ZigBee news: Eaton’S Home Heartbeat™ System

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CLEVELAND… Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation (NYSE:ETN) has developed Home Heartbeat™, a home awareness system that enables consumers to monitor and receive updates on a broad range of household devices and systems.

Home Heartbeatâ„¢ provides consumers with anytime knowledge of the inner workings of their homes while they go about their daily lives. The wireless, plug-and-use system enables consumers to add simple remote monitoring to ordinary household systems and devices. Home Heartbeatâ„¢, which installs in minutes, features a Home Keyâ„¢ that allows homeowners an all-in-one glimpse at the status and condition of their homes

The system routinely monitors for problems such as water leaks and flooding. It also provides updates on home appliances, the status of doors and windows, routine maintenance schedules and can oversee comings and goings of family members.

“This is an exciting opportunity that puts Eaton on the cutting edge of the emerging category of home awareness,†said Matt Lorenz, marketing manager, Residential Division, Eaton’s electrical business. “Homeowners are looking for a way to keep in touch with their homes so they can avert emergencies and problems before they get out of control. Home Heartbeatâ„¢ provides a high-tech solution in an easy-to-install, easy-to-use system. If you can plug in a lamp, use a remote control, and apply stickers, you can use this system.â€

The system can send emails or text message alerts to cell phones when a problem is detected. Because the system is wireless, it is also easily upgraded by adding new sensors and components.

Out-of-the-box, Home Heartbeatâ„¢ can quite literally be up and monitoring the status of the home in minutes. It has three main components: a Base Station, a Home Key â„¢ and a network of detection sensors. Installation of the system breaks down into three easy steps: activate the Base Station, train the Home Key â„¢, and use the sensors to monitor the home. The system routinely provides updates as it monitors home appliances, the status of doors and windows, routine maintenance schedules, and more.

The Base Station is the heart of the system. It communicates with the Home Keyâ„¢ and sensors wirelessly and maintains constant awareness of the state of the home. The Base Station interprets the alert and status messages from the sensors and relays the information to the Home Keyâ„¢. These two components continually interact, transmitting important information and alerts to the homeowner.

The Home Heartbeatâ„¢ Home Keyâ„¢, with its LCD display, communicates wirelessly with the base station. Homeowners can use this Home Keyâ„¢ to monitor the home, to alert them of a problem (by vibration, beep or red flashing LCD display), and to add additional sensors to the system. Typical indoor range is 60-90 feet.

The Home Key™ captures a snapshot of the current state of the home as soon as it is out of range of the Base Station. Homeowners can also set up a “Call Me Awareness†feature which allows them to receive an email or a text message on an SMS-enabled cell phone when there is a problem in the home. So whether the homeowner is home or away, at work, or on vacation, they can be alerted to potential problems.

The sensors -- which include water sensors, open/closed sensors, power sensors, reminder and attention sensors -- are the backbone of the Home Heartbeatâ„¢ system. They can alert the homeowner to a wide range of problems, including pipe leaks and flooding, open doors and windows, and appliances that are left on or are without power. Water sensors have an added feature that can activate a water shut-off valve. Reminder and attention sensors can be set to trigger easy-to-forget tasks, like bringing home a gallon of milk or taking out the garbage.

HHB is ZigBee™ ready. ZigBee™, a new wireless networking standard (IEE 802.15.4), connects small embedded sensors and transmitters that don’t need much bandwidth, but that do need long battery life, built-in network security, and scalability. And because the HHB system is wireless, it is also easy to upgrade by adding new sensors/components.

“A home awareness system should provide painless peace-of-mind about the most valuable thing most people own – their home,†said Lorenz. “With simplicity, a lack of expensive third-party monitoring, and its ability to embrace future technological advances, Home Heartbeatâ„¢ delivers on this goal.â€

The Home Heartbeatâ„¢ system is expected to be available in 2005.
 
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