ZigBee, an emerging wireless networking
technology, will see strong growth over the next few years, according
to a new study from ABI Research.
About one million devices with ZigBee will be shipped worldwide in 2005, the market research firm forecast in
a report released on Tuesday. This total is likely to zoom to 80
million units by the end of the following year, it said. The industrial
sector will pick up on the technology before home networking
manufacturers, the study predicted.
ZigBee is a wireless specification, also known as 802.15.4b, that is
tailored to building and home automation. With ZigBee, homeowners could
set up a wireless network that would give them remote control of
lighting fixtures, home security systems and other systems, for example.
ABI Research analyst Chris Lopez said 2006 will prove a turning
point for ZigBee, because it will likely become a standard by then.
"First, 802.15.4b will be approved," Lopez said. "This extension of
the basic standard will simplify and improve interoperability
worldwide. Secondly, ZigBee vendors who, today, mainly target European
and American manufacturers, will be ready to turn their attention to
the huge markets of Asia."
Members of the ZigBee Alliance, which includes Mitsubishi Electric and Motorola, have been working on the specification for the low-power, short-range wireless technology for a couple of
years. Once the standard is ratified, sales of noncompliant ZigBee-like
devices will start to fall, ABI Research predicted, noting that some
manufacturers are already producing ZigBee devices.