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PassivSystems taps Ember to ZigBee-enable energy-saving smart home system

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Cambridge, UK, NOVEMBER 17, 2010  

PassivSystems has teamed with Ember to develop a ZigBee-based home energy management system that can help homeowners cut their energy use by up to 25 percent.

England-based PassivSystems has integrated Ember’s ZigBee chips and ZigBee PRO networking protocol software into its PassivEnergy home energy management product, giving users unprecedented control over their household’s heating and hot water.

PassivEnergy differentiates itself from competitive products by its ability to manage homeowners’ energy usage based on the way they live. Once it learns a homeowner’s living environment preferences, the system regulates automatically, turning up and down the heat and hot water based on occupancy. It also integrates with other alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, so that a homeowner can manage and monitor energy generated from renewables as well as from their regular supplier. The system is controlled using the PassivController, a wall-mounted or free-standing touch screen that provides easy wireless management of heating and hot water, as well as insight into how other energy sources are performing.

An Ember-enabled PassivHub provides the central intelligence for the system and coordinates wireless communication with all of the sensors, switches, actuators and displays in the home, as well as providing an Internet broadband gateway for remote communications away from the home.

“Ember packs the highest performance and unmatched flexibility in their ZigBee networking systems, allowing us to embed very sophisticated intelligence into the PassivEnergy product family,” said Fraser Harding, development director, PassivSystems. “Ember’s unique platform based approach combined with industry leading ZigBee software also provides features critical for energy management applications, such as over-the-air updates, so our products will always be standard compliant and can evolve to support advanced functionality.”

PassivSystems chose Ember’s EM200 Series chips – EM250 system-on-chip (SoC) and EM260 network co-processor (NCP) – with the EmberZNet PRO ZigBee software stack to enable low-power, wireless connectivity in its products running the ZigBee Home Automation Profile. “A strong ecosystem of interoperating devices is very important for us at PassivSystems,” Harding added. “We interoperate with products from a number of different ZigBee device vendors and working with Ember helped us ensure that interoperability.”

Ember’s ZigBee networking systems – chips, ZigBee protocol software and tools – simplify the complexity of integrating embedded software, networking and RF for developing low-power, wireless products in connected home, smart energy, and other remote monitoring and control applications.

“PassivSystems realizes it’s not enough for energy management products to simply provide information on home energy usage; they have to help the homeowner intelligently manage it,” said Bert Lutje Berenbroek, Ember’s vice president of sales for EMEA. “While the PassivEnergy product family packs a lot of intelligence, the company took full advantage of Ember’s support of ZigBee’s Home Automation Profile and mesh networking capabilities to make the system simple to install and use.”

PlantPROCORE About PassivSystems
PassivSystems Ltd was established in 2008 and aims to be the leading provider of Home Energy Management Systems. Bringing together specialists from two normally separate sectors, energy and telecoms, the PassivEnergy Home Energy Management System has been designed to help people reduce wasted energy, increase comfort and save money. The system has been designed to be simple to install and easy to use.

PassivSystems has been highly commended and rewarded by industry and media alike in 2010. In January it was one of ten companies chosen by UK Trade & Investment to be part of an exhibition of Britain’s best new technologies at this year’s CES, where PassivEnergy was cited as one of the top five gadgets at the whole show. February saw a further trip to the US when PassivSystems was chosen from more than 140 companies to participate in the UKTI and Technology Strategy Board Clean and Cool Trade Mission to San Francisco.

Further recognition has followed, with PassivSystems was recognised as one of Europe’s leading privately owned companies in the Red Herring 100 Europe 2010 and as both a 2010 Global Cleantech 100 and Tech Media Invest 100 company. These were awarded for PassivSystems status as one of the world’s most promising clean tech companies and its innovation and creativity respectively.

ZigBee: Control your world
ZigBee is the global wireless language connecting dramatically different devices to work together and enhance everyday life. The ZigBee Alliance is a non-profit association of more than 340 members driving development of ZigBee wireless technology. The Alliance promotes world-wide adoption of ZigBee as the leading wirelessly networked, sensing and control standard for use in consumer electronic, energy, home, commercial and industrial areas. For more information, visit: www.ZigBee.org.

About Ember
Ember Corporation (www.ember.com) develops wireless mesh networking technology – chips, software and tools - for Smart Energy, connected homes, and many other monitoring and control applications enabling greener living and work environments. The Boston-based company is a promoter of the ZigBee Alliance with an IC design center in Cambridge, England, an office in Hong Kong and sales channels and distributors worldwide.


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