The IEEE 802.15.4 IC market, often referred to as wireless sensor networks (WSN), will expand to over 850 million units per annum by 2016, experiencing a compound annual growth rate of over 60% from 2010 to 2016.
While growth is led by advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) equipment, significant uptake is expected in home automation, home entertainment, medical, and others, says ABI Research.
ZigBee is the most widely-used IEEE 802.15.4 technology, accounting for 40% of total shipments in 2012 and growing to over 50% by 2015. Current deployments and growth are being driven by the ZigBee Alliance, the industry body now comprising over 400 members including IC suppliers such as Freescale, Intel, Marvell, NXP, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments.
“Many IC suppliers have seen the potential of ZigBee and other 802.15.4 technologies and are helping drive new application solutions including the latest ZigBee Light Link standard,” says Peter Cooney. “No doubt these vendors see the potential of adding ZigBee to their arsenal of wireless connectivity technologies alongside Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, and others.”
As ZigBee grows in its key markets and expands into new areas it will see increasing competition as other technologies also continue to develop. One technology that will compete with ZigBee, particularly in the home environment, is Bluetooth. “ZigBee offers many advantages for smart home applications including large network sizes, low power consumption, and low cost solutions, however the ubiquity of Bluetooth in the smartphone and consumer desire to use this device as the home hub/controller will drive use of Bluetooth Smart and Smart Ready devices in the smart home environment, making it a strong competitor to ZigBee in this space,” comments Cooney.
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