Get your mbed connectivity fix with CSR at ARM TechCon

Back in February we announced that we had joined the ARM® mbed™ platform, an industry venture designed to nurture the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), as a component partner. This partnership makes it easy for mbed community members to integrate CSR’s Bluetooth®Bluetooth SmartWi-Fi® and GPS connectivity solutions into existing IoT microcontroller projects.

With ARM TechCon now underway, we are present at mbed zone booth 900 today from 15.00-16.00 in the main hall showing the following:

–          A GPS board based on SiRFStarV

–          A Bluetooth Smart board based on CSR1010™

Notification of when these boards will be available will be shared on CSR’s partner page

Whether you’re a developer who wants to build a consumer wireless home security system or you require connection for sensors to an industrial control system, come and talk to us to discover how we can help ease your efforts in getting your connected products to market quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

Posted in Bluetooth Smart, Indoor Location | Leave a comment

Bluetooth®: Changing the home audio market

This week, I discussed the factors driving growth of the home audio market in a guest blog for Huffington Post. A recent report by Futuresource Consulting found that wireless products have played a crucial role in ensuring that this market grows at a healthy rate and the blog looks at a number of other key market drivers.

Celebrity endorsement, the impact of Apple as well as the growth of soundbars and multi-room audio have all impacted this growth. And with CSR’s aptX® technology delivering CD-like audio quality over a Bluetooth connection, wireless audio products are only set to continue to increase in popularity, fuelling market growth further.

You can read the full blog here. And if you’re interested in hearing more about the importance of Bluetooth in home audio entertainment, you can view the panel discussion at the recent Bluetooth World Event.

Posted in Technology, Voice & Music | Leave a comment

Secure smart lighting: CSRmesh™ leading the way for secure home automation

Many readers may have come across this story regarding a brand of connected LED light bulbs which can be hacked to change the lighting, and worse, to reveal the homeowner’s Wi-Fi® Internet password. It’s a serious issue, and it has illuminated (pardon the pun) that security needs to be considered in depth when Internet of Things (IoT) devices are being developed.

On this note, I thought it would be worth allaying any fears that CSRmesh™, our game-changing protocol which allows for Bluetooth® Smart mesh networks, could be subject to similar breaches. We have considered security at every stage of the design and as such, it primarily prevents against eavesdroppers, man-in-the-middle attacks and replay attacks, and is considered highly robust.

To illustrate this, let’s consider how you add a new device into a CSRmesh network. The network is secured using an encrypted network key. This is derived from a password or phrase that the user is asked to input when they first download the app onto their smartphone. To make the process of adding devices into the CSRmesh network easier, it is possible to publish a ShortText code, barcode, or QR code with the device. This code may contain the device address (128-bit UUID), the 64-bit authentication code, and other short information that may be relevant. This is particularly useful for deployment of larger networks.

During device association, the smartphone app will exchange keys with the advertising device and an encrypted network key will be provided to the device upon completion of the association process

During device association, the smartphone app will exchange keys with the advertising device and an encrypted network key will be provided to the device upon completion of the association process

Eavesdropping

The next phase is about trusting the new device. Once each device has its peer’s public key, then they can start to generate a secret authorisation value using a complex algorithmic process. To test this authorisation value, both the configuring and new devices share a public key and then challenge the peer device’s knowledge of this authorisation value such that they can be assured that not only has the public key been distributed correctly, but that the peer device knows the authorisation value.

Once they have authenticated each other, only then will they distribute the network key, using AES-128 encryption. This mea

ns that nobody else can eavesdrop on this communication to determine the network key. All future messages sent over the network will be encrypted using the network key and only trusted members of the mesh network will know that key and be able to decrypt these messages. Messages containing a different structure or network key, such as those from neighbouring networks, cannot be decoded and are simply ignored and dropped. It is therefore not possible to control or listen-in to a neighbouring network, nor to derive the network key from it.

