“The smart home is not a product, it’s an application,” was the message from Cees Links of GreenPeak Technologies who I met near the ZigBee booth at the Sands Expo. Cees gave me some background on his company – which designs ZigBee chips and board modules such as the GP691 with range, power consumption, and cost in mind – before proceeding to describe how ZigBee solutions are ideally suited for sensor control in smart home networks. As an application layer protocol, Zig-Bee is well positioned to ride on top of networking layer protocols such as Google Thread, and GreenPeak envisions that it will be controlled through smartphone dashboards to make complete home automation a reality.
Ryan Maley of the ZigBee Alliance echoed many of the GreenPeak sentiments, and went further into details of ZigBee with an explanation of ZigBee 3.0. The 3.0 specification eliminates many of the barriers previously associated with the various vertically integrated ZigBee application profiles, and should help advance the IoT by enabling horizontal application development. Add in Green Power support that allows for ultra low power devices, and, potentially, energy harvesting, and the ZigBee Alliance is well on the way to achieving its goals of saving energy and reducing cost.