What Happened To "ZigBee"

ZigBee is one of these myriad wireless standards that have a funky name and peddled by a committee called IEEE 802.something.

A typical IEEE 802.15.4 / ZigBee Device ( including antenna, RF data modem, applications processors, all necessary passives and 16 MHz crystal, about 15x40 mm )

Touted as a low-power, low-cost and wireless mesh networking standard ZigBee 1.0 specification was ratified in 2004. The basic goal of the standard was to wirelessly network and control heating, lighting and security sensors. The radio frequencies would be short range with a speed of 250 Kbps, enough for such kind of applications. The basic premise was to set up the network once, start it, and replace the battery after four to five years. This seemed ideal for the home segment and analysts and the media were confidently predicting the demise of Bluetooth and the market being awash with ZigBee products very soon.

Fast forward to 2008 and the ZigBee Alliance (the body responsible for standards) has very little to show for their efforts. Personal Area Networks are still ruled by Bluetooth, while newer standards like WiBree are gaining popularity. While there are odd ZigBee products being peddled on the Internet, they’re few and far between.

So what happened? ZigBee’s proponents say that they were too enthusiastic. However, they also promise that ZigBee’s time has finally come and millions of devices using it will be sold very soon. Don’t bet money on that happening soon though, and for now, you have to switch the toaster off manually!

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