The ZigBee Alliance targets applications "across consumer, commercial, industrial and government markets worldwide".
Unwired applications are highly sought after in many networks that are characterized by numerous nodes consuming minimum power and enjoying long battery lives.
ZigBee technology is designed to best suit these applications, for the reason that it enables reduced costs of development, very fast market adoption, and rapid ROI.
Airbee Wireless Inc has tied up with Radiocrafts AS to deliver "out-of-the-box" ZigBee-ready solutions; the former supplying the software and the latter making the module platforms. With even light controls and thermostat producers joining the ZigBee Alliance, the list is growing healthily and includes big OEM names like HP, Philips, Motorola and Intel.
With ZigBee designed to enable two-way communications, not only will the consumer be able to monitor and keep track of domestic utilities usage, but also feed it to a computer system for data analysis.
A recent analyst report issued by West Technology Research Solutions estimates that by the year 2008, "annual shipments for ZigBee chipsets into the home automation segment alone will exceed 339 million units," and will show up in "light switches, fire and smoke detectors, thermostats, appliances in the kitchen, video and audio remote controls, landscaping, and security systems."
Futurists are sure to hold ZigBee up and say, "See, I told you so". The ZigBee Alliance is nearly 200 strong and growing, with more OEM's signing up. This means that more and more products and even later, all devices and their controls will be based on this standard. Since Wireless personal Area Networking applies not only to household devices, but also to individualised office automation applications, ZigBee is here to stay. It is more than likely the basis of future home-networking solutions.