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Zigbee to gain traction in building automation

Posted: 02 Jan 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Zigbee? ABI Research? building automation? commercial building automation?

Zigbee will become a major player in the commercial building automation segment, reports ABI Research, as 20 percent of the segment will "go wireless" over the next five years. Asia will be a promising market for the networking technology, where a host of "greenfield" opportunities exist, the research firm said.

"Commercial buildings represent a huge addressable market of field equipment currently using wired field buses to connect sensors and actuators with lighting, heating, ventilation, access control and safety systems," said ABI senior analyst Sam Lucero. "Zigbee's features and functionality are very well suited to commercial building applications."

There are three major markets for sensor networkinghome, commercial buildings and industrial facilities. Zigbee aims to cover them all but prevailing trends show that commercial building automation is a market where the technology is competitively positioned over other similar technologies. At home, said the ABI Research report, there are other alternatives to Zigbee while there are questions about the technology's suitability in the industry.

In terms of Zigbee adoption, Asia is eyed as a promising market whereas commercial building markets of North America and Europe are largely mature already. "In North America and Europe, this is a tough and conservative market," said Lucero. "We are hearing that building owners and managers in Asia are more interested in using wireless than their counterparts in North America and Europe, where it is more a question of replacing existing wires."

ABI Research noted that Asia market is fragmented, hence there can be a rash of acquisitions in the region from the 'top' five vendors of building automation systems, which control 70 percent of the market. Of the five, Johnson Controls, Siemens, TAC and Trane have introduced wireless Zigbee products last year, while Honeywell is moving toward doing so.

Meanwhile, the research firm also projected that there will be growth from new, application-specific deployments in selected vertical industries.

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