ELL-i is Open Source Power-over-Ethernet Intelligence.

ELL-i (pronounced in English and Germanic languages “el eye”, or in Fenno-Ugrian languages as the name “Elli”) is an Open Source hardware and software platform for intelligent Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) devices. ELL-i provides both makers and professionals with open source software, schematics, layouts, and instructions for designing and building PoE-powered, intelligent, wire line-communicating devices. Due to the wire line communication, ELL-i devices are typically fixed into buildings or embedded into larger, non-movable things.

An ELL-i Power-over-Ethernet node provides electrical power, distributed applications, and Ethernet communications at an affordable price and easy-to-install form factor, thereby allowing a new class of fixed and embedded devices, such as LED lights, active loudspeakers, safety systems, sensors, and actuators.

Why ELL-i

Our vision is to organically grow ELL-i from its modest Power-over-Ethernet beginning into a platform for modern, integrated electrical power, automation, and control over one cable. Anyone can innovate and install their own equipment. Today, just getting a simple light installed or moved typically requires a visit from a technician, changes to the official electrical plan, and measurement documents. There is an easier way to distribute electrical and processing power in your own home, office or factory. With so-called extra low voltage (ELV) devices, which run at a voltage lower than 50 volts, anyone can build and install devices. Of course, even 48 volts is quite high when compared to the 5 volts used in e.g. USB and touching 48 volts terminals with bare hands is painful. However, 48 volts enables transporting of tens of Watts for hundreds of meters sharing a common cable with internet communications.

We have looked at the existing standards and DIY components to find a nice open solution. While Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) was a clear choice as the backbone for the network due to its characteristics and good components availability, there are no DIY modules on the market. Therefore we decided to start the ELL-i (ELectrical Line Intelligence) community and project, to initially build a DIY board that can be utilised at the end of a PoE line. In the future we plan to expand the choice of various open source modules.

ELL-i Co-Operative

ELL-i was originated in summer 2012, when Pekka Nikander and Teemu Hakala decided to build a home automation system of their dreams. The ideas developed, and the ELL-i was founded in early 2013 when Pekka Nikander, with a group of Finnish engineers, decided to organise the platform development as an open source movement.

ELL-i is organised as a co-operative to ensure that the ELL-i entity remains into the far future a democracy with a heavy meritocratic streak. We see this as a requirement for an entity to be worthy of stewardship of a code and hardware design base created by volunteers.

ELL-i is registered to The Finnish Trade Register (ID: 2555591-8) with name Ell-i open source co-operative.

ELL-i is a member of EIT ICT Labs Business Development Accelerator and supported by EIT ICT Labs.