When the smartphone era began and a growing number of wireless technologies entered the market, smart lighting became much easier to access. However, early market players offered expensive, cumbersome hubs and starter kits. Yeelight saw an opportunity to refine the underlying technology, improve smart interaction, and lessen a major barrier to entry—cost.
Yeelight’s first device leveraged Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) to avoid hardware requirements. In the early stages, most designers were using Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, and Zigbee for their underlying communication protocols. Yeelight implemented logic to ensure that the system was easy to set up, understand, and control.
In the following years, the team saw a growing need for remote access, so the next generation of products was Wi-Fi-based. This worked for a while, but as the number of nodes—connected devices in the home—grew, Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi became less attractive solutions. It’s hard to keep the nodes in sync and maintain a stable connection for each device. Today, Yeelight uses Bluetooth mesh technology to design for many nodes.
To find a do-it-all chip that offers performance, reliability, and security while supporting nuanced development needs in the smart lighting space.
Yeelight required a networking solution capable of managing a large number of nodes to accommodate expanding application needs for lighting customers..
Designing Smart Lighting Devices for Reliability with Multiple Nodes
When designing Yeelight Pro, one of their most recent lighting series, the team needed to balance many competing requirements. Their industrial design focus presented additional engineering challenges in terms of materials, size, and cost.
Yeelight needed a chip that was inexpensive, but well suited for the application area. In BG21, the team found the RF performance, reliability, and security they were looking for in one small package. They also found that the chip stood up to high temperatures—an important characteristic for lighting design.
Their checklist also included low power consumption for portable battery powered devices, a stable Bluetooth SIG-certified mesh stack, a well-designed API, and strong documentation.
Developing for Matter
Yeelight also uses BG21 for a Bluetooth LE gateway bridge that connects smart lighting devices to the cloud. Currently, they’re supporting Matter through over-the-air (OTA) software upgrades that will enable compatibility via bridging. Matter is designed to support Wi-Fi and Thread for end devices, but for the sake of their existing users, Yeelight wants to continue supporting older devices that don’t use those protocols.
Yeelight is currently evaluating Silicon Labs’ MG24 and expects to launch a new product featuring MG24 in 2023. With many familiarities in terms of performance and usability, it was a natural choice for upgrading to Matter with ease.
What’s Next for Yeelight?
As the number of nodes in homes and offices continues to grow, Yeelight wants to continue providing smart lighting solutions that are stable and low latency. In the meantime, they’re prioritizing easy, do-it-yourself set up and Matter connectivity to provide the best possible user experience. Their newest series features innovative products for gaming and entertainment.