The enhanced ZigBee standard: more control, more choice
"The enhanced version of ZigBee arrives at a time when there has never been greater need in the world to have more control over our homes and businesses -- especially when it comes to reducing energy consumption," said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. "From a business perspective, Alliance members enjoy a strategic advantage in time-to-market, lower development costs and with lower overall risk. They're using those benefits now to create products addressing energy management, m-commerce, building management, home convenience and security needs, to name just a few applications perfect for ZigBee."
The ZigBee Alliance has global appeal and support with 200 members from 26 countries spanning six continents. These members worked side-by-side in the spirit of cooperation and contributed numerous resources of every variety to develop the revised standard. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end-product manufacturers represent 37 percent of the membership.
Well-known alliance members include Crestron, Eaton, Ember, Epson, Freescale Semiconductor, Huawei Technologies, Honeywell, Invensys, Johnson Controls, LG, Mitsubishi, Motorola, NEC, Philips, Samsung, Schneider Electric, Siemens, ST Microelectronics, Texas Instruments, Trane, Vantage Controls and ZMD.
Products based on the enhanced ZigBee standard offer OEMs a variety of control, convenience and energy management tools. The standard is optimized for use with consumer products and services and offers improvements and new features, including:
- Group Devices - OEMs may create groups of devices, while allowing individual devices to belong to multiple groups. With the push of one button, all lights in a home could be turned off, or turn off all of the lights on a single floor or a single room. ZigBee enables endless design possibilities.
- Easy Maintenance - ZigBee technology prevents a single point-of-failure on the network and allows for easy replacement or repair of devices through a simple process of storing a device's information onto a nearby device.
- Targeted Broadcasts - Broadcasts of commands can be specified for specific types of devices: routers, "awake" or "sleeping" devices. This feature reduces RAM requirements, lowering the total cost of the components for ZigBee products.
- Over-the-Air Setup - Opens the door for an array of new setup tools to facilitate adding devices to a network. The setup tools can be used to bind specific devices, such as a light fixture and a corresponding switch, together, and professional installers may use the tools to modify a network on a larger scale.
Siemens, a global innovation leader, applies extremely rigorous standards to the technology selection process. "At Siemens, we attribute our success to being steadfastly committed to delivering solutions that provide the greatest value and most significant benefit to our customers," said Kevin Osburn, vice president of building automation systems and solutions at Siemens. "Our active participation with the ZigBee Alliance exemplifies our dedication to providing a standards-based wireless platform optimized for the unique needs of remote monitoring and control applications."
"Schneider Electric is committed to expanding its market share through a variety of innovative technologies and by providing a variety of solutions that address the needs of it's customers around the world," said Claude Ricaud, senior vice president science and technology of Schneider Electric. "Schneider Electric sees ZigBee as one of those innovative technologies playing a key role in fulfilling that commitment."
The enhanced ZigBee continues use of mesh networking to communicate over the globally available 2.4 GHz frequency and 868/915 MHz technology is available in select countries. With digital spread spectrum technology, and the most number of channels ZigBee networks offer superb noise immunity. The ZigBee protocol is designed to accommodate more than 65,000 devices on a single network, creating a tremendous opportunity for designers to automate tasks and gain wireless control over manual activities, tasks and devices like never before. This simplicity of design and operation ensures consumers of all backgrounds can install products and maintain their network in minutes.
Thanks to unique technology, a typical low-power ZigBee device runs on universally available batteries for years, eliminating the need for wiring to a power source and providing unparalleled convenience and flexibility.
All ZigBee Alliance certified devices undergo two rigorous certification processes administered by respected, independent laboratories to ensure devices perform to the standard. Those programs are:
- ZigBee Compliant Platform - Testing ensures radio/microprocessor combinations and modules adhere to alliance specifications and offer reliable and robust wireless networking prior to development into a product by an OEM.
- ZigBee Certified Product - Designed specifically for end-user products, this testing ensures devices work as promised, allowing consumers or other users to buy with confidence.
Heile added, "Only the ZigBee Alliance has multiple suppliers providing the core technology used in all of our wireless solutions. As of today, OEMs can select from 13 ZigBee Certified Platforms as base components for their products. Because of this diversity and with millions of radios shipped in the last two years, far more than any other wireless control technology, OEMs are benefiting from unbeatable price and performance differentials."
Organizations seeking immediate access to the new ZigBee standard, or assistance with developing products based on ZigBee can join the alliance by visiting www.zigbee.org/en/join.