RF semiconductor vendor GreenPeak Technologies is rolling out new radio chips to support a range of ZigBee networking technologies that will enable more home automation services.
GreenPeak, which is based in the Netherlands, already had its ZigBee chips integrated into set-top boxes in order to reduce power consumption and enable long-range, RF-based connections for remote controls.
This morning, GreenPeak said its new chips now support a range of ZigBee networking technologies, including ZigBee Pro, ZigBee IP, RF4CE and ZigBee Green Power.
“Working closely with the leading operators and their suppliers, we will enable the Smart Home market – starting with Smart Home-enabled set-top boxes/gateways and providing solutions for devices that will connect to it – including home security, home care, appliances, energy monitoring and control, etc.,” said Cees Links, founder and CEO of GreenPeak Technologies.
Today’s home automation services go beyond basic security systems by offering monitoring, lighting, HVAC and thermostat controls, home health care, and access control.
Links referred to home automation services as the “fifth play” that cable operators could provide along with voice, video, data and wireless. Cable operators, telco companies and other service providers have ramped up their home automation offerings over the past few years, but still face competition from entrenched home security companies.
Comcast’s Xfinity Home service, which is slated to be rolled out across its entire footprint by year’s end, uses ZigBee for connectivity in homes. As home automation matures, ZigBee-enabled devices could eventually have their own IP or MAC addresses.
“The first phase of the Smart Home has begun – proprietary, standalone applications, like standalone thermostats, wired security devices, IR remote controls, etc., but so far, few of them are connected to the Internet,” Links said. “The next phase is where these devices migrate to using the open ZigBee standard-based communication technology and connect via the set-top box to the Internet. The final phase will arrive when these devices together create an environmentally aware, safe and secure, and energy-efficient home that can be managed via smartphones and mobile devices over the 'Net, from any location.”
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, GreenPeak announced that Comcast had selected its controller chips, in conjunction with ZigBee RF4CE technology, for use in television remote controls for its Xfinity TV service.