February 7, 2012 ZigBee Technology

What is ZigBee?

TJ’s enjoyed a presentation at the recent AHR 2012 trade show in Chicago, IL, by ZigBee Alliance.
In Zigbee Alliance’s own words, “ZigBee is the Global Wireless Language Connecting Dramatically Different Devices to Work Together and Enhance Everyday Life.”

These devices can include:  thermostats, HVAC equipment, light switches, wireless sensors, electric meters, audio visual equipment, computer equipment, telecommunications, and so much more.  All types of industries benefit from ZigBee technology.  In fact, ZigBee product specifications are created based on user needs.

How can ZigBee technology benefit the average consumer?

Home automation is really just the beginning.  Yes, it can add convenience to everyday life.  But, where it really shines is in the ability to increase energy efficiency and money savings through Demand Response.   It is said that consumers can decrease their energy use up to 14% JUST BY KNOWING how much energy is being used.  Demand Response goes one step further.  It provides consumers a way to change their practices based on certain parameters (e.g. increased electricity prices, peak demand hours, during emergencies).  ZigBee technology allows certain non-essential appliances to be disabled based on chosen parameters – automatically.

ZigBee is Smart Energy

Smart Energy features include:
Basic metering
Load control
Demand response
Text messages
Device support
Security for consumer only, utility only, or shared
Support for water or gas

There are over 200 ZigBee Smart Energy Certified Products.  For example, Control4 uses ZigBee technology in their products.

What are Utilities doing with ZigBee?

There are currently over 40 million ZigBee meters deployed by over 11 utility companies in the United States.  There are four components to utility use, including: gas meter, electrical meter, telecommunications hub, and in-home display.  Look for pre-programmed bundles where the consumer creates it’s own profile.  ZigBee is the wave of the future.