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Why Smart Appliances?
People are increasingly aware of their work-life balance and place a high value on their time. Instead of mundane household chores, we prefer spending time with family or doing things that we enjoy. Beyond simply improving our experiences at home, smart appliances are also chosen for reasons including helping the environment, conserving energy, and saving money.
“Smart appliances are the third-highest consumer of power in the home after HVAC and water heating.” -- GreenLogic
What are Smart Appliances?
Any appliance can become smart with wireless connectivity and sensors that allow remote control or autonomous operation through user input, scheduling, or artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML). Sensors combined with wireless connectivity can provide the end-user with information about the appliance’s usage, temperature, service life, maintenance schedules, or operation anomalies.
What Do Smart Appliances Do?
Smart appliances enable users to connect, control, and monitor their appliances allowing them to save time, energy, and money. For example, they can schedule run times to fit personal schedules, take advantage of cheaper off-peak energy, or maximize solar power utilization to save time, money, and the environment. Additionally, they can remotely monitor appliances to ensure that they are turned off for safety, even after leaving home.
Benefits of Smart Appliances
A smart appliance’s benefits vary depending on its primary purpose and functionality. Here’s a rundown of opportunities every device manufacturer should consider:
- Enhance user experience and brand loyalty beyond competitors through smart capabilities, tracking usage data, and more
- Environmental and energy awareness – save water or energy
- Enhance the end-users work-life balance – automate chores
- Deliver peace of mind through safety – failure prediction and maintenance reminders
Silicon Labs Solutions for Smart Appliances
Silicon Labs is the leader in wireless connectivity solutions, allowing you to equip your smart appliances with the best RF performance and power efficiency. When it comes to protecting your intellectual property from counterfeiting and cyber threats, our Secure Vault™ offers the most advanced IoT security measures. We also offer a complete protocol package, including dynamic multiprotocol capabilities for easy commissioning. In addition, our Matter solution and seamless SDK integration with the top smart home ecosystems allow you to launch smart appliances quickly and reach larger user bases through a single Stock Keeping Unit (SKU).
What to Consider when Designing a Smart Wireless Appliance
How to Maximize Wireless Reliability on Appliances?
The home is a demanding environment for wireless appliances due to walls, reflections, interference, and dead spots. Yet a user's first impression of a device is often based on the quality of its connectivity. Silicon Labs’ wireless SoCs and modules are known for their superior RF performance.
- Line-powered appliances - BG21 Bluetooth Low Energy SoCs, deliver up to +20 dBm TX power (without FEM) and exceptionally high RX sensitivity, ensuring your appliances are connected reliably anywhere in the house. For Wi-Fi, WF200 provides you with reliable Wi-Fi 4 NCP/RCP solution on a footprint of 4 x 4 mm.
- Battery-powered appliances - For Bluetooth LE, BG27 is compact, ultra-low-power and high-performance wireless solution. For Wi-Fi, SiWx917 is the lowest-power Wi-Fi 6 solution in the market with SoC, NCP, and RCP modes and Bluetooth LE co-existence for multi-protocol applications.
How to Increase Energy Efficiency on Appliances?
Power efficiency is vital for a better user experience in battery-operated and rechargeable appliances such as electric toothbrushes, razors, and kitchen appliances. When designing the most energy-efficient Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity, BG27 is the optimal choice. It combines the best-in-class ultra-low power wireless radio with a high-performance ARM Cortex®-M33, large memory, DCDC Boost, Coulomb Counter, 16-bit ADC, and more to enhance functionality of your appliances.
How to Improve a Battery Level Tracking on Home Appliances?
How can you as a product designer ensure that your product will not run out of battery during use? The integrated Coulomb Counter on BG27 enables you to implement accurate battery level tracking on your appliances to provide the user with uninterrupted use.
Enhancing a Smart Home Appliance with DCDC Converter
The Silicon Labs BG27 ultra-low-power Bluetooth LE SoC features an integrated DCDC converter providing you with a wide voltage range of 0.8V-1.6V or 1.71V-3.8V. It enables the use of single-cell alkaline and button cells to reduce product size and cost and extends battery use.
How to Add More Intelligence to Battery Appliances?
When your smart appliance needs a higher level of intelligence for usability, functionality, and differentiation, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) capabilities can give you the edge needed. The MG24 multi-protocol SoCs and SiWx917 Wi-Fi 6 SoCs feature a built-in AI/ML hardware accelerator, enabling up to four times faster ML inferencing with 1/6th of the energy consumption. This built-in functionality allows you to pack more intelligence into your battery-powered appliances.
How to Protect Appliances from Cyber Threats?
Security is one of the top concerns for the users of connected home appliances. It’s easy to understand why. The thought of someone entering your home via a connected washing machine or refrigerator is scary. Silicon Labs’ Secure Vault™ is the most advanced IoT security solution globally, enabling you to protect your appliances against the most sophisticated cyber threats and gain the users’ trust.
Preventing Counterfeiting During Contract Manufacturing
According to U.S. Customs, consumer electronics was the fifth most counterfeited product category in 2020 - 11% of the seized shipments contained fake electronic devices. Additionally, contract manufacturing can impose counterfeiting risks. Silicon Labs provides Custom Part Manufacturing Services (CPMS) as the only vendor, delivering you or your contract manufacturer SoCs with customized security features, protecting your IP against counterfeiting during outsourced production.
Smart Appliances Block Diagram
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Additional Products and Services
Silicon Labs offers ML development tools for any level of experience and suited to your specific application.
To stay secure, device makers need an underlying security platform in the hardware, software, network, and cloud.
Custom Part Manufacturing Service allows customization of wireless SoCs, modules, and MCUs at the factory.
LTSSS can reduce software development costs, maintain robust security and up-to-date certifications for 10 years.