ZigBee Alliance Forms Group Examining New Japanese Smart Home Recommendations

August 02, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

TheZigBee® Alliance announced a new initiative examining approaches for using the 920 MHz frequency band in Japan for home energy management . This initiative will evaluate use of the forthcoming ZigBee Internet Protocol (IP) specification and the IEEE 802.15.4g standard to help Japan create smart homes that improve energy management and efficiency.

Last December, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) designated the 920 MHz band for active low-power radio systems. In February, the IP-based ECHONETLite standard was endorsed as the Japanese Smart House Standard by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The ECHONET consortium is developing ECHONETLite to define the application for electric appliances and electronic equipment to connect to a home energy management system but it will not define the underlying communication layers, allowing the use of any appropriate communication standard. The Japanese product manufacturers are currently examining open communication standards for future products using ECHONETLite.

The Alliance has extensive experience creating smart and efficient homes having created ZigBee Home Automation™ and the ZigBee Smart Energy™. It will examine operating the ECHONETLite application on the ZigBee IP stack using the 920MHz option of 802.15.4g. It will also examine providing ZigBee Smart Energy version 2 for Japan on the same ZigBee networking stack configuration. Once that process is complete, the Alliance will evaluate creating a testing program and possibly offering certification for these devices.

"The Japanese members of the ZigBee Alliance Special Interest Group-Japan, including NEC Engineering, OKI and Renesas Electronics, will be leading the Alliance’s effort to examine these new requirements for Japan," said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. "This initiative allows our members to better understand how they might help Japan as it copes with its new energy challenges. The Alliance has a successful track record of creating market leading standards that help consumers create smarter homes that offer greater energy management and efficiency."

More news and information regarding the latest developments in Smart Grid electronics can be found at Darnell’s SmartGridElectronics.Net.