Some 500 million Zigbee chipsets have been sold to date, and the number is on track to reach 3.8 billion in five years, according to research firm ON World, signaling that the wireless protocol’s adoption is still growing among IoT applications.
Similar low-power protocols like Z-Wave and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) have not been successful at slowing its penetration. In fact, adoption of the Zigbee sensor network increased faster than BLE last year. “Our findings indicate Zigbee leads the wireless mesh sensor network market and will continue to do so,” said Mareca Hatler, Principal Analyst at ON World.
Zigbee makes up more than one-third of the smart home wireless sensor network chipset market, and by 2023, one billion Zigbee chipsets will be shipped annually, says the report.
“Several segment in the IoT market are experiencing tremendous growth, including connected lighting, smart meters, climate control and home automation,” The Zigbee Alliance says in a statement.
The mesh chipsets have been applied in smart homes, metering, industrial automation and other IoT markets. Leading consumer manufacturers have embedded Zigbee chips in smart speakers, routers, web cameras, sensors and controllers.
Adoption around the World
In various parts of the world, the markets are growing slowly, but are estimated to grow rapidly in the between 2018 and 2023. The growth of the Zigbee automation can be traced to the need of power minimization and reducing energy usages.
In North America and Asia Pacific, countries like US, China, Japan and South Korea are experiencing tremendous growth in Zigbee automation. In countries like India, Netherlands and UK, the market is also growing rapidly due to the trend of digitalization.
Some device makers opted for Zigbee/BLE combo chips which are relatively low-priced. Plummeting chip costs combined with the emergence of combo chips has reduced the risk associated with developing IoT solutions. This has resulted in manufacturers using Zigbee in a variety of popular consumer products including Wi-Fi routers by eero, Google, Samsung, TP-Link and Linksys; Nest’s Dropcam and CamIQ and Amazon’s Echo Plus voice-controlled speaker that is also a smart home hub.
Zigbee automation faces challenges as the technology is still at the initial phase. Many different organizations are operating on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards. Changing to Zigbee wireless standard will only result in increased cost of re-manufacturing.
Comparison with other Standards
Compared with other popular mesh networking standards Bluetooth mesh and Thread, Zigbee is compatible with most ecosystems, including Amazon, IKEA, Phillips HUE, Samsung SmartThings, Lowes Iris, Wink, Cox, Rogers and Deutsch Telekom (Qivicon).
According to tests conducted by chip provider Silicon Labs, Thread, Zigbee and Bluetooth mesh perform similarly in small networks under small payloads, but the former two outperform Bluetooth mesh when payload and throughput needs increase.
Selecting your IoT wireless connectivity solution should include additional criteria such as expected ecosystems and power consumption requirements, Silicon Labs says.
With the rise of IoT technologies, many different organizations are encouraged to join the Zigbee Alliance. The basis of Zigbee Alliance is to develop products based on the Zigbee protocol. At present, more than 400 members are currently registered for the Zigbee alliance. Most of the electronic and electric equipment manufacturers are ready to join the Zigbee alliance and make products based on wireless standards.