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NXP brings the word 'easy' to smart home set-up

Posted: 06 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NXP? smart home? connected appliance? ZigBee? Thread?

The connected smart home is a popular concept that's being pitched in practically every vendor's booth at the International Consumer Electronics Show this week.

The CES pitchmen will make it sound unbelievably easy to turn your home into a smart one with connected appliances. 'Unbelievably' is the operative word here.

In reality, it's inevitable that most consumers will find themselves stymied, as they try to sort through the complexity of setting up their many household devices.

Enter NXP Semiconductors, promising to change the picture.

The Dutch chip giant came to Las Vegas fully prepared to launch what it describes as 'the industry's most comprehensive smart home solutions.'

NXP is rolling out a 'Lego-style' smart home development kit.

Asit Goel, SVP and GM of NXP's secure monitoring & control business line, stated that NXP sees its development kit's mission as "demystifying smart homes for developers." It will also accelerate their development time, he added.

Included in NXP's smart home solutions are: production-ready modules and reference designs for smart lighting, smoke detection, motion sensing, home gateways and many other popular smart home applications.

The building blocks include: a variety of connectivity options such as ZigBee, Thread, Bluetooth Low Energy; ARM-based i.MX applications processors for gateways; voice activation algorithms; and NFC to enable 'tap and connect' pairing functions.

NXP's smart home solutions

NXP's smart home solutions are production-ready modules and reference designs for smart lighting, smoke detection, motion sensing, home gateways and many other smart home applications. (Source: NXP)

BLE chip with concurrent operations

Inside the kit, NXP is offering its new Bluetooth Low Energy chip, called QN9080.

The chip, based on ARM M4 core, consumes very little power, according to Goel, by leveraging a design that features an enhanced sleep mode. The Bluetooth chip, when used in a wearable device, for example, could last "up to one month without recharging," he noted.

QN9080 also provides improved performance by doubling its memory. The chip, capable of processing data from multiple sensors, can be also made "context aware," Goel added.

Further, this is the first Bluetooth Low Energy chip on the market that can offer "multiple instances of master/slave concurrent operations in each IoT device," said Goel.

Asked to compare the QN9080 with rival offerings, he said, "It is our understanding that our competitors currently support only one concurrent link."

Security and privacy

The smart home development kit is designed to be modular. Depending on system requirements, developers can pick and choose what they need from the kit, explained Goel.

Security is a key element.

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