Tendril, Ember developing Web Services for ZigBee networks

Boston, MA—Ember Corp. and Tendril Networks have formed a partnership to help users quickly and easily build applications that draw information from ZigBee networks.

By Control Engineering Staff February 22, 2005

Boston, MA— Ember Corp. and Tendril Networks have formed a partnership to help users quickly and easily build applications that draw information from ZigBee networks. ZigBee is a wireless, standards-based radio technology that addresses the unique needs of remote monitoring and control, and sensor network applications.

Tendril reports that it’s developing the first Web Services-based technology for ZigBee networks, called a “service broker,” using Ember’s ZigBee-ready semiconductor and software platform. Tendril’s new service broker reportedly will shield developers from having to learn new programming skills or master the intricacies of the ZigBee networking stack.

Instead, users reportedly can build applications in familiar, higher-level languages, such as Java and Web Services, using the service broker to automatically extract and manage data transactions across the ZigBee network. For example, a company could use Ember’s technology and Tendril’s service broker with BACnet, a building automation and control application language, to create a new wireless control and monitoring system for HVAC equipment.

“We’re eliminating the need to‘node code’,” says Tim Enwall, Tendril’s CEO. “With the standardization of ZigBee, we saw an opportunity to help the larger community of developers accelerate the market by easing the system-wide application development. Similar to the way WebSphere and WebLogic middleware accelerated application development for the Internet, we envision building a comprehensive set of Ember-enabled wireless network services enabling rapid application development using languages/environments, such as Java, Web Services and .Net.”

How it works
Tendril’s service broker provides a rapid application development and deployment platform using Ember’s ZigBee-ready chips and networking software. The service broker’s service-oriented architecture (SOA) provides network discovery, extraction, commissioning, configuration, management, security, rule logic, and data management functions for ZigBee networks. The service broker extracts network capabilities into an abstraction layer, which developers can tap to build the application without needing to learn all the complexities of the underlying ZigBee network infrastructure.

Tendril reports that it partnered with Ember because it offered the industry’s first complete, end-to-end ZigBee-ready platform, which was already proven in real-world applications. Ember is a promoter of the ZigBee Alliance, and its semiconductor system is the National Technical Systems’ (NTS) “Golden Suite” for evaluating IEEE 802.15.4 products for interoperability.

“Tendril Networks is taking advantage of Web Services technology to bring easy-to-use and to-deploy solutions for sensor and control network application developers,” says Venkat Bahl, Ember’s marketing VP. “The beauty of Tendril’s solution is in its broadness and openness. It supports a variety of hardware platforms and programming platforms, delivering the system as both a developer and deployment kit.”

Tendril is a software and services company focused on turning wireless sensor/ZigBee networks (WSN) into general purpose computing resources. It offers WSN node developers, application developers and end users a method of rapid application development and deployment.

Ember develops wireless semiconductor solutions that help buildings consume less energy, manufacturing plants run with fewer breakdowns, and the country’s borders and infrastructure remain safe and secure. It adds that its vision is to help create an “Internet of things” by enabling the eight billion microcontrollers built into products each year to support low-cost, low-power networking applications in any industry.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor
jmontague@reedbusiness.com