Over the last 9 months, we have been hard at work completely revamping the whole Bond platform, from apps, to skills, to firmware, and even hardware. I want to fill in the Bond BETA community on what parts of “V2” we have released thus far, and what you will see in the weeks to come.
First, you will notice that we now refer not to the “BOND” product, but to “Bond Bridge”. The rename is required because we are working on new Bond-branded products and need to differentiate the Bridge product.
Furthermore, we have a new logo to go with the Bond Home (V2) app, as you will see below.
The original Bond hardware used a Linux-based WiFi chip that turned out to have some compatibility issues with certain routers. We therefore redesigned the Bond hardware around a new WiFi chip that is WiFi Alliance certified. The new Bond units (codename Zermatt) have serial numbers starting with
ZZ (rather than old units, codename Snowbird, starting with
ZZ (Zermatt) units have the same feature set as the
B (Snowbird) units, and so they keep the same model number BD-1000.
A few other perks on the Zermatt units:
much faster boot up time: ~5-10 sec to power on and connect to WiFi, versus ~60-90 seconds for Snowbird.
expanded frequency range: 285.5 - 505.5 MHz, versus 300 - 450 MHz on Snowbird. (Currently the expanded range is not being used, but this can be available with a firmware update)
the hardware includes a bluetooth radio, which could potentially be used for improving the setup experience, or for control over bluetooth. But, this would be technically quite challenging, and have little “feature” benefit, so we have not invested firmware development time here.
Zermatt launched in January and is now the standard hardware behind the Bond Bridge (BD-1000).
We rewrote the firmware for Bond from the ground up to be portable to both the Snowbird and Zermatt models, as well as future Bond products. The new firmware is a platform that allows us to develop and test new features much faster than before.
One major advantage of the V2 firmware is that we use a much improved database format for storing device and signal data on the Bond. The original database did not support compaction, so only a very limited number (6) of devices could be added to the Bond before the database filled up.
The new database has space for up to 100 devices and associated signals, schedules, etc., and supports compaction so that when devices are deleted the corresponding memory is reclaimed.
All Zermatt units run V2 firmware. Snowbird units are a bit more difficult to migrate to V2 due to the need for an on-device database migration, and so we have an on-going V2 beta program for the Snowbird units.
The 100 device limit will be available only when using the “V2” Apps, because the V1 apps still use the legacy “V1” API.
Smart by Bond (formerly Powered by Bond)
As most of you already know, we are working with major ceiling fan manufacturers on new smart fans with Bond technology inside. The idea is that with a Smart by Bond fan, you will always see the correct device state, even while using the factory remote, and no Bond Bridge is required.
You will be seeing some announcements on this during the summer.
This is even good news for Bond Bridge users who do not plan to upgrade their fans! Supporting smart fans has forced us to drastically improve the state reporting mechanism and reduce latency, and those improvements are shared via the V2 firmware, so you will be seeing much better latencies on Bond Bridge in the near future.
The original Bond was designed as a proprietary product that just works with the Bond app and Bond-sanctioned integrations. It quickly became clear in working with the community that the product becomes infinitely more useful when there is an open API.
So, we developed a single HTTP(S) API that works both from the cloud and even locally.
The new API works in terms of so-called Features consisting of Actions, Properties, and State variables, which should allow for a much easier experience writing 3rd-party integrations for Bond products.
The Local API is made possible by V2 firmware, which is already on ZZ units, and soon to be available publicly for serials starting A/B. Docs here: docs-local.appbond.com
In order to support both Bond Bridge and Smart by Bond, as well as to support the V2 API, we needed to also re-write the Bond apps. This proved to be a huge project, but we have finally gotten this in shape for release!
The new app is called “Bond Home”, and is available now on the Google Play store as a preview. But note that support for Bond Bridge still needs some more love over the next month, to support the full range of devices in our database.
We will of course have a public announcement about this once we have Bridge support fully tested.
I think you will like what you see. Our engineers and designers have really taken pride in the new app, and we cannot wait to get it into your hands!
The V2 API is much more powerful, and is allowing us to make better 1st-party integrations.
We’ve revamped the Alexa and Google Assistant integrations, so that now you can dim lights using voice (assuming your fan remote does not have a “hold to dim” function), as well as get proactive state updates into your Alexa/Google Home apps and tabletop hubs.
We also have a SmartThings integration for ST’s latest platform (Samsung Connect) which should be available within days on their platform. ST Classic support may be available from a community member by using the V2 API.
Note that these integrations work only on the Bond V2 platform, so you will need to be running the new Bond Home app.
As we have long promised, with the V2 launch we are finally again in a position to bring new features to the Bond. You will actually see Shades support rolling out in the coming weeks, and we have a few surprises for ceiling fan users!
I hope that gives you all a bit better idea what we have been up to, and what is in store for Bond in the season to come!