A “connected home“is one where multiple “smart” devices are integrated together creating an environment that can be automated and easily controlled. As consumer interest increases, so does the range of technologies. We look at four recent innovations.

Home security radio sensors

Fabless ASIC manufacturer Socionext America has produced radio-wave ranging sensors to deliver highly sensitive, low-power sensor technology. These are suitable for a range of smart home and IoT devices.

The products can detect the location and movement of individuals, assessing the presence and the distance of an object, and the direction. In terms of smart home application, the radar sensors can add a layer of security by assessing the location and movement of people.

Reactive building management

The smart building management company Verdigris has launched adaptive and autonomous building controls which can enable buildings to anticipate and adapt to changing operating conditions autonomously, introducing smart environmental controls.

Adaptive Automation’s machine learning based approach, says the company, makes it both scalable and cost-effective, according to Jonathan Chu, Verdigris’ CTO. He states: “The sheer number of possible operating configurations and nonlinear interdependencies make it difficult to understand and optimize a building with manual analysis and simple engineering formulas. You need a dynamic, machine-assisted approach.”

Amazon develops longer-range equivalent to Wi-Fi wireless protocols for use in smart devices

Amazon has launched a product called Sidewalk, which offer a “middle-ground” wireless technology. This is intended for devices in the space around homes, such as sensors and smart lights. Such devices can benefit from low-cost, low-power, low-bandwidth connections.

Customers will be able to place smart devices anywhere on their property and know they’ll work satisfactorily, even in dead spots where Wi-Fi and Bluetooth don’t reach.

Integrated programmable power management system

Qorvo has developed a highly integrated programmable power management system-in-package designed to reduce energy consumption in smart home appliances and motors. The PAC5556 programmable Power Application Controller (PAC) combines a controller, 600V DC-DC converter and gate drivers in a single 52pin 10x10mm QFN package. This technology reduces the bill of materials by as much as 35 percent and is intended to boost reliability and energy efficiency in brushless motor and permanent synchronous motor control applications.