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RF Remote Controls: Not Just for TVs

Telink Staff

August 5, 2020


Smart home controlled by a remote

RF-based remotes make controlling your smart home ecosystem as easy as turning on your TV.

According to a recent Gartner report, there will be over 25 billion IoT devices in use by 2021, and global IoT spending will likely surpass $1 trillion by 2022. As the global IoT market continues to expand, a widening variety of technologies will start to leverage radio frequency (RF)-based protocols to send and receive data between connected devices.

RF protocols offer many advantages over traditional infrared (IR) remotes, including larger coverage areas, greater transmission distances, and less energy consumption. Further, only RF protocols support the latest voice control technology. While RF-based remote controls are best known for providing consumers with unmatched control over their televisions and set-top boxes, they also work with a wide range of smart home technologies. Below, we explore how RF remotes — and RF protocols more generally — don’t just support smart home ecosystems, but make them more convenient and reliable.

RF Protocols and Smart Home Technology

Forty-four percent of connected home users have more than one connected device in their home. This percentage will likely increase as IoT adoption becomes increasingly widespread and consumers start to recognize the myriad benefits of end-to-end smart home ecosystems. To date, some of the most popular smart home technologies that have incorporated RF protocols include:

  • Home Security Systems: Thirty-one percent of consumers who do not have a connected security system admit that they have struggled to remember whether they’ve locked their doors or windows, and 36 percent are concerned about what’s going on at home while they’re away. RF-enabled security systems allow users to monitor their homes via IoT-enabled sensors and cameras, and the systems can even be connected to a home’s smart speakers to support hands-free voice control.
  • Smart Furniture: Most RF-enabled furniture features embedded Bluetooth® speakers and video gaming components, but these applications only scratch the surface of what RF protocols might bring to the next generation of furniture. For instance, smart night stands emit a soft light that mimics the sunrise when you wake up, ensuring that your body stops producing melatonin so you can wake up feeling refreshed. While such pieces of furniture remain novelties, they may well become fixtures of many people’s homes as their features mature over time.
  • Smart Appliances: Smart utilities like thermostats, ceiling fans, sprinklers, and refrigerators help consumers save energy and, by extension, money. For instance, smart ceiling fan systems can monitor room conditions and turn fans on or off as needed, preventing standby energy drain and reducing utility costs.
  • Smart Lighting: Smart lighting fixtures can also help consumers save energy. Fifty-one percent of people without IoT-enabled lighting systems admit to accidentally leaving their lights on, but if your lighting fixtures supports RF protocols, you can easily turn off the lights from anywhere with the click of a button — or set the lights to turn off automatically at a predetermined time. To improve home safety, you can also turn on external security lights as you walk up to your door in the evenings.
Rf remotes optimize smart home technology

Investing in connected technologies for your home like those outlined above is great for your wallet, your safety, and the environment, but controlling this many devices can be challenging. That’s where RF-based remote controls come into play.

How RF Remote Controls Optimize Home Tech

RF-based remotes help integrate some of today’s most innovative smart home technologies and, in so doing, take them to the next level. For instance, if you use IR remotes to operate each of your smart devices, you will have to keep track of multiple remotes with one-to-one connections between two devices. RF remote controls, conversely, offer superior pairability and range, so you can connect multiple devices to one remote. You can also set up a voice-controlled smart home hub that allows you to access and operate all of your home tech with just the sound of your voice.

RF remote controls also beat IR remotes when it comes to transmission. Whereas IR is unidirectional and requires a clear line of sight to a device, RF is bidirectional and doesn’t require a clear line of sight. By using an RF remote that can transmit through walls and cabinets, you can move freely about your home as you dim the lights or adjust the thermostat. Finally, RF remote controls are more energy-efficient than IR remotes, so you don’t have to worry about losing access to your devices when you need them the most.

Take RF Home with Telink

Telink is a leading provider of Bluetooth® LE, Zigbee/RF4CE, HomeKit, and Thread connectivity solutions, and we have extensive experience helping manufacturers produce exceptional remote controls. Every remote is different, but our cost-effective, low-power, voice-enabled chips can be customized to meet the requirements of most remotes on the market. From smart TVs to set-top boxes to cutting-edge smart home devices, placing a Telink chip in your RF-based remote helps improve performance to ensure increased performance and convenience for consumers. To learn more about our applications and protocols, contact us today.