Daintree Networks hopes to expand the adoption of wireless ZigBee-based lighting-control networks by offering open-source firmware (software that's stored in microcontroller memory) that solid-state lighting (SSL) manufacturers can utilize to speed product development. Meanwhile, the company is also expanding its ControlScope Connected Community program to include component manufacturers such as companies that make microcontrollers, ZigBee ICs, wireless modules, and driver ICs.
"Although many lighting device manufacturers see the value in wireless controls compatibility, they often encounter two obstacles in incorporating the capabilities into their own devices - RF design and developing firmware to enable standards-based wireless lighting control," said Jason Choong, Daintree's chief solution architect and vice president of product management. "With this announcement, we remove those two obstacles."
"Our actions today will help members of the driver and ballast community to speed product development, ensure interoperability, benefit from best practices we've learned over our nine year history, and leverage relationships with industry leaders," said Daintree CEO Danny Yu.
The first two semiconductor companies to join the ControlScope partner program are Silicon Labs and California Eastern Labs (CEL). The component makers are referred to as ControlScope Connected Enabler members.Silicon Labs is a mixed-signal IC manufacturer that offers products such as microcontrollers with integrated ZigBee network support that could host the Daintree firmware. Greg Fyke, director of marketing for wireless embedded systems at Silicon Labs, said, "By integrating ZigBee radios into drivers, ballasts, and other products, control systems with fully integrated digital controls can be brought together more cost-effectively and substantially reduce installation and commissioning time."
CEL makes wireless modules and ICs, and the modules fully integrate the complex RF circuitry and antenna. "As an industry leading proponent of open standards and interoperability, CEL is pleased to work with Daintree to help promote and deliver open standards in the device and controls arena," said Tom Benson, vice president of embedded systems at CEL.
Daintree Networks has been focused from its inception on open network standards and its products comply with ZigBee standards up through the application layer such as in the ZigBee Building Automation and ZigBee Home Automation standards. "Open standards drive down costs and development time for vendors as well as improve product selection and reliability at lower prices for end users," said Daintree's Yu.
The new firmware uses the ZigBee messaging standard and ensures that devices that integrate the firmware can meet ZigBee standards. The firmware can be downloaded and is provided with an open-source license. For now, the firmware only operates with the Silicon Labs EM357 microcontroller and ZigBee IC, although that will likely change going forward assuming additional IC makers join the new program.