Smart home & smart building

Comfortable, safe and energy-efficient

Smart homes and buildings make life more convenient

Smart home and building technology is booming and its future is projected to be even more impressive: Statista predicts that the smart home market alone will continue to expand at a 12.82% annual growth rate and reach around $47 billion by 2025.

We live in an increasingly connected world, shaped by ever more sophisticated technologies as the IoT approaches tipping point. The digitalization and networking of more and more smart devices is transforming all areas of our life, reaching beyond smart factories, wearables, cars and suchlike to also redefine the work in offices and public buildings as well as the home experience. 

The demand for smart home and building devices and applications such as smart, energy-efficient and cost-effective connected lighting systems or home entertainment systems is experiencing dynamic growth as more and more consumers and companies are looking to leverage the comfort, energy efficiency, and security benefits of smart home and building technologies.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of smart home technologies. During the various stages of lockdown, many private homes morphed into offices, schools, entertainment hubs, fitness studios, and even healthcare centers. This shift in needs has also driven disruptive changes in terms of the range, functionality, and performance of smart home applications and devices now in demand. Today’s smart homes are much more than just a refrigerator that reorders milk or a coffee machine that recognizes users and knows their preferences. By 2026, ABI Research predicts that “the smart home market will reach $317 billion, up 5 percent over pre-COVID-19 forecasts.”

But the pandemic has also had an impact on public buildings and offices: access controls are being stepped up to monitor the number of people in a building, the air quality inside a building plays a major role, and there are also stricter hygiene regulations. Here, too, smart solutions such as presence detection or sensors like the XENSIV™ PAS CO2 sensor can help.

What makes homes and buildings smart?

According to projections by the United Nations, more than seven out of ten people will live in cities by the year 2050. This will push the development of megacities with high-rise buildings, large apartment blocks, and massive office/public buildings. Digitalization will play a defining role in all of these buildings. According to the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association, there will be around 154 million active IoT connections in smart buildings by 2025. And that’s just Europe!

Infineon’s semiconductor solutions enable smart home appliances and systems in building services to adapt to their situation and surroundings in operation. Sensors, actuators, and control systems all work together to enable components in a smart home or smart building to correctly collect, evaluate, and process real-time data before executing or initiating the appropriate action or reaction. In this context, security solutions safeguard the system and all of its activities against external cyber-attacks.

Sense - compute - actuate - connect - secure: This is how we make IoT work

SENSE: Sensors are a smart building’s nervous system

Equipping buildings with sensors puts them in a position to collect data on operation and the environment in order to react to this gathered information in real time.

Infineon’s XENSIV™ family offers a wide range of solutions for such situations:

XENSIV™ MEMS microphones can be used to implement voice control, for example. Capacitive sensors from the CAPSENSE™ family are an elegant and reliable solution for controlling devices via touch.

Meanwhile, motions can be effectively detected by radar sensors. With their small form factor and low power consumption, Infineon’s highly integrated XENSIV™ 60 GHz radar sensor solutions bring innovative, intuitive sensing capabilities to many applications.

Infineon’s REAL3™ image sensors with ToF technology supply ac-curate depth data in real time, react quickly, feature contactless operation, and are robust against ambient light.

COMPUTE: Microcontrollers and high performance memory solutions for made-to-measure IoT control solutions

Microcontrollers process data in all types of building components. Infineon has numerous such solutions in its portfolio, based on a variety of architectures.

XMC1000 microcontrollers with an Arm® Cortex®-M0 core and cutting-edge 65 nm technology are used in connected LED power supplies, or in wireless-charging solutions. Potential applications in smart homes and smart buildings for XMC4000 microcontrollers powered by Arm® Cortex®-M4 with a built-in DSP instruction set range from solar converters to sense & control and lighting networks.

With their dual-CPU architecture, PSoC™ 6 microcontrollers bridge the gap between high performance and low energy consumption and are tailored to applications in IoT devices. Finally, Infineon’s PSoC™ 4 is a true problem-solver: Functions such as analog sensor integration, capacitive touch, and wireless connectivity are all integrated as standard.

We expect the intelligent devices & solutions in our smart homes and buildings to work anytime, anywhere. At the same time, they should offer maximum safety, reliability and protection. Rely on our broad portfolio of secure and reliable solutions for embedded systems and check out our NOR Flash products.

ACTUATE: Power semiconductors guarantee high efficiency in energy conversion

Following the logic of sense – compute – actuate, actuators connect the real and the digital world.

