ZigBee has been around since 2003, the year of standardization, but is not as common as BLE which started in 2010. ZigBee is predominantly used in only home automation solutions as home devices such because lights, doors, windows, etc. have adapted ZigBee as a low connectivity solution. ZigBee will continue to be used for these solutions in near and medium term due to cost involved in switching to any other technology. But the question remains: Will it grow in home automation solutions and will it be able to enter smartphones?
ZigBee has just remained in announcements and in academic activities. It has not gone beyond home automation solutions and has not come into smartphones. Is it because there is actually no need for it as smartphones can connect and communicate with devices at home through a hub?
Whatever be the reason, fact is that ZigBee has not been adapted in smartphones for a very long time. Now, adaption will become difficult because of availability, adaption and growth of BLE. Bluetooth/BLE is already available for devices to communicate with smartphones. The advantages of ZigBee such as support of mesh networking, support for IP and 6LowPAN are now available in BLE as well. Also power consumption seems to be lesser in BLE in ZigBee. These have paved the way for faster adoption and evolution of BLE.
Will there be a need to support ZigBee in smartphones considering that ZigBee supports longer ranges than BLE? Will usage of ZigBee-BLE-Wi-Fi combo chipsets in smartphones (of course, if used compromising on power and cost) force OEMs to enhance connectivity framework of smartphone to support ZigBee enabling smartphones to directly connect to ZigBee devices?
By the way, is there any smartphone supporting ZigBee? I have not come across any but let me know in your comments.
Sasken is a specialist in Product Engineering and Digital Transformation providing concept-to-market, chip-to-cognition R&D services to global leaders in Semiconductor, Automotive, Industrials, Smart Devices & Wearables, Enterprise Grade Devices, Satcom and Transportation industries.
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