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

An optional authentication procedure can be employed using the private key to verify the validity of new devices before adding them to the network. A QR code or similar, containing this authentication code or private key, can be used for out-of-band authentication of devices appearing on the network and requesting access or association to the network. The smartphone, or associating device can scan the QR code from the device’s original packaging and thus securely obtain the authentication code “out-of-band”. When this device later appears on the network requesting association to the network and therefore requesting the network key, it can be challenged to also provide this out-of-band information or private key. This is then compared with what the associating device already gleaned from the QR code. If the two match, then the device is authenticated and the network key is encrypted and securely passed to the device being associated.

This authentication process therefore prevents an unknown device from accidentally or intentionally gaining access  to the network, a process known as a “man-in-the-middle” attack.

The relaying of messages through the mesh network is also securely managed. To accomplish this, each device that relays messages must also know the encrypted network key. Only messages that can be authenticated against a known network key are relayed. This allows devices that are near other mesh networks, for example a device near to a neighbour’s property, to only relay messages for known networks and not for any foreign network messages.

csrmeshloopReplay Attacks

There is always the potential for someone to steal the network key from a trusted network device, either by recording the encrypted information it is sending over the airwaves and playing it back at a later time, or by physically removing a device and reading its non-volatile memory. For this reason we prevent against ‘replay attacks’, someone trying to mimic a good network device message at a later time to try to gain access. A sequence number identifier is incremented and transmitted with each mesh message. If messages are replayed out of sequence then they are simply dropped and ignored. The network key data is not stored in a logical location in non-volatile memory, but is distributed across the memory hash table, making it very difficult to locate and identify. We would also recommend that any external trusted network devices use a separate network key that does not, for example, provide access to buildings or other secure areas.

The current release of CSRmesh for lighting supports only one network key per device, but a future version will support multiple network keys. This facilitates a ‘class of service’ structure for sub-networks within a building e.g. hotels which may require the enabling of different security zones.

 

Within the CSRmesh protocol there are also other security and control features such as:

  • Time-to-Live (TTL) counter: which determines how many hops or relays a message is allowed to make within the mesh network. The TTL is decremented every time a message is relayed. When it reaches zero, the message can no longer be relayed. This limits the size of a network and sets a boundary
  • TID message identifier: each message carries a unique TID. Devices receiving a new message compare its TID with the last few previously heard messages’ TIDs. If they are the same, that message is dropped,  meaning that messages that have already been heard before are not repeated again. This limits the proliferation of messages and prevents echoes and infinite loops in the network
  • A Seq sequence number: this maintains the location of messages within network and time. If messages appear out of sequence they are ignored, preventing record and replay attacks upon the network

 

As you can see, security is not something that is simple. Nor is it something that should be an afterthought in terms of design. It must be integral to the design of both the architecture and implementation of a networking solution. CSRmesh has been designed from the ground up to be as difficult as possible to be compromised, but it still includes the flexibility to increase the level of security over time as security algorithms improve.

Read more about the new CSRmesh protocol here. For a full list of features and information about ordering a CSRmesh Development Kit, click here.

If you have any security-related questions please post them below or on our support forum and we’ll get back to you.

 

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Interested in learning more about CSRmesh technology to develop a smart home device? Join our CSRmesh™ webinar

You may have heard about CSRmesh™ technology but do you want to hear more about how to use it to create a new Bluetooth® Smart device? If yes, then join us for the second instalment of our CSRmesh webinar series to find out.

In our introductory webinar to CSRmesh earlier this month, we provided an overview of the technology and demonstrated how it can be used by an almost unlimited number of Bluetooth Smart enabled devices that are simply networked together, and controlled directly from a single smartphone, tablet or PC. The webinar also provided information on how developers can use the technology to build intelligence into the network so that devices can communicate with each other directly as well as providing setup instructions.

The upcoming follow-up webinar will take place on September 23rd and will provide more detail on the ways in which developers can use CSRmesh to get their products to market quickly. The topics that will be covered during the webinar include:

•    CSRmesh architecture and its operation

•    CSRmesh protocols – association protocol, control protocol and models

•    Overview of the software architecture and implementation – on-chip and Android

Presenter: Dmitry Shipilov, Staff Engineer, CSR

Register Now: Join us on September 23rd at 8:00am or 4:00pm

In the meantime if you’re interested in finding out more about CSRmesh visit

http://csr.com/products/technology/csrmesh.

