The selection of the right smart luminaire or dimming system extremely is extremely difficult as there are so many options on the market but the more challenging decision lies in selecting the correct wireless protocol. Thomas Lane, of Megaman, explains what to look for.
The use of smart home technology is increasing by leaps and bounds and the market is awash with options. Bluetooth is one of the more well-known solutions and the range of Bluetooth devices is gradually improving by the use of mesh networking technology. Currently, however, this is only a solution for control within a room or small space, as the user needs to be in close proximity for switching.
Zigbee is another popular protocol for smart lighting products. It is an extremely powerful and diverse protocol which covers every eventuality and is also scalable as it operates on a mesh network. The trade-off with Zigbee is the price of the chips and hardware it needs to operate its protocol and some would argue that using such a powerful protocol to switch on light or other domestic appliances is overkill.
Something that is often overlooked after selection is whether the manufacturer’s other products, or products on the same protocol, can be used together on one smartphone or tablet App where generally the answer is no. There is still a lack of communication between manufacturers who won’t work together to offer a complete smart home solution and the only way this will change is if a market-leading technology company acts as the middleman. Apple is taking the lead in 2015 by launching the Apple Home Kit, a platform that brings smart products together. This is a step in the right direction; however at this stage it is unclear which players will be involved and what the levels of functionality will be. The exact launch date is also yet to be confirmed.
This still leaves the problem when selecting smart home products that offer a complete solution for a home from a single app. As very few manufacturers make products in all three areas of control, the consumer is left with multiple apps for controlling different products on different protocols.
LightwaveRF addresses these issues because it operates on its own protocol using the 433.39 MHz and 868 MHz frequencies. By using its own protocol, hardware costs can be reduced by removing any unnecessary functionality that is included in other protocols. In short, the consumer gets a better value product. There is no compromise on performance either; with a range of around 20 metres from transmitter to receiver (which can be increased with the use of a Signal Booster).
LightwaveRF offers a wide range of affordable products in the lighting, heating, power and alert categories. All the products work from the same smartphone and tablet app for day-to-day energy saving and comfort.
LightwaveRF also has an open application programme interface that allows third party integration, making it an extremely flexible solution.