Fabriq’s patent portfolio consists of a broad array of commissioning technologies, no-neutral wireless switch technologies, and power metering technologies.
Fabriq's commissioning technologies fully automate the commissioning process, thereby eliminating the need for skilled labor, reducing installation labor time & costs, and reducing human error. This drives complexity and labor cost out of projects and enables scalable mass deployment through a wide variety of VAR channels – a first in the industry.
Fabriq’s “no-neutral” switch technologies enable line-powered wireless switches that do not require a neutral switch leg, which is typically (80+%) not present in commercial building wiring. This lack of power at the wall switch has resulted in the installation of battery powered switches in the vast majority of Smart Lighting retrofit projects to date (approx. 500M SF). Ideally, wireless switches would be line voltage powered for retrofit applications since batteries represent enduring maintenance expense, environmental impact, inconvenience, customer resistance and inferior network performance. These innovations go beyond the use of ground leakage current to enable "thirsty / bursty" electronics such as mesh radios and offer the potential to dominate the wireless switch market, particularly the >100B SF retrofit market. Fabriq enabled wireless smart switches can be packaged and sold as a standard wireless switch (Zigbee, Bluetooth, etc.), displacing the use of battery powered switches, or as a highly differentiated Fabriq Auto Commissioning switch.
Fabriq’s Auto Commissioning and no-neutral switch technology work in concert to provide the first truly scalable Smart Lighting solution in the retrofit market. 10 patents, soon likely to be 16 patents, protect these Auto Commissioning and No-Neutral technologies, offering a formidable competitive advantage in the Smart Lighting market.
In addition, Fabriq's patent portfolio includes a disruptive innovation at the core of all Energy Intelligence and Analytics technology – meter grade power metrics of individual devices for virtually no incremental cost.
The portfolio consists of 11 granted U.S. Patents and 8 allowed (soon to be granted) U.S. Patents and is presented below.
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CREATING FUNCTIONAL WIRELESS LIGHTING GROUPS
Fabriq's Auto Commissioning technology automates binding wireless devices into functional lighting groups. A unique characteristic of lighting retrofits is that the information for creating lighting groups exists in the electrical wiring. Flipping a switch in a room turns the correct lights on. This information is lost after the installation of a wireless system, but Fabriq's Auto Commissioning technology automatically harvests this information during or after the installation process – making commissioning Smart Lighting as simple as flipping a switch, from the cloud. This coordinated harvesting of the existing lighting plan from the electrical infrastructure is accomplished without human intervention or presence and eliminates MAC ID stickers, bar codes and manual transcription from factory to install.
This technology is highly applicable to lighting retrofit applications and provides the simplest known method to commission a wireless lighting system. It is highly scalable and therefore equally suitable to small, medium and large commercial buildings.
The following 5 patents described below extend and broaden Fabriq's Intellectual Property embodied in 9560727, Auto Commissioning.
GROUND LEAKAGE CURRENT POWER SUPPLY
A well-known problem has arisen in the industry as a result of developers incorporating "smart" controllers that are disposed in a conventional wall- or surface-mounted switch. These controllers may utilize wireless communications to sense movement of a physical switch and turn LED lights on and off in accordance with switch movement, or they may utilize power provided at the switch to control other devices over a wired connection. More often than not, wiring for conventional switches consists of a hot wire from an AC power source, a switched leg wire that provides switched power to corresponding fixtures, and an earth (or "chassis") ground. That is, no neutral wire from the AC source is wired to the switch. In this case, the neutral lead from the AC power source is daisy-chained among the corresponding fixtures that are controlled by the switch. Thus, any controller that may be disposed within a retrofit switch requires a power source that is referenced to chassis ground and chassis (or "earth") ground connections have "ground leakage" constraints imposed by type of circuit (e.g., ground fault interrupt) and regulatory agencies (e.g., Underwriters Laboratories). These constraints limit ground leakage current typically to less than 5 milliamperes--a value that does not support ground referenced power sources for any practicable smart controller that is disposed within the switch. This has been, and continues to be, a significant problem.
Numerous approaches have been fielded to overcome the above-noted problem, the most obvious of which is to use a battery within the switch for the power source. However, batteries fail, often at inopportune times, and must be replaced. Other approaches utilize transformers and triacs to harvest power from the AC hot lead for use by a controller, but these approaches generally exceed the amount of ground leakage that is allowed.
