Energy benefits stack up

Atmel’s BitCloud ZigBee PRO stack has been awarded ZigBee Smart Energy product certification, providing a secure solution for wireless home area networks (HANs) to connect devices such as meters, thermostats and smart appliances. ZigBee Smart Energy enables utility companies and individual homeowners to manage energy usage, control residential peak demand and reduce overall environmental impact.

BitCloud SE is a ready-to-use framework for rapid development and certification of ZigBee Smart Energy devices. It provides the underlying security and protocol stacks to ensure full interoperability and seamless communication across the HAN and comes with a complete reference implementation for ZigBee Smart Energy device types.

‘The certification of Atmel’s BitCloud Smart Energy further expands options for ZigBee Smart Energy product developers,’ said Benno Ritter, Vice President of Marketing for the ZigBee Alliance. ‘BitCloud Smart Energy joins a growing list of ZigBee Smart Energy solutions specifically focused on creating the Smart Grid through home area networks.’

‘BitCloud SE has been certified by National Technical Systems (NTS) using our high performance, low power AT86RF231 RF-transceiver, in combination with our newest generation of ATxmega256A3 8-bit microcontrollers,’ said Magnus Pedersen, Marketing Director for MCU Wireless Solutions, Atmel Corporation. ‘Devices in the AVR XMEGA(TM) microcontroller family is ideal to run low-power wireless designs, simultaneous with ZigBee stack and profiles for end-user applications.’

‘NTS is pleased to see manufacturers, such as Atmel, use NTS’s Smart Energy Test Harness, allowing them to quickly and easily obtain a certification for their ZigBee Smart Energy products,’ said Osman Sakr, Chief Technology Officer of NTS. ‘We are looking forward to helping Atmel and other manufacturers bring their products to market to assist in the national development of a smart grid.’

BitCloud SE applications can be deployed on a standalone microcontroller or on a host microcontroller connected to a dedicated ZigBee Smart Energy co-processor. Standalone microcontroller solution address the need for smaller footprint, low-power devices, such as water meters and thermostats, while the ZigBee co-processor option is targeted at larger devices, including energy service portals, and offers unlimited flexibility in the designer’s choice of host microcontroller. BitCloud SE also comes with a serial protocol and communications library to simplify the development of ZigBee Smart Energy applications on the host.