ZigBee Sees Strong Growth for Energy Management and Efficiency Solutions

May 13, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

The ZigBee® Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in energy, residential, commercial and industrial applications (and sponsor of the upcoming nanoPower Forum 07), announced that its members are joining forces and leveraging their global wireless and utility expertise to fight the predicted global energy crisis. With this commitment, the Alliance has increased membership and expanded its ability to deliver solutions that are helping consumers, businesses and utilities improve efficiency, reduce the need for new power plants and save money.

The Alliance enjoys strong endorsement of its energy management and efficiency solutions by utility industry and smart energy grid proponents. Some of the world’s leading and innovative energy companies, ranging from utilities to suppliers have recently joined the Alliance and are relying on ZigBee solutions. Utilities such as CenterPoint Energy, Southern California Edison and Sempra Utilities are working alongside other member companies such as Cellnet, Eaton, Itron, Phillips, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Comverge, Control4, DCSI, Golden Power, Johnson Controls, Legrand, Nivis, Nuri Telecom, Sensus Metering, Silver Spring Networks, Site Controls, Talon Communications, Trilliant Networks, Tritech Technology and Viconics to use existing low-cost and easily installable ZigBee products and services. As a result of these Alliance member’s efforts, more ZigBee products are being shipped now to utility companies around the world than ever before.

Alliance members provide consumers, building owners and the energy industry with interoperable products and an open and interoperable standard connecting consumer and commercial devices to the utility grid. The ZigBee Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Profile will take advantage of other ZigBee application profiles for Home and Commercial building automation products, filling a critical gap and integrating Home Area Networks (HAN), or in-premise networks, to smart energy grids. The ZigBee AMI Profile provides the critical "last foot" connection from a smart meter to existing ZigBee networks conducting home and commercial building automation. It also provides a standards-based approach for utility programs such as demand response and demand-based pricing programs which will drive global energy efficiency to unprecedented levels.

In the U.S. alone, progressive utility companies and state legislatures are expected to deploy new smart meters in approximately 30 million homes over the next few years. Southern California Edison selected ZigBee as the standard in its HAN technology for its five million smart meter upgrade program. Many countries and U.S. states are considering legislation to provide incentives and encourage the deployment of AMI to offset the predicted energy crunch, avoid building new power plants and help slow global carbon emissions.

"ZigBee is the best answer for utilities looking to deliver innovative services that bring value to both consumers and businesses while also introducing energy efficiency programs designed to offset the rising tide of global energy consumption," said Bob Heile, Chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. "ZigBee has a global standard which lets product companies and utilities alike focus their time and energy on promoting energy efficiency programs rather than engineering country-by-country or state-by-state products. ZigBee provides immediate energy efficiency savings because it lets home and building owners use their ZigBee home area networks to participate in programs that reduce energy consumption. Ultimately, it pays to remember the cleanest energy is energy not generated in the first place."