Actuators use the data and information received to control and actuate the connected devices in the relevant building. Infineon’s OptiMOS™ N-channel power MOSFETs are designed for high-performance applications, boasting high efficiency, high power density, and optimization for high switching frequencies. Highly integrated ICs for motor control applications like the iMOTION™ series and intelligent power modules (IPMs) from the CIPOS™ family have been developed to keep motors running efficiently in household appliances, fans, and pumps, among other things.

Power management applications for main power supplies to home appliances, set-top boxes, or even telecommunications systems/servers with a maximum rated output power of 43 W can be realized with robust CoolSET™ AC-DC power stages. Infineon’s portfolio is neatly rounded off by a wide variety of discrete IGBTs.

Here you can find more information about our technology for optimizing power generation, transmission, and consumption.

CONNECT: Networking for efficient data exchange

Connectivity is a crucial feature of smart homes and smart buildings: It is what transforms building elements into smart connected devices that can send and receive data. Infineon’s AIROC™ Wi-Fi + Bluetooth combos integrate IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN and Bluetooth into a single-chip solution to enable small-form-factor IoT designs. Many of the Wi-Fi + Bluetooth combos are supported by WICED Wi-Fi and ModusToolbox™ software development kits that provide code examples, tools and development support.

Infineon’s AIROC™ Bluetooth portfolio consists of purely Bluetooth Low Energy-only and dual-mode Bluetooth solutions that support Bluetooth Classic (i.e., Basic Rate (BR) and Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)), as well as Bluetooth LE. The Bluetooth SDK contains everything you need to build dual-mode applications (BR + EDR + Bluetooth LE). The Bluetooth SDK, along with the ModusToolbox™ IDE, and Bluetooth configurator tools all combine to form a powerful but easy to use toolset that will help you create amazing, Bluetooth-enabled IoT solutions.

SECURE: Scalable, easy-to-integrate security solutions

With an increased number of connected devices in a smart building, the threat of cyberattacks is rising. To arm a smart home or smart building against cyberattacks, hardware embedded IoT security is crucial. Infineon is addressing this challenge with its wide range of tried-and-tested, and certified hardware-based solutions, aiming a strong protection of data and devices in smart homes and smart buildings:

Infineon’s OPTIGA™ family offers a broad product portfolio for embedded security solutions and secured cellular connectivity designed for easy integration. These hardware-based security solutions scale from basic authentication chips to sophisticated cloud implementations. With our OPTIGA™ Authenticate family we give “things” an identity to verify authenticity. This is the prerequisite to create trust in the digital world, especially within the IoT. The OPTIGA™ Connect product family enables our customers to connect their products via secured cellular connectivity. Enabling trusted data to empower integrity and enabling trustworth communication to foster confidentiality are the clear goals of our OPTIGA™ Trust and OPTIGA™ TPM families.

Finally, SECORA™ Blockchain is a fast, easy-to-use Java Card™ solution supporting best-in-class security for blockchain system implementation. It makes the application more secure and easier to designing for the customer’s block chain system easier.

Quieter, energy-efficient appliances driven by intuitive sensor-based operation

Smart home appliances

Modern home appliances are increasingly smart and connected, providing a seamless, remote user experience.

Home appliances, also referred to as domestic appliances, electric appliances or household appliances are part of smart home automation networks. Due to rising economies and evolving consumer lifestyles, the home appliances market is expected to register a CAGR of more than 4% during the forecast period. The increase in consumer disposable income, high standard of living and the need for convenience are driving many consumers to purchase smart home appliances. These devices offer advanced features, promise greater convenience, reduce labor and can even save energy. And the market will continue to grow, driven significantly by trends such as effectiveness, variety, sustainability, stylish design and smart functionality of home appliances.

Infineon's products, solutions and tools enable smart and connected home appliances to be securely detected, controlled and connected. For example Infineon’s Discrete IGBTs products designed for induction heating applications, in combination with PSoC microcontrollers for system control, AIROC™ Wi-Fi & Combos products, and XENSIV™ sensors enable highly compact, robust, and reliable systems that consume less power and offer a rich user interface.

The CIPOS™ family is the optimal solution for highly integrated compressor drives whilst discrete solutions are the best choice, whenever the layout flexibility and thermal performance optimization are the major factors. They can all be combined with Infineon’s iMOTION™ products for dedicated motor control. For the auxiliary power supply, the CoolSET™ rounds up the power portfolio by offering increased robustness and performance.

Explore more system solutions for the smart home application era

Podcast4Engineers: Home appliance trends with Jens Reinstaedt

Smartification and electrification aren’t just limited to our smartphones and computers anymore; these trends are steadily making their way into our home appliances and the market is booming. But what technologies are driving home appliance innovation and how do semiconductors play a role?

