Wireless group expanding IoT network, improving power and energy costs

The Zigbee Alliance announced a certification program designed to create business opportunities for members and a mesh network designed to improve power generation.

By ZigBee Alliance August 26, 2018

The Zigbee Alliance announced a certification program designed to create business opportunities for members and make it easy for new entrants to join the growing ecosystem of certified products that work with major consumer and commercial Internet of Things (IoT) platforms. The program permits members and non-members to adopt, sell, and market certified products under their own brand while maintaining those products’ certified status.

For new entrants to the IoT, or companies looking to fill a gap in their portfolio, this program offers an avenue to implement certified products from alliance participant and promoter member companies, and then market those products under their own brand.

Mesh chipset sales to exceed 4 billion by 2023

Industry analysts project Zigbee technology will ship in 3.8 billion (85%) of the 4.5 billion 802.15.4 units predicted to hit the market in 2023. As consumers embrace the smart home, and leading ecosystem providers continue to create products based on the Zigbee Alliance’s wireless standards, IoT product developers are eager to participate in and build on the network of thousands of Zigbee Alliance certified products already making meaningful connections between humans and the objects in their environment.

Market research firm ON World predict that 802.15.4 mesh chipset sales will increase to 4.5 billion by 2023 with the majority of those being based on Zigbee Alliance technology standards. "ON World has closely followed the IEEE 802.15.4 category for the past 15 years and has tracked Zigbee technology since before its flagship specification was ratified in December 2004," said Mareca Hatler, principal analyst at ONWorld. Several segments in the IoT market are experiencing tremendous growth, including connected lighting, smart meters, and climate control and comfort automation. Zigbee Alliance technologies include:

Zigbee 3.0: Zigbee allows smart objects to work together. It’s built on the Zigbee PRO networking stack and adds security layers so manufacturers can build full stack, low-power, interoperable IoT devices, certified by the Zigbee Alliance, and has an ecosystem of platforms, products and support.

Dotdot: Used in the ZigBee wireless networking device software stack, Dotdot provides a universal application layer that makes it possible for different IoT devices to speak the same language while running on Zigbee, IP, or other networks. Dotdot enables smart objects to seamlessly and securely connect to each other across a wireless network, and expands possibilities for developers and users as they build out ecosystems for the IoT.

Smart Energy by the Zigbee Alliance: Smart Energy is a standard for interoperable products that monitor, control, inform, and automate the delivery and use of electricity, gas and water. Developed with the expertise of hundreds of industry technical and business leaders, the Smart Energy standard and Certification program ensures Smart Energy products will deliver robust wireless networking performance and interoperability. More than 700 Smart Energy Certified products and a network of suppliers support the market.

Mesh networking technology announced

The Zigbee Alliance also announced Zigbee PRO 2017 mesh networking technology, which is designed to connect and facilitate interoperability between smart devices. Zigbee PRO is the underlying network technology that supports full-stack interoperable devices certified under Zigbee 3.0. It is capable of operating in two ISM frequency bands simultaneously: sub-GHz 800-900 MHz for regional requirements and 2.4 GHz for global acceptance. This dual-band option enables flexibility and design choice for manufacturers, municipalities and consumers wanting to connect products across buildings, cities and homes.

"PRO 2017 is the ideal wireless solution to cast large IoT networks across buildings, business parks, large facilities, cities and venues challenged by connectivity issues such as reinforced concrete and steel studs," said Victor Berrios, vice president of technology, Zigbee Alliance. "The deployment potential is tremendous for smart homes, smart buildings and smart cities."

Devices based on the Zigbee PRO 2017 network specification are part of Europe’s biggest engineering projects today: Zigbee PRO-based solutions are being deployed across the United Kingdom, which has a government mandate to roll out smart meters to 30 million homes by 2020 with an estimated $15 billion expected in net benefits based on consumer energy savings and lower energy generation demand.

The Zigbee PRO 2017 initiative had its genesis in this smart electric/gas meter roll out for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, which required a blend of 2.4 GHz and sub-GHz Zigbee devices. Product manufacturers can use PRO 2017 to build devices that utilize a single network operating on multiple bands to address the challenges of surrounding physical environments.

The network specification also provides key advantages including longer range, reduced power consumption and lower operating costs for low-data-rate applications ranging from home security and automation, to smart metering and connected lighting.

The inclusion of sub-GHz capabilities supports IoT networks for multiple use cases including smart outdoor lighting, use within facilities such as retail settings and data centers that need to monitor broad ambient conditions, and when deployed across harsh environments.

ZigBee Alliance


– Edited by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering wireless stories.