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Bluetooth, ZigBee to compete in connected homes

Posted: 16 Aug 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Bluetooth? ZigBee? remote control market? RF4CE? smartphone?

According to ABI Research, Bluetooth Smart and ZigBee will be in a collision course in new and emerging markets, particularly connected home devices and wireless sensors. The key battlegrounds include remote controls, TVs and STBs in the home and wireless sensors for medical and health applications, sports and home automation, added the market research firm.

When analyzing these markets holistically there will be competition between Bluetooth Smart and ZigBee but when delving deeper into the markets it is clear that there are specific sections that will be more suited to one technology or the other.

"The remote control market is one which highlights a need for both technologies, here they each have their own niches that they will be most successful in," stated Peter Cooney, ABI Research practice director. "For simple point-to-point control, Bluetooth Smart is the obvious choice due to its massive ecosystem of interoperable devices, but for more complex systems with high node counts then ZigBee/RF4CE is expected to be more successful as Bluetooth has a limited node count in practice".

Both technologies are expected to see rapid growth from 2013 onwards, with Bluetooth Smart enabled device shipments reaching over 1 billion annual shipments by 2016, far exceeding those for ZigBee. The success of Bluetooth Smart will be largely driven by the substantial ecosystem of Bluetooth Smart Ready devices such as smartphones, TVs, laptops, etc. Whilst lower, ZigBee devices shipments will be significant, reaching over 350 million by 2016.

The growth of both the Bluetooth Smart and ZigBee markets will bring many rewards to those suppliers that enter the market early and successfully dominate it. To date, most suppliers have chosen to target only one of these two markets. CSR and Nordic Semiconductor are among those that are pursuing the Bluetooth Smart market. Freescale Semiconductor and GreenPeak Technologies are targeting the ZigBee market.

- Nick Flaherty
??EE Times





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