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Easier Zigbee Remote Controls

Zigbee recently announced the second version of their remote control standard, ZRC 2.0. The idea is that, in a Zigbee home, with consumer electronics and other devices that speak Zigbee, you can have a single remote to rule them all. It’s not line-of-site, in contrast to traditional infrared systems. And, while it may be paired with specific devices it controls, it can also talk to other devices on a Zigbee Home Automation (HA) network.

The main focus of this new revision appears to be ease of use – both for the manufacturer and end user. Binding can happen transparently, removing the consumer from the process. Likewise, manufacturers can use the out-of-band binding process to setup multiple devices that will work together prior to shipping. And the device codes from legacy devices can now be uploaded to a remote over-the-air (replacing what would have been a small code database in the remote).

They’ve also implemented a two-way polling mechanism for communicating with sleeping devices. One of the features this enables is “find my remote,” which lets you push a button on, say, your TV and something happens to show you where the remote is (beeping, vibrating, whatever the remote designer included as the response). It also supports the uploading of new firmware updates.

And they’ve beefed up security and improved the communication between Zigbee HA and ZRC.

Greenpeak has already announced a new radio chip, the GP565, supporting the updated standard. And Universal Electronics has announced an update to their QuickSet application, which can be embedded into audio/video equipment to provide an on-screen setup interface.

You can read more about the Zigbee update in their announcement.

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