WELLINGBOROUGH, UK: An upcoming study by IMS Research, “The World Market for Low-power Wireless – 2011 Edition” reveals that, in 2009, of the 20 million IEEE 802.15.4 ICs shipped, fewer than half were ZigBee certified!
The market for 802.15.4 ICs using proprietary networking software is often underestimated, partly because the market is fragmented with a large number of small deals accounting for much of the volume.
Yet, there is clear evidence of some application areas moving to standardized solutions. Lisa Arrowsmith, senior market analyst at IMS Research, comments, “In 2010, the product mix of ZigBee, RF4CE, WirelessHART, ISA100, and proprietary solutions using the IEEE 802.15.4 physical layer looks very different to that in 2009. On aggregate, 802.15.4 ICs using proprietary software appear set to lose 20% of their market to ZigBee and RF4CE. Even so, their shipments will triple from 2009 to 2015.”
Some application areas are moving rapidly to standardized solutions. They include both existing application areas, and emerging ones such as consumer health monitoring devices and home area networking (HAN) devices that can communicate with smart metering gateways. Demand for standardized solutions is forecast to continue to grow, particularly where consumer markets are expected to develop, as they require interoperability between manufacturers.
Yet demand for 802.15.4 solutions using proprietary software will also grow. Proprietary software can offer simple network stacks, with relatively low memory overheads; and avoid the certification costs of ZigBee networks. Proprietary-based solutions will remain appropriate in cases where ‘open’ networks are not required or desired.