And if you’re unable to join the webinar please get in touch with bluetoothsmart@csr.com with any questions or check out our Forum and Wiki.

Posted in Corporate | 3 Comments

Visit us at IFA to experience VibeHub™, the world’s most flexible multi-room audio system

At this year’s IFA show in Berlin, we are exhibiting VibeHub™, the flexible multi-room audio system that we launched earlier this year.

The VibeHub platform can be used to build wireless speakers, intelligent audio adaptors, networked audio amplifiers and a wide range of other consumer audio products. It gives developers a way to create whole home audio systems that are quick and easy to bring to market. The technology can be easily integrated and gives developers flexibility to differentiate their designs and determine the end-user experience.

VibeHub allows end-users to create groups of VibeHub powered products around their home, from a variety of brands, to playback fully synchronised audio using CSR’s unique SyncLock™ technology. It has been designed with the whole family in mind allowing different users to stream the music they want, from a wide variety of sources, in different rooms, all at one time.

synclock-diagram

Devices can simultaneously pull content from multiple sources including digital media servers, Internet radio or cloud services and distribute around the home autonomously. The SyncLock technology inside VibeHub-enabled products allows for support of a wide array of connectivity options, including Bluetooth®, Bluetooth Smart, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, SPDIF as well as analogue for integration with legacy devices in the home.

Brands including BRAVEN, Crystal Acoustics, International Receiver Company, and Podspeakers are demonstrating their latest audio products, powered by the disruptive platform, at the show. Visit us at our exhibition booth (Hall 1.2 – Stand 103) to see VibeHub in action and learn more about CSR’s vision for a cost-effective, flexible and easy to use connected home audio experience.

Full house at IFA

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Developing an IoT device? Here are five things you should know about CSRmesh™

We recently hosted a live webinar on CSRmesh™ to give developers looking to build Internet of Things devices an introduction to the new solution which allows an almost unlimited number of Bluetooth® Smart enabled devices to be simply networked together and controlled directly from a single smartphone, tablet or PC for the first time.

The session was hosted by Applications Engineer, Alan Hay, who gave an overview of CSRmesh including background, key features, and use cases. The recording can be listened to on-demand here, or you can take a quick read of the five key takeaways below:

1. Bluetooth Smart market growth means CSRmesh can scale quickly

With worldwide annual shipments of Bluetooth Smart ICs set to surge to almost 300 million units in 2018, Bluetooth Smart is now integrated into millions of devices including mobiles, tablets, and laptops. As CSRmesh can be integrated into any CSR Bluetooth Smart device, this significantly increases the scope and scale of available connectivity.

2. CSRmesh allows you to increase the amount of devices controlled by a mobile device

Messages in CSRmesh networks are relayed throughout the network, hopping from node to node, allowing for significantly extended range and extended scope of the use cases. It also offers minimal propagation delay with ~15ms from node to node. Nodes in the CSRmesh network can be addressed individually or assigned to a group, with up to 65,535 devices per network.

All of these devices can be controlled from an application on existing mass market devices. These mobile devices can also be connected to the internet, meaning they can be remotely controlled from anywhere in the world.

3. The network is secure and robust

CSRmesh is based on flood mesh architecture so there is no single point of failure; if one device malfunctions, it doesn’t break the overall system. All messages are encrypted to prevent eavesdropping attacks and authorisation codes are used to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.

Messages are sent on three separate channels, all of which co-exist very well with Wi-Fi, and are sent using proven CSR silicon including the CSR101x™, CSR8811™, and CSR8670™.

4. It doesn’t require any special hardware

Unlike ZigBee, Z-wave or other proprietary protocols which require an extra dongle or plug-in device, CSRmesh communicates directly from the phone bridging to Bluetooth Smart Ready devices. CSRmesh is also supplied with a software library with accompanying API and is fully compatible with all existing CSR Bluetooth Smart radio devices.

