No doubt many will point to the possibly imminent arrival of an iWatch as the killer of any other smartwatch but I don’t agree. Yes, an iWatch will be successful, if not purely due to the Apple ecosystem but the Android ecosystem has grown significantly over the last few years and we believe there is a place for 3-4 main brands, with a few specialist suppliers on the fringes.

For the last few years start-ups have been the major innovators, now is the time for the incumbents to start to flex their muscles and take over the market as it starts to reach significant volumes. Watch (no pun intended) out for an uptick in mergers and acquisitions in this space as major consumer device manufactures start to gobble up smaller specialist suppliers in order to purchase interesting technology.

This market is just starting to heat up …….

TPMS Using Bluetooth Smart , About Time!

One of the latest hardware campaigns to hit Indiegogo is FOBO TIRE.  This is an after market TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system) with a Bluetooth Smart connection so that you can easily check tyre (or tire) pressure using a smartphone app.

FOBO

Photo from Indiegogo page 

It is a really useful and interesting idea (one I remember writing about 2 years ago) and we wish the team behind it all the luck but it is disappointing that this device even needs to come to market in this way.

Why haven’t major OEMs already implemented a similar system? Is it because they have tended to stick to proprietary wireless solutions due to guaranteed robustness? Maybe it is a cost issue (moving to standardised connectivity technology can be a little more costly)? Could be many reasons. It is assumed however that we will see more Bluetooth enabled TPMS in the future and that OEMs will see the benefit of this, especially as Bluetooth Smart Ready infotainment units increase in number.

Being able to see tyre pressure whilst in the car is important but it would be much better to also to be able to see tyre pressure on a smart phone app before entering the vehicle.

Haptics and Bluetooth Merge in a New Dev Kit from TI

There have recently been many new interesting combinations of technologies coming to market through development kits (see this post) . TI have now released a dev kit that combines haptics and Bluetooth Smart. This allows developers to play around with haptic feedback and control it wirelessly using a Bluetooth Smart connection with a smartphone.

There are also lots of other useful tools such as LED lights and an “audio to haptics” mode which can convert audio signals into haptic feedback.

This is likely to be a very interesting tool for developers looking to create new devices with haptic feedback or for testing new functionality for device upgrades, it has uses across a number of end markets – the smartwatch market being a prime area where haptics could be used to differentiate a product from the growing competition. Perhaps more interesting is its possible use to develop devices that do not have a screen but do have a need for some form of feedback, for instance in small medical devices.

Silent Disco

Wireless Audio in (Mass) Action

Being a bit of a wireless audio geek it probably comes as no surprise that my recent trip to the End of the Road Festival, UK one of the highlights was the Silent Disco.

In a silent disco the revelers are given wireless headphones and are able to choose (usually) between 2 DJ or music streams to dance and or sing to. It all comes together for a unique and really enjoyable experience. You have to try it to really appreciate it!

It’s not new, silent discos have been a regular attraction at music festivals for a 10+ years, the Flaming Lips (which incidentally I also saw at EOTR and where excellent) played one of the first headphone concerts in 1999 at SXSW) but it’s not a common experience for everyone.

So why add this to the LWW blog? Well it is a good example of what can be achieved with wireless audio that wired audio just couldn’t do, imagine groups of people trying to dance around with wired headphones, it would not end well.

FM has largely been the technology of choice for these systems but there is potential for other wireless technology to be used.

It may be a small market when compared to smartphones but it should still be on the radar for equipment and technology vendors. It is growing in popularity not only at music festivals but for cinemas, weddings, etc.

Broadcom Releases Connectivity + Sensors Dev Kit

Broadcom recently released a dev kit that combines both Bluetooth Smart for connectivity and also 5 MEMS sensors, this seems to me to be a good implementation to bring together these two staples of IoT devices and make development of many new devices even simpler.

There are many connectivity suppliers out there and many MEMS sensor suppliers but not many that can do both. It seems likely that partnerships will continue to be made by these largely disparate groups, consolidation is a very likely future trend.

This is not a place to speculate on which companies are likely to consolidate but there are many good combinations that I can think of.

Broadcom’s release is here