The technological features of smart homes and smart buildings bring improved comfort, energy efficiency, and security. 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.
There were already around 16 million active IoT connections in smart buildings in Europe in 2019. In 2025, this figure is set to increase to around 154 million connections."
Infineon’s semiconductor solutions make residential and commercial buildings smart to increase comfort and convenience.
Infineon’s extensive product range contains made-to-measure, semiconductor solutions for setting up innovative smart home and smart building applications. Right from the start, manufacturers are assisted with developing IoT solutions and integrating semiconductor solutions into home and building automation systems. In particular, newcomers to the field benefit from a XENSIV™ predictive maintenance evaluation kit from Infineon alongside the customary assortment of basic solutions.
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.
REAL3™ image sensors with ToF technology supply accurate depth data in real time, react quickly, feature contactless operation, and are robust against ambient light.
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, PSoCTM 6 microcontrollers bridge the gap between high performance and low energy consumption and are tailored to applications in IoT devices. Finally, Infineon’s PSoCTM 4 is a true problem-solver: Functions such as analog sensor integration, capacitive touch, and wireless connectivity are all integrated as standard.
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 mains 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.
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. With this in mind, Infineon offers solutions to suit all kinds of communication systems:
WICED 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 ModusToolboxTM software development kits that provide code examples, tools and development support.
Infineon’s 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 ModusToolboxTM 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.
A hardware-embedded IoT security architecture is crucial for arming smart homes and smart buildings against cyberattacks. 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:
The 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.
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.
Smart ventilation and warning systems in buildings and rooms alert occupants against poor air quality or provide the necessary supply of fresh air. Sensors based on photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS) measure the CO2 level of the indoor air with pinpoint accuracy. These sensors use a highly sensitive acoustic detector, designed especially for low frequencies. The PAS principle enables the size of the devices to be considerably reduced by up to 75 percent compared to conventional CO2 sensors. The innovative design and the direct output of ppm values enable quick and easy integration and assembly, which is ideal for applications with a high production volume.
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.
Across the globe, leading manufacturers and suppliers of smart home devices are collaborating to develop a global standard for the smart home. The working group "Connected Home over IP" from Zigbee Alliance wants to increase the compatibility and the security of smart home products and simplify their use. This is because aspects such as secure and easy installation and control of smart home solutions are becoming important criteria for consumers when making their purchasing decision.
With the Connected Home over IP standard, the identity of a device can be saved and updated within a hardware-based security system throughout its entire life cycle – from the design phase through to scrapping. This means users can dispense with weak passwords, protect device integrity through secure firmware updates, and encrypt private data according to the state of the art. The Connected Home over IP standard is meant to help manufacturers significantly increase the level of security of smart home devices, whilst also keeping costs and complexity as low as possible – thanks to the easy-to-integrate security hardware.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) means that sensors and other IoT devices in building technology can be installed much more quickly, as the LAN cable doesn't just transfer the data, but simultaneously supplies the devices with power, as well. Although PoE has been around for a number of years, the latest standard IEEE 802.3bt has provided for an increase in the maximum power available, this can be achieved by using a twisted-pair Ethernet cable. This means that is now possible to supply power of up to 100 W per connection. A PoE switch can supply several devices with power at once by simply connecting the devices to the switch using conventional Ethernet cables. This simplifies both the installation process and any subsequent reconfigurations of the building technology systems.
The advantages of PoE are being leveraged by "The Edge", an innovative office building in Amsterdam, which was fitted with 650 PoE switches. These enable users to control the lights and temperature, for example, by means of a smartphone app. Thus, the facility manager has a clear overview of all of the building functions and can maximize the efficiency of the building operations. Over a 20-month period, it was possible to reduce the costs per employee by more than 1,800 euros.