The Zigbee Alliance, an association of companies creating, maintaining and delivering open, global standards for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced Wednesday availability of Zigbee PRO 2017, the latest offering in the Alliance’s mesh networking technology designed to connect and facilitate interoperability between smart devices. Zigbee PRO is the underlying network technology that supports full-stack interoperable devices certified under Zigbee 3.0.
Devices based on the Zigbee PRO 2017 network specification are part of Europe’s biggest engineering projects. Zigbee PRO-based solutions are being deployed across the United Kingdom, which has a government mandate to roll out smart meters to approximately 30 million homes by 2020 with an estimated $15 billion expected in net benefits based on consumer energy savings and lower energy generation demand.
With PRO 2017, Zigbee is a mesh network capable of operating in two ISM frequency bands simultaneously: sub-GHz 800-900 MHz for regional requirements and 2.4 GHz for global acceptance. This dual-band option enables flexibility and design choice for manufacturers, municipalities and consumers wanting to connect products across buildings, cities and homes.
“PRO 2017 is the ideal wireless solution to cast large IoT networks across buildings, business parks, large facilities, cities and venues challenged by connectivity issues such as reinforced concrete and steel studs,” said Victor Berrios, vice president of technology, Zigbee Alliance. “The deployment potential is tremendous for smart homes, smart buildings and smart cities.”
The Zigbee PRO 2017 initiative had its genesis in this smart electric/gas meter roll out for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (formally the Department of Energy & Climate Change), which required a blend of 2.4 GHz and sub-GHz Zigbee devices (on average, there are five nodes – where Zigbee technology lives – used per household). As a global, open standard driven by industry leaders, Zigbee Alliance member companies worked together to address this need, and to bring the Zigbee PRO 2017 network specification to market.
Leveraging Zigbee PRO 2017, product manufacturers can now build devices that utilize a single network operating on multiple bands to address the challenges of surrounding physical environments. The inclusion of sub-GHz capabilities supports IoT networks for multiple use cases including smart outdoor lighting, use within facilities such as retail settings and data centers that need to monitor broad ambient conditions, and when deployed across harsh environments. The Zigbee PRO 2017 network specification provides key advantages including longer range, reduced power consumption and lower operating costs for low-data-rate applications ranging from home security and automation, to smart metering and connected lighting.
According to Parks Associates, more than 442 million connected consumer devices – including connected entertainment, mobile, health and smart home devices – will be sold in the U.S. in 2020. “As both the volume and breadth of connected products grows and the market moves past early adopters, network reliability is paramount,” said Tom Kerber, director, IoT Strategy at Parks Associates. “Dual-band radios and sub-GHz frequencies will provide reliable network solutions to cover the huge variety of architectures and building types throughout the world.”
To complement PRO 2017-based products, the Alliance offers its Zigbee Certified products program, which ensures that quality, interoperable Zigbee devices are available for ecosystem developers, service providers and their customers. Leveraging Zigbee technology to build for the IoT now gets innovators into a rapidly growing market today, puts them on a proven and reliable path toward dotdot – the universal language for the IoT – and fosters collaboration between hundreds of leading tech organizations invested in and designing for Zigbee-based networks.