THE NETHERLANDSA technology that has been commercially available for more than 15 years is now gaining momentum in the growing home-automation, control, and security network industry. With the recent development of the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone (DECT) ultra-low-power (ULP) operating mode, the technology is nourishing the market for battery-powered wireless sensor/actuator networks.

The development of DECT ULP was spearheaded by RTX Telecom A/S and SiTel Semiconductor, a Dutch company that spun out of National Semiconductor in 2005. SiTel has a commitment to provide more environmentally friendly solutions for power-hungry mobile devices. That drive led to the creation of DECT ULP, which makes it possible for manufacturers to develop DECT-based sensors and actuators. Moreover, it enables "fix-and-forget" sensor nodes that operate for over five years on a single AAA battery.

DECT ULP was introduced in February 2010 at the DECT World Congress in Amsterdam. SiTel, together with Danish firm RTX Telecom A/S and German companies AVM and Gigaset Communications, presented a live demonstration of a working sensor module. The four companies have formed a consortium and working group to investigate the requirements for having the DECT ULP proposal approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.

"The technology and the live demo generated much interest and positive feedback at the Congress. That shows there is a massive market opportunity for everyone involved in DECT and wireless sensor networks. We believe the window of opportunity is here, and the reaction from the DECT World audience tells us that the DECT industry is ready to take DECT ULP to the next level," says Jos van der Loop, Product Marketing Manager at SiTel.