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ST Microelectronics creates smart home service opportunities leveraging app store ease of use

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article image ST’s GreenNet wireless platform comprises of self-powered nodes that can be positioned around the home to enable smart home monitoring and control

World-leading semiconductors specialist, ST Microelectronics has introduced a new open platform for smart buildings to address the challenge of efficiently using energy for heating and lighting as well as increasing consumer safety via monitoring of their environment.  

ST’s GreenNet wireless sensor networking platform comprises of self-powered nodes that can be positioned around the home for tasks such as temperature, CO or movement sensing, relaying data wirelessly to a GreenNet dongle installed in a PC or set-top box.  

The data could then be communicated to a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet via a wireless router to enable smart home monitoring and control.  

The GreenNet node at the core of the new GreenNet wireless sensor networking platform utilises ST technologies in energy management, silicon-based sensors and embedded wireless to create the ultimate easy-to-use network node free of wires or any need to change batteries.  

The node combines a rechargeable battery and solar cell with an on-chip sensor and STM32L Cortex-M3 32-bit wireless microcontroller in a compact 3D system-in-package that consumes minimal power and can operate autonomously powered only by ambient light energy.  

The new platform reduces smart home installation to a simple process of placing nodes in suitable locations to facilitate adoption by DIY users as well as professionals and encouraging greater consumer use as well as adoption in offices and industrial buildings.  

The use of open standards such as IPv6 allows the platform to offer high performance and flexibility while allowing independent developers to create easy-to-use downloadable apps for tasks such as home monitoring, security or fire safety.  

ST is now demonstrating the system using a sample node that features an on-chip temperature sensor, a USB dongle and a service platform including sample app store.  

Operating from only 150 lux of ambient light available for six hours per day, it can relay one temperature measurement every five minutes. It can still operate autonomously for up to six weeks in the dark as part of an effective environmental monitoring system.  

Key technical features of the GreenNet wireless node:  

  • Uses an industry-standard IEEE 802.15.4 radio operating in the license-free 2.4GHz frequency band
  • Draws less than one-quarter the power of a comparable wireless node
  • Pairing nodes with the dongle is also significantly easier
  • Node architecture allows extremely scalable performance, allowing nodes to carry out more intensive tasks if greater energy is available
  • Alternative energy source including mains power can be used to enhance flexibility and convenience for system developers and integrators

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