New generation of self-powered building blocks for the IoT

25th February 2019
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
New generation of self-powered building blocks for the IoT

EnOcean will be presenting technical innovations that further drive the use of energy harvesting sensor solutions for digitalising buildings at ISH 2019 (11th-15th March, Frankfurt am Main). At the EnOcean Alliance partner booth (Hall 10.3 Booth C60), the developer of self-powered wireless technology will exhibit its proven PTM switch module now with an integrated NFC interface. This will enable installers to incorporate self-powered switches into automation systems faster and more easily in the future.

New self-powered, maintenance-free sensor modules for a wide range of building data that fit into classic switch frames based on the PTM modular system are another highlight. Energy harvesting sensors can thus be distributed within the building as flexibly as wireless switches.

In keeping with advancing digitalisation, due to the IoT, EnOcean is also continuously further developing its self-powered wireless technology. At ISH, the company will present the latest developments in its energy harvesting Dolphin modules, optimised for many applications within the IoT:

Commissioning via NFC
With the PTM 210 switch module, EnOcean has established an industry standard and the heart of every self-powered switch. The PTM fits into all common switch frames, thanks to standardised interfaces and a unified form factor. Inside, it combines the electromechanical ECO 200 energy converter with an efficient wireless module for optimum energy yield each time the pushbutton is pressed, while also maximising the transmission power.

At ISH, EnOcean will exhibit the prototype of just such a PTM switch module for the EnOcean wireless standard at 868MHz, which meets the latest safety standards of the EnOcean Alliance and also integrates a NFC (Near Field Communication) interface.

This means that self-powered switches can be commissioned even faster and more easily in the future with the aid of NFC readers as well as NFC-enabled smartphones or tablets. The NFC switch module has the same form factor as all other PTM switch modules from EnOcean and thus fits into all switch frames.

Sensor module with standard form factor
As another highlight at the trade show, EnOcean will present first samples of a new generation of solar-powered, maintenance-free sensor modules. The special feature of these sensor modules is that they have the same form factor as the PTM switch module, including the standardised mounting interfaces.

As a result, EnOcean has transferred the PTM success factor to sensors, which can therefore be easily integrated into different switch frames, so that manufacturers only have to develop front plates adapted to the particular frame design.

In typical lighting situations in offices and smart homes, the sensors obtain all the energy they need from the integrated solar cell and remain active for up to four days even without a new supply of power, thanks to an energy store. The sensors can be used in many different ways for typical building automation tasks, for example temperature and moisture detection or status messages from doors and windows.

They can also supply information on the current internal energy level as well as details about the light available to the solar cell. A module variant with an integrated acceleration sensor is under development for innovative IoT applications. It can incorporate almost unlimited digital assets into the Internet of Things by acting as an 'activity tracker'.

"Rapid developments in the IoT both increase and accelerate the demand for energy harvesting sensor solutions for extensive data acquisition. Manufacturers can't always develop their own self-powered sensors as fast as required by the market," said Matthias Kassner, Vice President Product Marketing at EnOcean.

"With our standardised sensor modules, we make it easier for them to create an energy harvesting product and in doing so facilitate even more diverse and flexible use of maintenance-free sensors in the IoT."

The new family of solar modules will support both the EnOcean wireless standard and Bluetooth and will also have an NFC interface for easy commissioning.

Reliable data for the IoT
EnOcean's energy harvesting wireless technology uses motion, light and temperature differences from the immediate surroundings to power wireless switches and sensors.

As a result, they are both self-powered and maintenance-free and can be placed flexibly even in inaccessible locations. Depending on the application, the products use the EnOcean (ISO/IEC 14543-3-1X), Zigbee or Bluetooth international standards for wireless communication. Networked with IoT platforms from companies such as Microsoft, T-Systems and IBM, the sensors supply real time data for digitalising buildings and building services.

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