October 2006
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ZigBee slashes hotel energy costs by up to 40 percent

WiSuite™ wireless environmental automation system eliminates power use in vacant rooms

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BOSTON, Oct. 17, 2006 – A new ZigBee wireless environmental automation system is enabling hotels and other facilities to eliminate energy waste and slash energy costs up to 40 percent.

Invented by Riga Development, the new WiSuite™ Environmental Management System uses Ember’s ZigBee wireless networking technology to let property owners automate and control the energy efficiency of every room, without compromising the comfort of occupants. ZigBee is a global wireless industry standard designed for remote monitoring, control and sensor networks.

WiSuite yields huge savings by dramatically reducing wasteful electric and fuel consumption of HVAC systems. And since it’s wireless, WiSuite can be retrofitted easily and affordably into existing buildings.

WiSuite has proven its value to the Westmont Hospitality Group, one of the world’s largest privately held hospitality organizations. Westmont is saving energy with WiSuite in several of its Comfort Inn and Holiday Inn properties in the Toronto area, and is evaluating a nationwide roll out to its other properties. When complete, Westmont expects to save more than $2.2 million in energy costs per year. This equates to 14,678 megawatt hours of electricity — enough energy to power 2,332 households yearly — and will eliminate 12,500 metric tons of coal-generated carbon dioxide emissions, making a significant, positive environmental impact.

“Westmont chose the WiSuite solution from Riga Development for its innovative approach to energy management,” said Steve Montague, director of information technology for the Westmont Hospitality Group. “With features designed specifically for the hospitality industry and a wireless approach to communications, it was the hands down winner when compared to the competition.”

How it Works
The ZigBee-based WiSuite system automatically self-configures into a wireless mesh network of “WiStat” digital thermostats, appliances and receivers installed throughout a building. The WiStats and other appliance controls monitor the rooms’ environment, providing a comfortable experience for occupants from the moment they check-in, while reducing energy use in unoccupied rooms, and alerting staff to potential problems.

A WiSuite Control Center, securely accessible from any Web browser, lets facility managers and front desk hotel staff wirelessly control the devices, monitor their status, and set up custom schedules. To completely automate energy savings, WiSuite easily connects to a hotel’s existing reservation system through the WiSuite Reservations Bridge, enabling it to automatically respond to check-in and check-out dates and times.

CatNet Systems WiSuite devices can run for years on inexpensive AA batteries, communicating with receivers integrated into existing appliances. This eliminates the need for costly, disruptive rewiring in even the most challenging retrofit installations. Because it uses ZigBee, the system is scalable to tens of thousands of devices. Users can monitor and control every room in their operation from the WiSuite Control Center, whether they have just a few dozen units, a 5,000 room complex, or a global chain of hotels.

“With our leasing plan, the energy savings WiSuite provides typically exceeds the cost of the lease payments themselves,” said Rick Bojahra, president of Riga. “That means customers can start earning a positive cash flow from their investment on day one.”

What’s Inside
WiSuite’s wireless network intelligence is enabled by Ember’s EM250 ZigBee system-on-a-chip and EmberZNet™, Ember’s ZigBee-compliant networking software. The EM250 integrates a programmable microprocessor, RF radio, network protocol stack and memory into a tiny, single-chip solution smaller than a shirt button.

“The EM250 ZigBee system from Ember offered us dramatic reductions in component size, cost and power consumption, while enabling us to eliminate the use of a secondary microcontroller,” said Bojahra. “We went with Ember because it is clearly leading the ZigBee market place. The technology works as promised. And Ember’s development environment far exceeded every other vendor’s in ease of use, as did Ember’s service and support.”

“Riga’s WiSuite is a great example of the kind of difference that ZigBee can make to the energy savings, safety and comfort in buildings and homes,” said Robert LeFort, CEO of Ember.

Pricing and Availability
The WiSuite Environmental Management System is available today with pricing starting at $350.00 per room.

WiSuite will soon enable property owners to control more than just their HVAC systems. In the next 60-90 days Riga will expand the WiSuite family of products with components capable of controlling power to other in-room appliances such as televisions, minibars and lighting, further reducing energy waste. For more information, visit http://www.wisuite.com.

ZigBee: Wireless Control That Simply Works
The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked monitoring and control products based on an open global standard. The ZigBee Alliance is a rapidly growing, non-profit industry consortium of leading semiconductor manufacturers, technology providers, OEMs, and end-users worldwide. Membership is open to all. Additional information can be found at www.zigbee.org

About Riga Development
Riga Development is a Toronto-based systems integration and information technology solutions provider. The company’s business includes wireless device engineering, process engineering, software development, installation support, acceptance testing, production implementation, and ongoing support. Riga’s team of specialists works closely with customers to deliver solutions that are open, intuitive, and integrate seamlessly with their business process.

About Ember Corporation
Ember enables communication among embedded microcontrollers with standards-based wireless mesh networking semiconductors and software. Ember helps its customers to automate home appliances, lower energy consumption in buildings, keep borders and infrastructure secure, and control industrial processes, just to name four of the many diverse applications being developed by Ember’s more than 100 customers. Spun out of MIT in 2001, Ember is headquartered in Boston and has its radio development center in Cambridge, England and distributors worldwide. Ember is a lead member of the ZigBee Alliance, and its platform is the National Technical Systems’ (NTS) “Golden Suite” for 802.15.4/ZigBee interoperability testing. For more information, please visit www.ember.com.
 

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