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Bluetooth mesh gains traction in China’s smart home market

Bluetooth mesh gains traction in China’s smart home market
Thanks to its low-cost, low-power nature, Bluetooth mesh networks have grown in presence in the smart home space, and this phenomenon is also happening in China, as companies like Alibaba, Xiaomi and Tuya have all announced plans to use the protocol more.
One of the latest industry developments is that IoT chip solution provider Silicon Labs is working with Tuya Smart and Xiaomi to further their Bluetooth mesh network adoption.
Xiaomi, which some refer to as “Apple of the East” despite its low product prices, unveiled a series of smart lighting products that utilize Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth mesh networking solution at CES 2019.
The new Xiaomi smart home products use Silicon Labs’ Wireless Gecko system-on-chip (SoC) devices running the Bluetooth mesh protocol stack.
The products include LED light bulbs, candle bulbs, downlights and spotlights, which can be controlled via voice commands using the XiaoAi smart alarm clock.
Commenting on the partnership, Silicon Labs expressed confidence in the potential of mesh network adoption in China. “We are seeing increasing deployment of Bluetooth mesh in China’s fast-growing smart home market, and Xiaomi is poised to ship mesh-enabled smart home products at scale,” said Matt Johnson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs.

Tuya uses Bluetooth and Zigbee mesh

Tuya, which is known for offering a smart home platform for manufacturers, has teamed up with Silicon Labs to adopt its “mesh networking silicon and software,” Tuya says, adding that the solution will help manufacturers reduce cost and complexity associated with product design, while accelerating time to market.
The collaboration between Silicon Labs and Tuya will focus on Bluetooth and Zigbee, allowing manufacturers to create products “that easily connect to multi-node mesh networks deployed in smart homes,” says Tuya.
Silicon Labs is known for its Wireless Gecko platform, which includes chips capable of switching between protocols like Zigbee, Bluetooth, etc., allowing manufacturers to create products that can communicate on different protocols.
The mesh solution is preferred in the smart home environment thanks to its low power consumption nature.
As an AI and IoT platform provider, Tuya has a broad manufacturer customer base, offering hardware access, cloud service and app development.

Alibaba has faith in Bluetooth mesh

Bluetooth mesh was launched in mid-2017 to facilitate communication among IoT devices on a large scale for automation, control and monitoring purposes. Its popularity among smart home applications is growing at a level that the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced just last week it would form the Smart Home Subgroup.
The subgroup’s new members include Alibaba and Xiaomi. "Bluetooth mesh models play a very important role in strengthening the connectivity and interoperability among smart home devices,” said Dapeng Liu, Alibaba’s Senior Standardization Expert, who is also serving as Chair of Bluetooth SIG Smart Home Subgroup.
Alibaba will work with other members in the subgroup to “standardize the mesh model solutions,” Liu added.
Bluetooth mesh supports “reliable, high performing, and scalable connectivity,” said Miffy Chen, VP of Alibaba Group, GM of Tmall Genie. The existing trust and wide application of Bluetooth across the globe gives it a unique advantage in Alibaba’s smart home strategy, Chen added.
Dian Fan, General Manager of Xiaomi IoT Platform, also expressed confidence in Bluetooth mesh’s reliability, security and performance, saying that “We’re confident that Bluetooth mesh is one of those standards and will enable tremendous growth and innovation in home automation for years to come.”

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