Gambling that the one sure – and most profitable – market for the still nebulous Internet of Things, CSR plc has launched its Bluetooth CSR Mesh Smart family of devices and software to allow control of home devices from smartphones.
The offering the company is proposing was used in a lighting demonstration at Embedded World this week, but CSR will be releasing a development kit to developers in April. The kit will offer Android and iOS application source code as well as access to binary CSR Mesh libraries.
According to Anthony Murray, Senior Vice President, Business Group at the company, CSR Mesh allows for an almost unlimited number of Bluetooth Smart enabled devices to be simply networked together and controlled directly from a single smartphone, tablet or PC for the first time.
It is going up against some stiff cometition in a market segment in which companies using such protocols as Z-Wave and Zigbee are already active. Despite this, Murrray said CSR Mesh will have an edge with its smartphone-centric solution.
“Unlike other home automation connectivity solutions, such as Zigbee or Z-Wave, CSR Mesh ensures direct control from mobile devices anywhere in the home, because it doesn’t have a limited range or require a hub.”
Optimized for smart home and consumer IoT apps where devices do not operate unattended and are seldom real time or eterministic in nature, CSR Mesh combines an internally developed configuration and control protocol with CSR’s Bluetooth Smart devices, including CSR101x and CSR8811.
“The CSR Mesh protocol uses Bluetooth Smart to send messages to other Bluetooth Smart devices in the network which in turn send them onward. Messages can be addressed to individual devices or groups of devices,” said Murray. “It is also possible for devices to belong to more than one group. Control is enabled via standard Bluetooth Smart enabled appliances such as light switches, or via the majority of smartphones or tablets available today.”
He said the package will allow consumers to control any Bluetooth Smart enabled device in the home from wherever they are, including lighting, heating, appliances and security systems. Crucially for the consumer experience, applications based on the company's CSR Mesh protocol will not require the complex setup, pairing, or use of an access device such as a router.
Murray thinks the CSR approach will be a game-changer for developers because “it means they don’t have to turn to proprietary solutions or add anything else to create products that give consumers what they want – complete home automation they can control from anywhere that ‘just works’.”
“As well as allowing control from a smartphone, he said the approach CSR has taken will give developers the opportunity to build intelligence into the network so devices can communicate directly with one another. concludes Murray. “This will truly enable the future of the Internet of Things, meaning a consumer can automate their home so their lights come on when they enter a room.”
He said CSR is already supporting a number of customers to launch products based on CSR Mesh.