The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently certified the VLC ZigBee Connector, an LG Electronics-made dongle that is capable of connecting to an Android smartphone. Just like its name suggests, the device is powered by ZigBee, a set of standards for high-level communication protocols designed for creating efficient personal wireless networks in small areas. The technology was developed by the ZigBee Alliance and was previously used by LG Electronics for its wireless lighting control systems. The main advantage of ZigBee-powered networks is that they require little power and are extremely reliable, though they aren’t applicable to products and services that require high volumes of bandwidth. Regardless, many contemporary home automation solutions don’t have high bandwidth needs and can thus still rely on ZigBee for connectivity.
The VLC ZigBee Connector that was now certified by the FCC also features support for LG Sensor Connect, a proprietary technology that allows users to group fixtures depending on a number of factors, including occupant use, location, common lighting strategy, and daylight zones. The particular variant of the device that passed through the federal agency earlier this month bears the model number 9VS570V5DA and was initially submitted for testing in late April. Like its name suggests, the device will rely on visible light communication (VLC), a relatively new wireless communication solution that can be used for transmitting information over LED bulbs, i.e. their flickering patterns.
A prototype of the same product was showcased at Lightfair 2017 earlier this year, though the South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer has yet to disclose any details regarding its availability and pricing. Regardless, in light of the fact that the VLC ZigBee Connector was now certified by the FCC and the Seoul-based tech giant received all of the necessary licenses to market it in the country, its U.S. launch will likely follow in the coming weeks. It’s currently unclear whether the device will work with third-party Android smartphones that aren’t manufactured by LG, though that doesn’t seem like a likely scenario. Finally, the product documentation published by the federal agency reveals that the VLC ZigBee Connector will ship with a dedicated Android companion app.