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DESIGN & PRODUCTS Fig. 2: The GP 710 includes special hardware features to enable multi-protocol support, minimizing the interrupt load on the set-top box processor. A practical benefit is that the two- way communications capability of About ZigBee Pro rF4Ce can support new applications. the ZigBee Pro network layer supports For example, one very interesting appli- home Automation, Smart energy and cation is a “Find Me” button on a tV or Light Link application profiles. IEEE set-top box that, once pressed, would 802.15.4 compliant, it offers excel- cause the remote device to make a lent range and can cover a complete sound so the viewer could easily locate home with multiple floors. It handles it (probably under the couch, where dead-spots or Wi-Fi interference via your children left it). mesh networking: the capability where A variety of sophisticated applica- one node can find its way to the Home tions that offer interactive, two-way Control Box via other nodes and is even viewer participation could also be built capable of doing this dynamically. if one into the remote control such as tele- route is blocked it will automatically and voting and gaming, personal messages instantaneously find another route (if and reminders, real-time sports results, that exists) without any user interaction stock information and residential sen- required. sor network monitoring. this two way the ZigBee Pro feature set is cur- communications enables operators to rently probably the most popular choice create new opportunities for advertising for most ZigBee developed applica- revenues via server initiated commer- tions. it maximizes all the capabilities of cial push messages on the consumers’ standard ZigBee, plus facilitates ease- remote control. of-use and advanced support for larger The interoperability offered by the networks comprised of thousands of ZigBee industry standard allows a re- devices which also makes it suitable mote control to work with more systems for industrial applications and building in a house and can be used as the automation. the wide range of applica- basis for home automation. Although tion profiles that ZigBee Pro supports the main applications of rF4Ce are in the home space makes it a very consumer electronics based, there complete standard. these applications are no technical restrictions to also also include the so-called green Power control other devices such as lighting, applications. For example battery-less heating/air-conditioning and some of light switches, where the energy for these implementations are already in the data communications is generated the market today. Leveraging the open by energy harvesting techniques from ZigBee rF4Ce standard, the remote will flipping the switch itself, offers a new eventually become the dashboard for generation of self-powered, battery-free the home. and therefore green and maintenance- 42 Electronic Engineering Times Europe November 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE NOVEMBER 2012
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