5. The list of use-cases extend well beyond just home automation

Applications for CSRmesh extend beyond just smart lighting to heating controls, temperature sensors, security alarms, access controls and many more. As well as in the Smart Home, mesh networking has an exciting number of uses cases in the enterprise space, for example fitting industrial-scale buildings with smart networks.

Interested in learning more about CSRmesh? Visit our web page or sign up below to our Bluetooth Smart newsletter to be kept up-to-date with our latest news and hear about the next CSRmesh webinar first.

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Need help developing your IoT prototype with CSRmesh™?

Earlier this month we launched the CSRmesh™ Development Kit to offer developers the opportunity to get hands on with the CSRmesh  Bluetooth® Smart protocol. Designed to accelerate prototype development of new low power connected Internet of Things (IoT) products, the kit includes development boards, a USB programmer and access to the development platform (SDK) which guides you through to example IoT applications. Kits are available from CSR distributors and are initially offered with software supporting networked lighting applications, with updates for home automation and other IoT applications based on CSRmesh due later in the year.

In this introductory video, CSR senior applications engineer Alan Hay takes you through a step-by-step guide on getting started with the kit, explaining what’s included and how to download the necessary software. Check the below video to watch and get unboxing!

If you want to find out more about CSRmesh visit http://csr.com/products/technology/csrmesh or for a more in-depth explanation our latest webinar ‘An Introduction to CSRmesh’ is also now available on demand.  Our forum and wiki are also great resources if you are developing with CSRmesh.

Posted in Bluetooth Smart, Connectivity, Corporate, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Qardio makes health monitoring easy with CSR1010™ Bluetooth® Smart

With connected medical devices one of the most exciting aspects of the growing Internet of Things, we caught up with Qardio, a company in the business of making smart wearable heart health monitors. Rosario Iannella, Chief Technology Officer at Qardio, discusses the benefits CSR’s Bluetooth® Smart technology brings to the company’s latest device, the QardioArm, and his thoughts for how the smart medical devices market will evolve.

CSR: You recently launched the QardioArm blood pressure monitor, which uses the CSR1010™. What’s exciting about the device?

Qardio: QardioArm is a blood pressure monitor with a revolutionary design and effortless user experience that conveniently fits the modern lifestyle. The idea behind the product was to create a medical device that looks like an everyday object and is simple and convenient to have around at all times for daily measurements.

"We looked at different parameters like throughput, power consumption, module design and the completeness of the Bluetooth stack feature set. CSR performed better on every one of these points." - Rosario Iannella, CTO, Qardio

“We looked at different parameters like throughput, power consumption, module design and the completeness of the Bluetooth stack feature set. CSR performed better on every one of these points.” – Rosario Iannella, CTO, Qardio

CSR: When developing the QardioArm what were the top five things you wanted to achieve? 

Qardio: We wanted QardioArm to be easy to use, comfortable, clinically validated with safe data transfer and to have a long battery life. All of this has been possible with the use of CSR’s Bluetooth Smart technology.

The ability to control the device pairing experience directly from the smartphone application has ensured the device is incredibly simple to use from the very first time. A simple tap between the QardioArm and the phone and the user is ready to start using the product.

We wanted the device to be comfortable and the combination of the wireless technology with the compact design created a blood pressure device that is simple and convenient to have around at all times for daily measurements.

The low power consumption offered by CSR’s Bluetooth Smart technology means users don’t have to continually charge their device. And the small form factor of the chip has helped us deliver a compact design.

Users want to feel confident that data is accurate and safely stored. The encryption mechanism embedded in Bluetooth Smart technology has been crucial in helping us achieve that.

CSR: Why did you choose to work with CSR?

Qardio: We looked at different parameters like throughput, power consumption, module design and the completeness of the Bluetooth stack feature set. CSR performed better on every one of these points.

CSR: How do you think the personal medical market will evolve in the next five years?

