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ZigBee market to explode in 2006

Posted: 13 Aug 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless sensor? zigbee? control technology? home networking? ic vendor?

Though barely a blip on the radar today, ZigBee, the low-power, short-range wireless sensor and control technology, is set to grow rapidly the next two years as the ZigBee standard is finalized, according to a report by ABI Research.

The study, "ZigBee and 802.15.4 Wireless Networks", forecasts global shipments of ZigBee devices in 2005 at 1 million, but will skyrocket to over 80 million by the end of 2006.

According to ABI Research analyst Chris Lopez, the industrial sector will be the first to adopt ZigBee devices, with home networking buyers following about a year later. Lopez said that 2006 would be the year ZigBee starts to gain significant traction, for two reasons.

"First," Lopez said in the report, "802.15.4b will be approved. This extension of the basic standard will simplify and improve interoperability worldwide. Secondly, ZigBee IC vendors who today mainly target European and American manufacturers will be ready to turn their attention to the huge markets of Asia."

Lopez added that while some vendors have brought out products of this type already, the ZigBee Alliance has been hammering out a standard for the wireless communication technology for the last two years. According to Lopez, the long wait has occurred because the companies in the Alliance "wanted to make sure it is absolutely foolproof. If it doesn't always work right out of the box, buyers will reject it."

Zigbee has also been slow to meet its promise as a dearth of available silicon and alternative technologies such as Bluetooth Lite and IEEE 802.15.4a drew attention from electronics companies.

Once the ZigBee standard is published, the study predicted a gradual but progressively steep decline in sales of non-compliant ZigBee-like devices.

- Spencer Chin

EE Times

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