Bluetooth Smart presence-detecting power plugs allow users to automatically control lights and home appliances in their homes

Feb 28, 2015
 
Oslo, Norway - 2015/02/18 - Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announces that U.S. startup, Zuli, has specified Nordic nRF51822 Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) in Zuli’s award-winning Bluetooth® Smart (formerly known as Bluetooth low energy) Zuli Smartplugs for the home that allow users to automatically control lights and appliances by detecting their presence when entering or leaving a room.
   
From a free companion Zuli app running on any Bluetooth Smart Ready iOS smartphone, Zuli Smartplugs offer a range of configurable options, including turning on and off appliances, dimming lights, and monitoring power consumption.
   
“You could use mechanical timers, dimers, energy meters, motion detectors, and switches, and then connect them to your smartphone by configuring them to a router,” says Taylor Umphreys, Zuli CEO & Co-Founder. “But this will require a lot of time and money. With Zuli Smartplugs, we’ve simplified and streamlined the whole process.”
   
Each plug has a range of up to 30 meters, but when three or more Zuli plugs are used, they create a mesh network that further extends the Bluetooth Smart wireless technology range and work like an “indoor GPS” that’s capable of detecting whether a room is occupied.
   
"With its presence-detecting technology, the Zuli Smartplug — set up through the Zuli smartphone app — adapts lights and appliances to each user’s specific preferences,” Umphreys continues. “Each user has an individualized identification, and their home adjusts according to their location and what their preferences are, as opposed to other roommates or family members. It’s that simple. Zuli Presence also now integrates with other popular smart home products like the Nest thermostat and Logitech Harmony universal remote control."
  
In operation, a Nordic nRF51822 SoC in each plug is capable of acting in either a central or peripheral mode with each Zuli Smartplug, while also being capable of communicating via Bluetooth Smart wireless technology with an iOS smartphone running the Zuli app. Taking advantage of the performance of the nRF51822 SoC with its 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 microprocessor, 256kB of Flash memory, 16kB of RAM, and separate RF protocol stack and application layer, all communications with the Zuli Smartplugs are performed at the highest possible data exchange rate and the application goes back into deep-sleep mode as often as possible.
   
“Battery consumption on the smartphone was an important consideration for us,” adds Zuli CTO & Co-Founder, Sid Bhargava. “Leveraging Bluetooth Smart wireless technology with our system allows us to detect the user’s presence and adjust devices while the app is in the background, and still maintain low battery consumption on the smartphone.”
   
"The connected home hasn't really taken off in a big way yet and I think one of biggest problems is that a lot of products and home automation-targeted wireless technologies to date have been geared towards early adopters and professional installers in that they are overly complex to set-up and configure for the mass-market," comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. "Utilizing the power and simplicity of modern smartphones, apps, and development kits and tools from companies like Nordic Semiconductor, Bluetooth Smart is the ideal wireless technology to change all that."

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