A Ground Leakage Current Power Supply is provided that includes a hot node coupled to a hot wire of an AC power source, and an earth ground node coupled to an earth ground, where a neutral wire is not present. The supply also has an energy storage component and a low voltage power supply. The energy storage component is coupled in series to a current limiter that is coupled to receive rectified power from the AC power source, where the current limiter enables the energy storage component to charge to a voltage value at a rate that limits ground leakage current. The low voltage power supply is coupled to the energy storage component and to a return node, the return node providing a return reference voltage, and is configured to receive the voltage value, and is configured generate a regulated output voltage that is referenced to the return reference voltage.
MULTIMODE COMMISSIONING SWITCH POWERED BY GROUND LEAKAGE CURRENT
This patent combines two bodies of Fabriq’s Intellectual Property, Ground Leakage Current Power Supply and Multimode Commissioning Switch.
(Allowed) U.S. PATENTS
4 allowed U.S. Patents (soon to be granted) that extend and broaden Fabriq's Intellectual Property embodied in U.S. Patent #11116065.
U.S. PATENT APPLICATIONS
4 allowed U.S. Patents (soon to be granted) that extend and broaden Fabriq's Intellectual Property embodied in U.S. Patent #11240902.
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR COMMISSIONING & CONTROLLING A DEVICE OVER A NETWORK
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR EMPLOYING GROUND LEAKAGE CURRENT TO POWER A MULTIMODE SWITCH
VIDEO APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR IDENTIFYING AND COMMISSIONING DEVICES
Fabriq has developed patented technology, Visual Commissioning, that employs off-the-shelf video recording devices (smart phone, tablet, GoPro, etc.) as an integral part of the commissioning process. The technology leverages advanced video image processing and device based firmware to automatically identify lighting fixtures and sensors - critical to creating functional working groups - in an extremely accurate and labor efficient manner. Additionally, all devices within the field of view of the video recording device are processed in parallel, allowing large work areas to be commissioned in approximately 5 seconds. Without such automation, installations of wireless lighting retrofits are burdened with higher skill requirements, longer installation times, and greater error – resulting in high cost and user dissatisfaction. This technology is applicable to both retrofit and new construction lighting installations in office, industrial or high bay environments. It is highly scalable and therefore equally suitable to small, medium and large commercial buildings.
CONCURRENT COMMISSIONING AND GEOLOCATION SYSTEM
Fabriq's Geo Commissioning technology extends the Visual Commissioning technology described above with the ability to geo-locate lighting elements in commercial buildings, thus providing concurrent commissioning and geo-location services. The video recording device simultaneously identifies the ID of a set of devices in parallel, and the geo-locating device provides a single and precise positional datum. In this manner, human actions and interventions are minimized (and associated errors are decreased) and commissioning, geo-location time and labor costs are dramatically reduced. Devices can be identified, geo-located and commissioned after they have been installed much more efficiently than with legacy techniques. Additionally, this technology requires minimal training and knowledge of wireless networks and can be performed by existing lighting service technicians. This technology is applicable to both retrofit and new construction lighting installations in office, industrial or high bay environments. It is highly scalable and therefore equally suitable to small, medium and large commercial buildings.
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR AUTOMATIC POWER METERING
There is a broad movement in energy related IoT markets to measure power consumption of individual electrical loads in near real-time in order to both verify the success of energy efficiency measures and to enable a broad array of emerging Energy Intelligence solutions and Utility interactions such as Coincident Peak Management and Demand Response. Cost effective power measurement in electrical loads is critical to enabling high value Smart Grid transactions and accelerating energy efficiency program adoption. These markets demand near instantaneous sensing of critical information on individual loads that feed multi-purpose analytics. The “thing” of IoT in commercial buildings is the power, voltage and current of individual electrical loads.
In order to improve the efficiency of the overall electricity system, many electrical devices are required today to perform Power Factor Correction (PFC). For instance, the majority of LED drivers require a Power Factor Controller and Power Driver IC to create a lighting solution. These functions are sometimes combined into a single IC. To meet the demand for power measurement, LED driver manufacturers are also adding power measurement circuitry to their products. Alternatively, lighting controls companies have developed external controllers that include power measurement circuitry (current transformers, shunt resistors, metering IC, etc.) along with other controlling functions. These solutions are cost prohibitive and are impeding the growth of cost effective lighting control and energy management in commercial buildings. Fabriq’s Power Metering technology leverages the required existence of Power Factor Controllers in many electrical devices to automatically derive accurate power metering data without the need for additional components or cost.
Fabriq developed this technology in reaction to the need for a cost effective solution in the marketplace and it is applicable to any electrical device with a Power Factor Controller. It has been demonstrated in discrete form in the lab within several major OEM lighting products, yielding highly accurate results.