Having developed the hardware, the authors turn their attention to controlling up to 7 simultaneous BLE connections via an Android app.
As discussed on the previous page, there is a dedicated Android application. The application runs on the smartphones having BLE. The applications allows the user to select the light appliances and drag and drop on the screen.
Traditionally there was only one master-slave BLE connection supported by Android smartphones. This means that a user can control only one BLE based light with the use of smartphone. Since the introduction of Android 5.0 Lollipop, the OS along with the corresponding hardware started supporting up to 7 master-slave BLE connections. This means that for a small home you can control 7 independent BLE-based home appliances, such as lights and fans.
The application that we developed allows 7 simultaneous connections. Google Nexus 9 is one of the tablets that support multiple connections but this feature may vary from mobile manufacturer to manufacturer.
Figure 10 shows the image of the Android Application with the Smart Lights. As discussed earlier all the above LED lights has the BLE connectivity support in the hardware. The Android Application allows the user select the Smart Light, Bulb or Lamp from the choice as shown Fig.10 and drag and drop the Smart Lights on the Layout of the home. On the Android Application side the user needs to made individual connection with each LED lights. Once the connection is established, the user is able to control each of the lights.
Figure 10: The Android application, such as this one, can be used to control multiple lights.
With the cost of the mobile phones going down and new better standards coming on for the connecitivity technologies that are part of the mobile phone, home automation and smart lighting using smart devices will become increasingly compelling. Smart lighting not ony gives users the flexibility to control the lights using their mobile phones but also helps reduce power consumption.
Figure 11: Sample screen shots of the Android application user interface.
The authors, Aman Jha, Ranajay Mallik, Raunaque Mujeeb Quaiser and Jitendra Jain, work in the AMG Central Lab at STMicroelectronics in Greater Noida, India