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Toshiba Bluetooth® Mesh Solutions

Toshiba Bluetooth® Mesh Solutions

Bluetooth mesh is a new network topology option for Bluetooth Low Energy. It offers many-to-many (m:m) device communication in addition to the already available one-to-one (1:1) and one-to-many (1:m) topologies. By this, it adds an important new dimension to the world’s most widely adopted wireless standard and opens up a plethora of new applications for Smart Buildings (i.e. lighting) and Industrial IoT (i.e. wireless sensor networks or asset tracking).

Bluetooth mesh has been developed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) with more than 32.000 corporate members. The organization has been founded in 1999 with Toshiba as one of the co-founders. To this day Toshiba is assuming a leading role as one of only seven promoter companies. Every year 3.4 billion interoperable Bluetooth devices are shipped and Bluetooth has a brand awareness of 92% among consumers on a world-wide basis1.

Global interoperability is one of four corner stones of Bluetooth mesh. The other three are industrial grade reliability, scalability in terms or area & networks size and government grade security.

Bluetooth Mesh Smart Plug Reference Model

Convenience, energy saving and Bluetooth mesh building infrastructure in one device


A smart plug is a plug that sits in between the wall power outlet and the power cable of a traditional non-smart device like a floor lamp, fan, electric heater, coffee machine etc. Its purpose is to make devices controllable - in the sense of turning them on or off - via remote using for example a smartphone or tablet. In addition to that, also sensors like temperature or occupancy sensors can be used to control devices attached to a smart  plug. The communication between i.e. smart plugs, wireless sensors, mobile devices and smart luminaires (see Toshiba lighting reference model) can be done within a Bluetooth mesh network. As a smart plug is mains powered, it is perfectly suited to be used as a so called “relay node” that can relay incoming messages to other nodes that are farther away and by this contributes to the establishment of a whole home Bluetooth mesh infrastructure.

Another option is to use a building energy management system that optimizes the whole energy consumption of the building by intelligently turning off devices that are no longer needed, i.e. when nobody is in the room anymore.

To increase the efficiency of such a system even more, a smart plug can transmit information about the attached device to the building energy management system such as active power, reactive power, RMS voltage, RMS current and power factor.

In a paper by Karen Erhardt-Martinez from Stanfort University2, she comes to the conclusion that energy consumption in a building can be reduced by 4-12%. Most energy singings can be achieved by changes in simple routines and habits. One of the most useful ways to build these habits is by providing users information about instantaneous energy usage and energy expenditure. Therefore this information from the smart plug can be transmitted via Bluetooth mesh and made visible on the user’s smartphone or tablet.

Toshiba has developed the world’s first3 reference designs for a Smart Plug using Bluetooth mesh 1.0 technology. It is based on its Bluetooth LE 4.2 controller (TC35678), which is known for its class leading low peak power consumption and high integration level.

By leveraging the schematics and Bill-of-Material (BOM) information that comes with the smart plug reference model, developers can base their own designs on the Toshiba smart plug reference model and reduce the Time-to-Market and development cost& effort. Furthermore, the development risk is low as the ready-made Toshiba smart plug can be evaluated even before the actual development starts. Please contact your local Toshiba sales representative to get access to a smart plug for evaluation purposes.

It also needs to be noted that a smart plug is only one possible implementation. The same circuit could also be directly integrated into devices like coffee machines, directly into power cords or power outlets.

Smart Plug Hardware Partitioning

Smart Plug Hardware Partitioning

Smart Plug Hardware Block Diagram

Smart Plug Hardware Block Diagram

* Bluetooth® is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.
1 Source: Brand Equity Study 2016, Lux Insights
2 Source: The Persistence of Feedback Induced Energy Savings, Karen  Ehrhardt-Martinez, Stanford University, 2011
3 Source: Toshiba investigation based on publicly available information

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·Before creating and producing designs and using, customers must also refer to and comply with the latest versions of all relevant TOSHIBA information and the instructions for the application that Product will be used with or for.