Apple HomeKit-enabled ubisys ZigBee Gateway Displayed at CES 2017

8 Jan 2017

Technology Preview: Apple HomeKit-enabled ubisys ZigBee Gateway Displayed at CES

Düsseldorf/Germany and Las Vegas, Nevada/USA, January 6, 2017

At CES in Las Vegas, ubisys technologies GmbH is showing its Apple HomeKit integration for ZigBee networks.

“We’re showing a slightly modified ubisys G1 acting as bridge between a ZigBee network and Apple HomeKit at this year’s ZigBee Alliance booth. The bridge seamlessly integrates ubisys smart home deployments into Apple’s popular smart home framework. You can use Siri to dim lights, set a cozy temperature, close window shades, recall scenes, or do the same using iOS 10’s built-in Home app. At the core, the ubisys Smart Facility Service manages the whole ZigBee network. On top of this rock-solid foundation, we provide an adapter for Apple HomeKit, a piece of software running in addition to the other services hosted on G1”, Dr. Arasch Honarbacht, founder, co-owner and managing director of ubisys stated.

The ubisys Smart Facility Service controls IoT equipment in a facility, e.g. a consumer’s home, and is capable of managing ZigBee networks using its embedded radio and other IP-enabled smart home equipment. It runs on the ubisys Gateway G1. The new solution covers everything from smart bulbs, dimmers, switches, window coverings, thermostats, temperature and motion sensors, to door/window contacts. It also extends to energy-harvesting flavors of environmental sensors made using ZigBee Green Power technology, for example.

A similar adapter for IoTivity is already available and ubisys will add an Amazon Smart Home Skill adapter later this year to complement its offering. All these adapters can run in parallel on the same ubisys gateway, accessing the same ZigBee network, making this gateway a fluent speaker of all major IoT languages.

The mature, fit-for-purpose technology to which ZigBee has evolved over the past 15 years is the workhorse at the core of ubisys’ solutions. The various adapters mentioned above bring ZigBee’s unique advantages under the umbrella of those other high-level frameworks. ZigBee products and solutions made by ubisys are synonymous for mature, reliable, robust, secure, interoperable, ultra-low power mesh networking, including support for self-powered, energy-harvesting, maintenance-free switches and sensors.

“Don’t expect to see ultra-low power, energy-harvesting products to talk IP natively anytime soon. The overhead of IP is significant and prohibitive for battery-less ultra-low power solutions”, Honarbacht explained. “With our bridging technologies, IP-based frameworks can nevertheless take full advantage of true low-power products while remaining easy to integrate.”

As IoT standards emerge, evolve, and consolidate, there is still no single, universal IP protocol to “rule them all”. While former competitors Open Interconnect Consortium and AllJoyn/AllSeen Alliance have dissolved and merged into the Open Connectivity Foundation driving the IoTivity open-source reference implementation, the ZigBee Alliance has just introduced dotdot, extending its proven application layer to operate over IP networks. Despite all these standardization efforts, some of the biggest players will continue to use their market power to promote their proprietary high-level frameworks to de-facto industry standards. A tiny low-power IoT device might be able to support one of these protocols, but cannot reasonably support them all at the same time. In contrast, the gateway G1 is more than powerful enough to achieve this kind of seamless integration in a heterogeneous IoT landscape on behalf of all the devices it manages.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide HomeKit support as a firmware upgrade to existing G1 models; a new generation of ubisys G1 including support for HomeKit is planned to launch late 2017. Nevertheless, existing models will continue to receive other upgrades including the new IoTivity and Amazon Smart Home Skill adapters.

Visit ubisys at the ZigBee Alliance Booth, #40920, Tech West/Sands Expo.

About ubisys

Promoting the ubiquitous deployment of smart wireless systems, ubisys technologies GmbH is a leading Smart Home and Internet-of-Things company based in Düsseldorf, Germany. Its broad portfolio includes core technologies like certified ZigBee Golden Unit stacks, cloud services, advanced products including roller shade controllers, dimmers, smart power outlets and heating controllers as well as complete, consumer-facing solutions with gateways and apps for iOS and Android. The company is member of the ZigBee Alliance, and the Open Connectivity Foundation.

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