Echelon was recently awarded U.S. Patent number 8,374,104 for its Interoperable Self-Installation (ISI) protocol, an innovative, simple way to install a group of devices on a control network. Echelon has implemented the ISI technology in a number of products, and Echelon customers have already created commercial products based on the patented technology.
ISI addresses an increasingly important challenge in our lives today. Everyday devices – ranging from large appliances (refrigerators, ovens, etc.); HVAC, security, lighting, and irrigation systems; vehicle controls in trains, automobiles, ships, and planes; to smaller appliances (toasters, microwaves, etc.) – are being interconnected and need to be controlled. As these networked device groups become more prevalent, the devices themselves must be able to join the groups and interact with each other, without requiring an installation tool, expert knowledge, or a special-purpose local server.
Echelon’s new patent covers a method of installing devices into groups, or communities of devices, that:
- Does not rely on a central server or authority for acquiring or maintaining addresses of devices
- Does not fail when a large number of devices are turned off
- Does not require users to maintain network resource information
Echelon’s innovation includes standardizing a method by which devices in a network can allocate their own network resources and automatically avoid conflicts arising from two devices independently trying to assign duplicate network resources. The method includes automatic discovery so that devices can automatically recognize compatible devices as they are added to the network community and establish communication with each other. Another innovation is discovery and installation without the need for “active negotiation,” meaning that it is not necessary for every device to be knowledgeable about every other device in the community.
Echelon’s patented ISI technology is supported in three of its tools – the NodeBuilder Development Tool, the ShortStack Developer’s Kit, and the LonBridge Server – and PL 3170 Smart Transceiver chip as well as the PL3150, FT5000 and Neuron 5000.
Customers using Echelon’s patented ISI technology include:
- CyboSoft and CyboEnergy in the U.S., which implemented a gateway and the world’s first solar power Mini-Inverter using Echelon PL chips communicating with ISI technology, with the LonBridge Server running in the gateway. This enables CyboSoft and CyboEnergy to deliver Mini-Inverters that can be managed with its home gateway for home installations, but that are also compatible with the Echelon SmartServer Controller for larger commercial installations.
- e-controls in Spain, which uses Echelon PL chips communicating with ISI technology in its commercial building and home indoor lighting control and commercial remote I/O. With the Echelon technology, e-controls can deliver a system that can be installed without the use of any additional tools in standalone system, but that can also be easily integrated into larger building or home control networks that use Echelon’s LNS or OpenLNS tools.
- SLS Corporation in India, which uses the LonBridge Server to create its In-Home Controller, and the NodeBuilder tool and the PL 3170 chip in its lamp and appliance modules. The SLS In-Home Controller interacts with plug-in modules for dimming lamps and switching appliances on and off; for monitoring and reporting energy usage of lamps and appliances; and to enable homeowners to use a mobile phone or local display to monitor the energy usage of their lighting and key appliances.
Congratulations to Bernd Gauweiler and Rich Blomseth from Echelon, who are the co-inventors of the ISI technology that has received this patent.
You might also like:
- Echelon Interoperable Self-Installation (ISI) web page
- Echelon LonBridge Server web page
- Echelon PL 3170 Smart Transceiver chip web page
- CyboSoft website
- CyboEnergy website
- e-controls website
- SLS website