Qardio: The market has seen an explosion of self-quantified applications in the last few years. Now with medical devices coming to the market with a consumer-focused design we will start collecting an unprecedented amount of clinical data that will help improve patient care. We will see companies creating predictive algorithms giving people the ability to truly achieve preventive care, lowering the unsustainable current trend of increasing healthcare costs.

 

The QardioArm records blood pressure readings and uploads them to the cloud, which can then be accessed via an iOS app

The QardioArm records blood pressure readings and uploads them to the cloud, which can then be accessed via an iOS app

CSR1010 is part of the proven CSR µEnergy® line up of products – click here for more details.If you’re looking to develop a Bluetooth Smart device and have any questions please get in touch.

Posted in Applications and Markets, Bluetooth Smart, Connectivity, Corporate, Health, Technology, Wearables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking to develop a new smart home device for the Internet of Things? Join our CSRmesh™ webinar

Are you a developer looking to create a new Bluetooth® Smart home device? Do you want to ensure consumers can control a number of your devices directly from the smartphones and tablets they already own, without any complicated set up? Then you’ll want to join our upcoming webinar on CSRmesh™.

CSRmesh allows for an almost unlimited number of Bluetooth® Smart enabled devices to be simply networked together and controlled directly from a single smartphone, tablet or PC for the first time. It also allows developers to build intelligence into the network so devices can communicate with each other directly. The solution combines a configuration and control protocol with CSR’s Bluetooth Smart devices, including CSR101x™ and CSR8811™.CSRmesh Development Kit

CSRmesh has initially been developed to support wireless lighting control, but the protocol supports models for additional applications. Home automation models enabling heating and ventilation control, security and sensing will be rolled out shortly.

The CSRmesh development kit which is available from your local CSR distributor provides three development boards and a full SDK to enable you to develop a wireless lighting product and evaluate CSRmesh technology.

The webinar, which takes place on August 5th, will provide:

  • An overview of CSRmesh: background, key features and use cases
  • How to set up CSRmesh: installation, configuration, technical design and models
  • Live Q&A: put your questions to Alan Hay, Senior Applications Engineer and Dmitry Shipilov, Staff Applications Engineer at CSR

Presenter: Alan Hay, Applications Engineer, CSR

Register Now: Join us on Aug 5th at 9.00am or 5.00pm

In the meantime if you’re interested in finding out more about CSRmesh visit http://csr.com/products/technology/csrmesh.

And if you’re unable to join the webinar please get in touch with bluetoothsmart@csr.com with any questions or check out our Forumand Wiki.

Posted in Applications and Markets, Bluetooth Smart, Connectivity, Corporate, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CSRmesh™ – A key component to the Internet of Things and the world’s most exciting technology, says The Times Raconteur special report

CSR was featured this week in the ‘Internet of Things’ special report, published by the prestigious Raconteur and distributed in The Times. It contains an interesting series of articles looking at how everything is getting plugged into the internet and how through machine-to-machine communications, it is making a sizeable impact on how we live. It’s worth a read, but definitely check out pages 8-9, where CSRmesh is not only mentioned as one of the ten applications making the IoT the world’s most exciting technology, but also because it features a great infographic exploring the segmentation of the IoT market.

“Devices in close proximity relay messages to each other to form a local network. For example, Cambridge Silicon Radio’s CSRmesh uses the Bluetooth radio signal found on every smartphone. The consumer connects to a Bluetooth-smart IoT device, which then sends that message to affiliated devices in a giant chain or mesh. Bluetooth can stretch 30 metres, but via a mesh, a message can leapfrog devices to cover much larger distances.”

Read more about the new CSRmesh protocol here. For a full list of features and information about ordering a CSRmesh Development Kit, click here.

As originally seen in ‘Internet of Things’ published by Raconteur Media on 17/07/14 in The Times

As originally seen in ‘Internet of Things’ published by Raconteur Media on 17/07/14 in The Times

Posted in Applications and Markets, Bluetooth Smart, Corporate, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment