10 groundbreaking smart home gadgets from Taiwan companies

10 groundbreaking smart home gadgets from Taiwan companies
Computex is one of the world’s largest ICT trade events. At the tradeshow this year, smart home and IoT are two of main themes, driving innovations showcased around the exhibition venue. We see comprehensive offerings, including robots, new SoCs and home kits from Apacer, ASUSTeK, ECS, MiTAC, NextDrive, Realtek, and more.

Apacer

ApacerCloud device is a combo of a personal cloud storage and smart gateway, providing personal cloud storage space and monitoring smart home devices. Launched in January 2016, the company’s product is shopped to telcos and retailers in the U.S., Europe or Asia Pacific regions. Its personal cloud storage provides optional Dropbox storage. Plugging a ZigBee wireless dongle, users can remotely control their smart home devices like ZigBee door/window sensors, smart plugs and Wi-Fi cameras, and create rules.
 

ASUSTeK

Robotic technology has gained momentum in recent years. ASUSTeK introduced a home robot called Zenbo, providing assistance, entertainment, and companionship to families. The smart companion can move independently and understand spoken commands. Zenbo can be used as a homecare assistant like helping senior family members safeguard their health and well-being. Zenbo provides spoken reminders of important information, such as doctor’s appointments, medication and exercise schedules, and also monitors the home for emergency situations — such as falls. The robot will notify specified family members on their smartphones if any emergency. When they receive an emergency notification, family members can remotely control Zenbo to move nearby and use Zenbo’s built-in camera to visually check on their loved one.

Zenbo is also a fun and educational playmate for kids. With a high-quality, built-in stereo sound system, Zenbo can play children’s favorite songs and even dance along to the music, or tell stories from a built-in library of stories. Zenbo is also a hands-free household helper that can connect to and control many smart home and traditional devices, including lights, TVs, air conditioners, and more, or help out in the kitchen. When homeowners are away, Zenbo provides peace of mind by acting as a remote-controlled home security camera that is accessible via an intuitive smartphone app.

Homeowners can even use Zenbo’s built-in screen to view visitors at the door and then unlock it with a simple voice command. He can also help out in the kitchen, reading recipes out loud and functioning as a voice-controlled timer, so home chefs can stay focused on cooking.


BriLong

Brainchild Electronic provides a BLE smart lock that enables users to unlock their doors via smartphones. Its unique LockSens technology could automatically unlock the door based on physical proximity. The system allows users to create a virtual E-keys and authorized access for visitors. The smart lock can work with Brainchild Wi-Fi Video Doorbell.

The cloud-based video doorbell allows the homeowners to communicate with visitors via a smartphone. Besides, the doorbell will trigger an automatic video recording when detecting the presence of any person at the door. The Wi-Fi doorbell features IP65 waterproof, FHD 1080P video resolution, peer-to-peer surveillance video live streams, and can upload the footages to the Google Drive.
 

ECS

ECS demoed a series of IoT gateways, including a smart home gateway GWS-QX2 for the DIY and retail market, and GWS-BTI for energy management. GWS-QX2 is a compact gateway that supports Ethernet, Wi-Fi, 3G, ZigBee, RS-232 and RS-485. Its smart home system supports remote monitoring, scheduling and customized rule setting. In addition, the company showcased an in-home display and door phones for system integrators.

Its mother company Tatung displayed Energy Monitoring Panel solution that is a plug-and-play solution which collects the power usages and status of heavy load equipment or mission critical devices. It provides auto-provisioning and gathers data efficiency. The panel can connect with local servers or clouds for energy management and predictive maintenance. The panel can work with IP cameras and multi-sensors to detect VOC, temperature and humidity for environmental monitoring. The sensors operate on Sub-GHz frequency (433/868/915 MHZ) with operating range up to 300 meters.
 

Edimax

Edimax showcased a comprehensive home security and monitoring devices—gateway, IP camera, smart plug switch, indoor portable camera, door cam, door/window sensor, temperature/humidity sensor and PIR sensor. The company provides easy-to-install door cameras—Garage Cam IC-5160GC, Peephole Cam IC-6220DC and Door Hook Cam IC-6230DC. Garage Cam IC-5160GC features easy DIY installation and 180-degree panoramic view. IC-6220DC can fit any door thickness. Users just take out the existing peephole view, install the outdoor unit through the peephole, and attach the indoor unit on the other side. Users can just hook the screwless DIY IC-6230DC over the door for installation.

Edimax also provides portable pet cam and cube pet cam. The Cube Pet Cam IC-8220PC features 180-degree wide-angle view and Full HD 1080p video, and two-way audio for users to communicate with their pets. The Portable Pet Cam IC-8210PC is wearable on the pet’s collar, supporting time-lapse video, Full HD 1080p video@30fps or 720p@60fps, and optional GPS and GPRS.

The company also works with the chip vendor Realtek to develop AirBox—a PM2.5 and temperature / humidity sensors for the smart city project. The AirBox can detect air quality, and provides real-time report and big data & analysis. The users will get push notifications when the air quality reaches dangerous level.
 

MiTAC

MiTAC International showcased IP cameras, personal cloud gateway, door/window sensor and wireless hub, to be launched in H2 2016. The company conducts OEM/ODM business, and ships products under its own brand, available with standalone model or starter kit. The company targets telcos, retailers and distributors in the U.S. and Europe.

Its IP Camera and PT Camera feature Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n connectivity, 720P resolution, H.264 compression, two-way audio, and supports 32GB microSD card. The IP Camera features 10 IR LEDs for night vision; the PT Camera features 11 IR LEDs for night vision, and 330-degree horizontal viewing angle, and 90-degree vertical viewing angle. The cameras can be installed on the wall or placed on the tabletop. Its motion sensor and door/window sensor work on RF2.4GHz frequency, powered by AAA batteries. As for the personal cloud gateway, the device supports RJ45 Ethernet connectivity, built-in hard drive and USB 2.0 port. The gateway can connect to its IP cameras for video storage.
 

NextDrive

NextDrive showcased its award-winning NextDrive IoT suite, including gateway, wireless sensors and IP camera, to be available on the market by the end of June. NextDrive Cube is a compact tiny home gateway, being able to connect to smart meters, sensors and I/O devices. The gateway supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and BLE connectivity, and can connect up to 7 devices. The company partnered with ROHM to implement Wi-Sun protocol in the NextDrive Cube. Hence, the hub can connect with smart meters and sensors to create energy management solutions.

The wide-angle webcam features night vision and HD 720P video recording for 24-hour security monitoring. The system supports video timeline and bookmarking, making it easy to browse a series of events. When the camera detects an event, it will stream the real-time video feeds. With built-in accelerator, the low-profile Motion Pixi can be attached to any object or surface, connecting to the gateway via BLE protocol. Thermo Pixi can sense temperature and humidity changes and send notifications to the user’s smartphone.
 

Nettec

Nettec International showcased an air purifier and baby temperature smart tracker for healthcare and baby monitoring. The Babybear Body Temperature Smart Tracker monitors temperature of babies and send alerts to parents via a mobile app when babies have a fever. The wearable device supports BLE wireless protocol, and is easy to wear with buckle-up design. In addition, the gadget features European and American medical-grade environmental materials which are hypoallergenic, non-toxic and soft, including silicon, PC and stainless steel.

The Air One anti-allergen air purifier can destroy allergens, and features energy saving and silent design. The recent studies have suggested that noise levels over 45dB can cause sleep disturbance. The Air One air purifier has a sleep mode with noise level at 20dB only. The energy-saving device consumes power of only 24W. Unlike traditional air purifiers which only use blast motors to filter made of photocatalytic for anti-bacteria; the second layer is made of silver ion for sterilization and purification; the third layer is made of activated carbon as deodorant.
 

Realtek

Realtek provides SoCs supporting Apple HomeKit and Google Weave. Its SoCs can be used for Wi-Fi light bulb, IP camera, gateway, interactive toys, and smart home appliances, such as smart blender, bottle, rice cooker, and cleaning robot.

The company is developing uWeave (pronounced “micro weave”), an implementation of the Weave protocol for use on microcontroller based devices, based on RTOS.

The company works with ASUSTek to develop a Linux-based Weave-capable Gateway, which supports ZigBee, Z-Wave and BLE protocols.

The company provides wireless IoT solutions, including WiFi MPU, MCU and adapter. The company’s ecosystem partners include Apple, Acer, Google, Alibaba, JD, Haier, Tencent, Ayla, Huawei, and IBM.

Realtek’s RTL8762A is an ultra-low-power Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) SoC, which supports the latest Bluetooth LE 4.2 BQB (Bluetooth Qualification Body) certification, ultra-low power consumption and standby current, 256KByte embedded Flash and Over-The-Air (OTA) update, 80KByte data RAM for flexible APP development, and embedded IR transceiver for home appliance controlled by Bluetooth. The RTL8762A provides voice ADC for IoT devices with voice value-added features.
 

ROHM

ROHM Semiconductor showcased SoCs and modules based on Wi-SUN (Wireless Smart Utility Network), EnOcean and PLC communication technologies. Wi-SUN operates on Sub-GHz frequency with operating range up to 1 kilometers. Wi-SUN provides low-power wireless communications between smart meters and HEMS controllers inside houses, based on secure IPv6 communications over an IEEE 802.15.4gTM-based wireless mesh network. The protocol is said to consume only 1/4 power of Wi-Fi.

ROHM has full in-house integrated manufacturing capability from IC design, wafer fabrication to package process. The company, the Promoter member of Wi-SUN Alliance, provides golden samples which are the world’s smallest and can support up to 16 devices. The company provides SMD module BP35C0 and dongle BP35C2, can be used for IoT gateways. Besides, it provides EnOcean communication modules, including temperature sensor, humidity sensor, magnetic contact, energy harvesting and programmable transceiver modules. The components can be applied for HEMS, BEMS, lighting control, HVAC, security products or battery-less solutions.
 
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