Listen to our latest podcasts to learn more about home appliances and how Infineon technology is powering the smart home of tomorrow.

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The rise of the smart kitchen

Kitchens are becoming smarter. They connect to your world and they interact with you. Appliances are now expected to be energy-efficient, connected, intuitive, and secure. Experience our interactive home and find all information for your design requirements.

System solutions for the smart home application era

Users control operation and receive live data from appliances, whether it's the contents of the refrigerator or information on the status of laundry. In turn, manufacturers can remotely analyze the device and suggest predictive maintenance to avoid costly repairs. This webinar will show you how Infineon's smartest power designs can help you achieve the highest efficiencies, smallest form factors and significantly improve your appliances' carbon footprint to make them smart, connected, and secured.

Watch our webinar.

Whitepaper: The rise of the smart kitchen - Connected living in the heart of the home

The smart kitchen is here to stay, with IoT-enabled appliances such as fridge-freezers, ovens, washing machines and dishwashers becoming part of intelligent home automation networks. This whitepaper charts the rapid rise of the smart kitchen and looks at how advances in electronic solutions have resulted in a new generation of quieter and more energy-efficient appliances driven by intuitive sensor-based operation. This trend has delivered higher levels of functionality, making life more convenient for tech-savvy consumers.

Login to MyInfineon and read our new whitepaper.

Smartify your aircon with Infineon’s solution portfolio

Heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)

Air conditioning systems are joining the ever-expanding list of “things” that are connecting to the Internet of Things. This is reflecting – and also driving – shifts in consumer expectations around aircon systems.

Standard/basic functionality such as stable and smooth start-up plus variable operating speeds and vibration suppression are considered essential must-haves. In addition, cooling systems in private homes must be quiet. Today’s heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems should also be equipped with power devices that make them more energy efficient. In keeping with the smart trend among household appliances, home owners additionally expect smart air conditioners to offer various intelligent features that make life more convenient. And as more and more air conditioning units are connecting to the cloud, secure communication and interoperability within the home automation network are growing in importance.

Infineon’s offering Infineon offering the commercial HVAC application

Infineon provides its customers with the right technologies and innovations to address current and future security, functionality, connectivity and performance demands for smart heating ventilation and air conditioning systems. Examples:

The XENSIV™ family provides manufacturers with best- in-class MEMS sensors to enable e.g. smart aircon systems to “see”, “hear”, “feel” and “understand” their environment and incorporate more intelligence into their designs. CIPOS™ IPMs integrate the latest power semiconductors and control IC technology to create highly integrated, compact power modules to drive motors across a wide range of applications. PSoC™ 6 Microcontrollers provide a secure solution for IoT developments, supporting multiple, simultaneous environments without the need for external memories or SoCs. Infineon possesses a team of strong technical experts and partners to provide its customers with the tools and sup- port they need to design and implement future-proof smart aircon systems.

Explore more system solutions for smart HVAC systems

Podcast4Engineers: Commercial HVAC Trends with Lara Berghoff

Whether making factories more efficient or your office complex more comfortable, commercial HVAC systems are enabling smarter buildings. In this episode, our application manager Lara discusses some of the market drivers and opportunities in the world of C-HVAC.

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Training: Introduction to sensor-enabled predictive maintenance for HVAC systems

The training gives an overview of predictive maintenance in HVAC and the role of sensors. It presents our offering and partner approach.

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Continuous, energy-efficient data-logging for predictive maintenance

EXCELON™, Infineon's next-generation Ferroelectric RAM (F-RAM) memory, delivers the industry’s lowest-power mission-critical nonvolatile memory, by combining ultra-low-power operation with high-speed interfaces, instant nonvolatility and unlimited read/write cycle endurance. This makes EXCELON™ the ideal data-logging memory for portable medical, wearable, IoT sensor, industrial and automotive applications. 

Density: 2Mbit, 4Mbit, 8Mbit

Interface: SPI, QSPI

Read more

Demonstrator Predictive maintenance in HVAC

Make connected buildings smart with Infineon’s full-spectrum sensor portfolio

Contextual awareness – the senses of the IoT

Sensors make homes and buildings smart by enabling them to “see”, “feel” and “hear” their environment – just like our human five senses do.

A smart building or home becomes smart through its connected and intelligent devices that are placed inside of it, for example heating, ventilation and air conditioning, elevators, access control, lighting, energy supply, or water heating systems. These elements itself are not smart. However, when equipped with the right technology, they are able to “see”, “hear” and “understand” their surroundings and perform appropriate actions. Sensors are the neural system of a building that collect in real-time data about a building’s operation, environment and its devices.

