DECT - A New Trick?

Is there life in the DECT protocol yet? We talk to the ULE Alliance and their plans to join the M2M party
Published: Tue 07 Jan 2014
Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) has been around for 2 decades and has been used primarily for the cordless home telephone market. The wireless technology boasts unique characteristics that make it very attractive for home automation, explains Mr Avi Barel, Director of Business Development, ULE Alliance. DECT is a better option than other short range wireless technology, such as WIFI, Zigby and Bluetooth, for the following reasons:

  • It is interference-free. It has a dedicated spectrum which is not shared by other technologies which are generally prone to interference.
  • Transmission power is higher than all the other technologies. The technology has a very long range, even longer than WI-FI. This is especially attractive for home automation. The homeowner doesn’t have to worry about the base station location as coverage is not an issue. This makes DECT a perfect foundation for home automation

Overcoming challenges

We asked Mr Barel what changes had to be made for DECT technology to be successfully used in home automation. He lists two challenges which had to be overcome:

  1. Battery life had to be extended from a couple of weeks to a couple of years
  2. Security had to be developed so that hackers will find it impossible to penetrate the system

The home automation market is saturated with new solutions. With the increasing number of proprietary protocols, there is a risk that manufacturers will stop making smart appliances as they don’t know what chip set to use. We asked what the DECT solution has to offer. Mr Barel listed the following as unique points that set DECT apart from other home automation solutions:

  • Interference-free communication
  • Highest range
  • Many devices can be connected with DECT, providing more customer control
  • Low cost of ownership-“DECT is cheaper than a family pizza,” says Mr Barel

Mr Barel also points out that ULE Alliance has experience in its favor. The company views itself as the “new but most experienced kid on the block’.

The ULE Alliance is a non-profit organization initiated by the DECT Forum. The Company’s vision is to establish ULE as the world’s leading control network eco-system for home and building use by leveraging the proven reliability and range of the DECT radio technology currently in use in 100’s of millions of products worldwide. The ULE Alliance allows its members to quickly develop new products and services in the areas of Home Automation, Security and Climate control by ensuring perfect interoperability between the products of the different vendors conforming to the standards, thereby delivering true customer satisfaction and increasing the overall size of the market for all participants.

The Alliance currently has 40 members and is expanding fast due to the high level of interest. A lot of members, especially Telco’s, have DECT experience and expertise which makes adoption smoother but there are also those who fall outside the traditional DECT community. “This is an indication of high level interest amongst members who have a wide range of interests and expertise. Members include the likes of Panasonic, Netgear, Gigaset, and Deutsche Telekom.

Mr Barel points out that ULE is probably over 10 years late in introducing itself as a home automation solution. But, despite this delay (in comparison to other short range technologies), the solutions are worth the wait. Mr Barel believes that they are “doing it right.” He concludes, “If you do it right, you have the right to exist.”