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Zebra Technologies intros two industrial RFID printers ••• Thyngs, Cellotape Smart Products partner on NFC-enabled marketing ••• Mist announces channel program for wireless managed service providers ••• Tottenham Hotspur Football Club teams up with HP Enterprise on new stadium using IoT technology ••• Silicon Labs unveils software, hardware supporting new Bluetooth mesh specification ••• SURE Universal offers software-defined IoT platform based on OCF standard.
By Rich Handley

Silicon Labs Unveils Software, Hardware Supporting New Bluetooth Mesh Specification

Silicon Labs has introduced a suite of software and hardware that supports the new Bluetooth mesh specification, to help developers simplify the design of mesh-networked devices for the Internet of Things and get to market faster. The solution includes development tools, a software stack and mobile apps supporting Silicon Labs' wireless system-on-chip (SoC) devices and certified modules. The combination of Silicon Labs' network-analysis tools and Bluetooth mesh stack for smartphones enables IoT developers to cut time to market by up to six months, the company reports, when compared to existing wireless development tools and techniques.

Bluetooth mesh devices are suitable for smart-home, lighting, beaconing and asset-tracking applications. A mesh network enables devices, such as connected lights, to be deployed at greater distances from a hub or gateway. Communication range increases as each light is deployed, the company reports, allowing a single gateway to cover an area larger than one simply covered by a star network topology. In retail marketing and asset-tracking applications, Bluetooth mesh technology simplifies the deployment and management of beacons.

"Bluetooth is the next frontier in mesh networking, and Silicon Labs' new Bluetooth mesh software and tools keep us at the forefront of this rapidly emerging 'many-to-many' network topology," said Richard Baxter, Mesh Systems' president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "From easy-to-use development kits to mobile applications that help us connect devices seamlessly, we rely on Silicon Labs' deep expertise in mesh technology to give us the hardware and software resources we need to increase productivity and speed development time so our customers can better compete in today's IoT race."

Silicon Labs' new Bluetooth mesh solution includes a suite of development tools and wireless devices for use with the Internet of Things. According to the company, designers can:

• Accelerate time to market—users can choose from a variety of certified wireless modules and SoCs, including the BGM11S Bluetooth system-in-package (SiP) module and the EFR32BG13 Blue Gecko SoCs. Modules with integrated antennas provide a means to design Bluetooth mesh-enabled products. Blue Gecko SoCs offer large memory options to support over-the-air (OTA) updates, as well as such features as hardware security acceleration, capacitive sensing, low-power sensor interfaces and enhanced RF performance.

• Simplify development—Silicon Labs' mobile application for smartphones allows designers to verify the operation of Bluetooth mesh-based implementations with a commercially supported Bluetooth mesh library and source code to streamline design.

• Be more productive—companies can optimize mesh-networking device designs with Silicon Labs' Simplicity Studio software tools, including network-analysis and packet-trace technology, energy profiling and visual application configuration. Software compatibility across Silicon Labs' portfolio of wireless SoCs and modules enables software reuse and reduced development time and cost, the firm reports.

"We expect to see a wave of new devices hit the market quickly by leveraging ubiquitous Bluetooth connectivity to create hub-less mesh networks that extend the range and reliability of Bluetooth systems," said Daniel Cooley, Silicon Labs' senior VP and general manager of IoT products, in a prepared statement. "No matter which mesh technology developers choose to power their next IoT designs, we offer a complete portfolio of silicon, software and solutions that gives device makers everything they need to accelerate time to market while designing secure, robust mesh networks."

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