How radar can make your home intuitively smart

Reflecting our holistic approach to IoT design, our vision is to complement our XENSIV™ sensors with state-of-the-art software to create a comprehensive picture of the world around us. Our broad sensor portfolio spans MEMS microphones, plus pressure, radar, environmental, and 3D image sensors (REAL3™). All of which enable designers to create more intelligent, contextually aware devices.

Learn more about sensors - the nervous system of the IoT

High-precision sleep-monitoring based on radar

Sensors are the starting point of the Internet of Things. The more precisely they capture data, the more reliable the applications based on them will be. The number of possible use cases is large.

Watch the video to learn how smart health devices can be integrated into the smart home using intelligent sensors and a new form of sleep monitoring.

Radar-based entrance counter: Accurate, anonymous, contactless

COVID-19 has rapidly increased the need for social distancing solutions in public buildings. The smart entrance counter is one such solution. It counts when a person enters or leaves a building or a room, and simultaneously ensures social distancing. The system uses a 60-GHz radar sensor and integrated software; people are counted accurately and anonymously. A traffic-light system tells people whether access is permitted or not. The expected demand for this type of solution amounts to 90 million units globally. The system is easy to install and is simply mounted to the wall or ceiling of an entrance/exit area. It can be used in any type of building, including public buildings, retail stores and grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and corporate spaces, such as canteens, offices, etc.

Watch the video for more information

For more information about our entrance counter solution, click here.

A breath of fresh air: XENSIV™ PAS CO2 sensor to detect carbon dioxide (1/2)

Although everyone has an intuitive sense of when a meeting gets "stuffy", unfortunately we humans don't have anything like sensors for ambient air quality. But Infineon does!

Indoor spaces with increased CO2 concentration levels not only have poor air quality which can for example cause headaches, here we also find raised levels of aerosol concentration – one of the most common transmission paths for COVID-19. Regular ventilation is a good preventive step, but who wants to spend lots of time sitting in a draft of cold air? Wouldn't it be great if we could only air out meeting rooms whenever it's really necessary!

Click on the next slide to watch the video to learn more about the PAS principle and how our XENSIV™ PAS CO2 sensor works.

Explore use cases and start evaluating!

Visit our new Makes Sense page and let Chipman show you the latest use cases and application examples!

Measure what matters

Predictive maintenance and condition monitoring

Highly reliable solutions unleashing the benefits of condition-based monitoring vs predictive maintenance with Infineon’s XENSIV™ sensor portfolio

Time and again, malfunctions in heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration technology systems interrupt working processes and increase maintenance costs. Predictive maintenance, which is a data-based maintenance strategy for predicting system malfunctions, can be an effective solution to this. To illustrate the benefits of using a sensor-based solution, Infineon has collaborated with Klika Tech and AWS to develop a sensor-based evaluation kit. It enables the straightforward evaluation of condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. Using a range of sensors, paired with microcontrollers, embedded security, and software, it is possible to monitor various parameters of vital components such as compressors, motors, and fans in real time, so that any potential anomalies can be detected immediately. If this is the case, the respective maintenance technicians can be informed in good time – before a malfunction – to address the problem, e.g. by replacing a wearing part or cleaning an air filter.

Infineon’s broad range of XENSIV™ sensors can be deployed to monitor everything from single components of production machinery to an entire smart building ecosystem. Typical use cases include HVAC equipment where XENSIV sensors monitor current, vibration, and airflow in motors, compressors, and fans. These sensors can be combined with FreeRTOS-certified XMC™ microcontrollers and OPTIGA™ security solutions so the data collected can be processed and analyzed to enable advanced IoT features such as predictive maintenance. Using our differentiated memory solutions including SEMPERTM NOR Flash and EXCELONTM F-RAM to reliably and safely store collected data for such analysis, overall system health and safety can be monitored.

Find more information about Infineon's solutions for predictive maintenance

Buildings that can “hear” and “see” their environment and react accordingly: Science fiction or reality?

Listen to this exciting episode of our #MakeIoTwork podcast. Together with Julia Fichte and Manuel Hollfelder we will talk about the relevance and benefits of smart homes and buildings for tenants, residents, workers and of course the operators.

  • Which technologies make buildings smart?
  • How can predictive maintenance help to reduce breakdowns and costs, while extending lifetime by 20%?
  • Why is it so important to work in conjunction with all the stakeholders in the ecosystem?

Listen now.

XENSIV Predictive Maintenance Kit