DALLAS — Whereas the potential of conventional, on-wire communications technology has largely been exhausted, wireless technology in building automation and solutions is developing very, very quickly.

“In a few years, the advantages of wireless communications over conventional communications will be so overwhelming that the majority of communications in residential and simple commercial premises will be handled using wireless systems,” predicted Helmut Macht, chief technology officer for Siemens Building Technologies Group. “The innovations in wireless communication allows more and more wired communication to be replaced.”

Making his remarks at the International Trade Press Forum, Macht told the roomful of trade reporters that wireless technology will continue to advance due to falling prices and an extended battery service life — an important criterion for the continuous operation of systems.

“Wireless communication has already become a standard element of fire safety and HVAC solutions, such as for data transfer to sensor/actuators or for energy cost reading,” he said. “The next step will be wireless home automation systems offering a full range of comfort and safety solutions.”

Helmut Macht: “The next step will be wireless home automation systems offering a full range of comfort and safety solutions.”

New Developments

According to Macht, Siemens Building Technologies is pressing on with the development of wireless communications solutions at the field level with its own innovative ideas.

“Development efforts here range from the 433 MHz ISM band to the 869/902 MHz SRD band and from point-to-point links as a substitute for on-wire approaches to integrated solutions,” he said. “The advantage of the much more strictly regulated SRD band in this context is the substantial further enhancement of transmission reliability.”

He noted that the company’s Sigmaspace wireless fire detectors underscore his company’s commitment to wireless solutions. He said they provide maximum transmission reliability, while complying with relevant association approvals.

At the same time, he said the company’s Siroute wireless infrastructure “is the first security system featuring bidirectional wireless communications.” According to Macht, this system cuts down on false alarms due to communication errors.

Now that specific solutions such as data transmission to the sensor/actuator or energy cost readouts have already become established, Macht said the next step to integrated wireless home automation systems is about to be made. He said home automation systems will be responsible for controlling all aspects of comfort and security in a building in the future. This includes everything from lighting, sun blinds, individual rooms, and primary automatic controls to the adjustment of the security system.

“In the years to come, wireless technology in buildings will benefit in particular from lower prices and longer battery service life,” he said. “Wireless solutions will also become increasingly widespread in challenging markets by virtue of innovations such as mesh topology or spread spectrum technology.”

Publication date: 07/14/2003