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Continua adds two low power wireless standards

Posted: 10 Jun 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:low power Bluetooth  Zigbee  health care  networking standard 

The Continua Health Alliance has picked both the low power Bluetooth and ZigBee Health Care networking specifications as future health device networking standards.

The selection of two low power standards will allow additional devices used for health and fitness, as well as ageing independently, to join the Continua roster of interoperable, personal telehealth ystems.

The two wireless technology standards are targeted to support mobile and fixed location devices as defined by the next iteration of the Continua Health Alliance Design Guidelines.

The low power Bluetooth technology spec will—provided it is finalised—enable low power mobile devices such as activity monitors and heart rate sensors to be used to monitor a user's health and fitness levels. The specification is expected to be adopted by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the ZigBee Health Care technology for low power sensors that can be networked in a variety of settings, and utilised in devices such as motion detectors and bed pressure sensors to enhance the daily living of those who require assistance ageing independently.

Bluetooth low energy technology extends the current Continua standard for the Bluetooth Health Device Profile, the only wireless technology specification included in Continua's Version One Design Guidelines, announced in February 2009.

"Bluetooth technology has become the ubiquitous wireless standard for mobile device connectivity, and Bluetooth low energy technology will provide Continua with connectivity perfectly suited for incorporation in mobile applications," commented Mike Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

The ZigBee Health Care development was completed this March. 2009. It enables devices to securely and reliably monitor and manage data, without Wi-Fi interference. It can support from two to thousands of devices in a single network and runs on a wide-range of cost-effective and certified silicon platforms already available from many of the world's largest semiconductor manufacturers, including companies such as TI, Freescale Semiconductor and Ember Corporation.

"Low-power sensing and monitoring is a core competency of ZigBee and we are excited to help Continua build its technology roadmap and help expand the telehealth industry ecosystem," said Bob Heile, chairman, ZigBee Alliance.

The Continua Health Alliance said Version One of its Design Guidelines, published earlier this year, will be followed by an updated version, slated for first-half 2010, that will enable new devices and additional use cases that significantly extend the capabilities of devices and services targeted at telehealth.

As one of the leading companies in health care, Philips anticipates the use of ZigBee Health Care in a variety of products," said Paul Coebergh van den Braak, senior director at Royal Philips Electronics and a member of the Continua Board of Directors.

-John Walko
EE Times Europe

Find out more about Zigbee! Visit Power Design India.

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