New Bluetooth Mesh platform for building automation via u-blox & Douglas Lighting partnership

27 January 2022

BLE sensor render ceiling mount
BLE sensor render ceiling mount

Douglas Lighting to design new mesh platform around the NINA-B406 Bluetooth low energy (BLE) module for its superior RF performance, small form factor & competitive price.

Positioning & wireless communication technologies expert, u-blox has been selected as a partner by Universal Douglas Lighting Americas, a manufacturer of scalable lighting solutions, for the development of a new open standard Bluetooth Mesh platform. The resulting SIGMesh platform will be based on the u-blox NINA-B406 Bluetooth low energy module and will serve building automation use cases, including smart lighting, access control and energy management.

Bluetooth Mesh networks: Ideal for smart lighting & building automation
According to market research by the Bluetooth SIG (the not-for-profit Bluetooth Special Interest Group is the standards organisation that overseas the development of Bluetooth standards and licensing of technologies and trademarks to manufacturers), smart lighting system revenue is expected to grow from around US$ 4.4 billion in 2020 to over US$ 19 billion in 2029. In addition to connected light fixtures, smart lighting systems comprise switches, relays and sensors that communicate with each other using wires or wirelessly.

Highly energy efficient, Bluetooth Mesh technology allows for battery-powered wireless sensor and control devices with 10-year battery life. Wireless components reduce the costs of deploying smart lighting systems in new buildings, retrofitting existing ones, and changing the location and behaviour of operational nodes.

Bluetooth Mesh technology further scales up Bluetooth coverage to the entire building by relaying messages from node to node to their destination. This allows data packets to take the most effective path available to them, for instance, avoiding nodes that are down and directing signals around walls rather than through them, increasing overall network resiliency.

These attributes have made Bluetooth Mesh an obvious enabler of smart lighting networks. Once in place, the nodes offer a wireless communication backbone for any number of building automation applications to transmit sensed data, device status information and commands.

Towards a Bluetooth SIG-compliant mesh platform
Douglas Lighting’s new open standard, Bluetooth SIG-compliant SIGMesh building automation platform ensures interoperability with a vast ecosystem of third-party devices. To meet technical requirements in terms of low power demand, moderate range and an integrated antenna with a uniform radiation pattern, Douglas Lighting chose to build their solution around the NINA-B406 Bluetooth low energy module.

We are excited that Douglas Lighting has chosen to work with u-blox to further extend its portfolio of wireless smart lighting products,” says Stefan Berggren, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Product Strategy Short Range Radio at u-blox. “It also underscores the value that standardised wireless communication technologies such as Bluetooth bring to smart lighting use cases.

Douglas Lighting Controls is committed to being at the forefront of Bluetooth technology. By working with u-blox, one of the leading module manufacturers, we believe that the Bluetooth Mesh 5.0 standard allows us to bring hardware to the market that meets the user’s need and allows for interoperability opportunities. The interoperability will offer the customers more choices and freedom when working with Douglas Lighting Controls,” says John Cavacuiti, VP of Engineering at Douglas Lighting.

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