ZigBee smart grid capabilities drive investment in wireless technologies

Emphasis on smart metering initiatives boosts potential for technology to play a pivotal role in impacting energy management and efficiency for decades.


Ember EM250/260 RF evaluation kit includes everything needed to assess RF-level connectivity in any environment.

Fueled by a surge in the deployment of smart meters in several industries, Ember Corporation , a ZigBee wireless networking technology, has announced that it has received an additional $8 million in funding from its primary venture capital investors and strategic partners. This brings the total capital raised by Ember to $89 million.

"ZigBee standards extend the developing 'smart grid' out to the billions of devices, appliances and equipment where most energy efficiency goals will be achieved," said Ember chairman Bob Metcalfe (to read a Control Engineering article about Metcalfe’s role in the development of Ethernet,

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) . "Smart meters now being equipped with ZigBee-standard Ember radio chips and protocol software are serving as energy management gateways between utilities and consumers."

The market for 802.15.4/ZigBee devices is expected to reach as high as 292 million units in 2012, up from about 7 million units in 2007, according to research firm, In-Stat . Smart metering initiatives are widely believed to be a pivotal technology impacting energy management and efficiency for decades. As part of the recently enacted stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama, more than $49 billion was allocated to transform the nation's energy system, and over $17 billion of that will be aimed at electric grid infrastructure upgrades. This national financial commitment means significant opportunity for ZigBee technologies.

Ember also announced the expansion of its sales channels with the addition of new distributors in Australia, New Zealand, India and Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.

– Edited by David Greenfield , editorial director

Control Engineering News Desk

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