CEDIA 2015: BTX May Have First Motorized Shades with Bluetooth Mesh Networking
BTX reappears in home-tech channel at CEDIA Expo 2015 with affordable motorized shades; demos home automation ecosystem under new Obay brand utilizing Bluetooth mesh networking technology from Seed Labs.
Julie Jacobson · October 20, 2015
BTX is back in the home-technology channel, with a booth at CEDIA Expo 2015 and a wide assortment of motorized window coverings in various price ranges … plus an industry-first Bluetooth mesh-enabled smart-home system that includes motorized shades.
About 10 years ago, BTX Window Automation was a major presence in the custom channel with its high-end motorized window coverings that integrated with popular home automation systems. Then the Dallas-based company seemed to disappear from the residential channel.
Now BTX is back, this time with some more affordable options that integrate with today’s popular smart-home systems including Lutron, Crestron and Control4, according to BTX COO Robert Kramer.
At CEDIA, Kramer told CE Pro that the timing was right to re-enter the residential channel, now that BTX offers a fuller range of more affordable solutions (including battery-powered shades) to hit a broader market than its traditionally high-end, highly-custom products.
Bluetooth Mesh Networking for ‘Obay’ Home Automation Ecosystem
But there’s something else from BTX: motorized shades that communicate via Bluetooth mesh networking, with an ecosystem called Obay that also includes lights and appliances.
There’s no question mesh networking is coming to Bluetooth, making the otherwise short-range wireless protocol a viable solution for whole-house control. After all, every mobile phone has Bluetooth, so BLE devices can be controlled effortlessly without a central hub.
Companies like CSRmesh – acquired by Qualcomm last year for $2.5 billion – have been working on their own mesh protocol for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Bluetooth Smart for years, but now the Bluetooth Special Interest Group is working on an official standard for mesh networking, expected to be adopted by 2016.
BTX’s own implementation comes from Seed Labs, a Bluetooth mesh technology developer that we discovered at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2015.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ VIEW BTX/OBAY SLIDESHOW ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But there were no motorized shades in the ecosystem and there were no distribution channels in North America.
So BTX created a company called Obay Technologies, Inc. in August 2015 to market smart devices powered by Seed’s BLE mesh technology called Silvair. BTX not only will offer its own Silvair-powered window coverings, but also will market the entire ecosystem of Silvair devices including lighting and appliance controls.
These products in North America will fall under the Obay brand. In addition, there is an Obay app to integrate all of these these devices into a single control solution.
Wouldn't it be poetic of a blast from the past like BTX were to become the launching pad for Bluetooth mesh networking for home automation in the U.S.?
RELATED: Home Automation Game Changer: Bluetooth Mesh Networking Comes to BLE Smart Dimmers Can Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Supplant ZigBee or Z-Wave for Home Automation? ISE 2015: Proxi, Seed Leads Europe in Bluetooth Home Automation - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - JULIE JACOBSON
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at email@example.com
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