Innovation & Adoption – Zigbee momentum in 2021 sets groundwork for growth in 2022
Zigbee is a full-stack, low-power, secure solution for smart devices. This market proven technology connects smart homes and commercial buildings around the globe. Celebrating 17 years since inception, landing on Mars, and hitting the 4,000+ certification milestone, 2021 continued to mark growth and momentum for Zigbee.
Zigbee in 2021
Launched in December 2004, Zigbee celebrated its 17th birthday as a wireless mesh standard. Zigbee’s longevity is a testament to the maturity, evolution, and market readiness that can only be achieved with years of real-world deployment and adoption.
With over a half-billion Zigbee chipsets sold and nearly four billion expected to ship by 2023, Zigbee continues to be one of the world’s most popular Internet of Things (IoT) standards used by millions of devices and customers and backed by key players in the industry through the Connectivity Standards Alliance.
In 2021, the technology continued to evolve with the announcement of new features including Zigbee Direct, a new Zigbee Sub-GHz solution and collaboration with the DALI Alliance. Last year demonstrated continued success and milestones for Zigbee with the release of the new Zigbee Unified Test Harness (ZUTH), which enables more efficient and effective design and pre-testing against Alliance standards.
Steady Certification Uptrend
The Zigbee Certified programs ensure quality, interoperable Zigbee products are available for product developers, ecosystem vendors, service providers, and their customers. Zigbee Certification means a product has completed thorough, standardized testing ensuring that products which carry the Zigbee Certified mark will interoperate.
Despite the continued challenges of Covid and the international silicon chip shortage, 2021 was another record breaking year for Zigbee. The technology reached a new milestone with more than 4,000+ Zigbee Certified products and platforms available to the market and 1,000 Zigbee 3.0 devices certified. This upward trend in certifications continues from 2020 and is a reflection of a steady market demand, continued deployment, and widespread industry adoption of the low-power wireless technology. This year more than 530+ new Zigbee devices were certified with devices ranging from lighting, switches, in-home displays and smart meters.
This continued certification growth is the result of collaboration from hundreds of global manufacturers and developers who have worked to expand the interoperable universe for all users. The top 10 Zigbee product certifiers in 2021 include: Adeo Services, Hangzhou Sky-Lighting Co., IKEA of Sweden, Landis+Gyr AG, Leedarson IoT Technology Inc., LEGRAND, Lidl Stiftung & Co., Schneider Electric, Silicon Labs, Tuya Global Inc. To certify your products alongside these leading companies and take part in the interoperable IoT, visit https://csa-iot.org/certification/why-certify/.
Zigbee Goes Extraterrestrial
Zigbee is now on Mars! Zigbee had another memorable moment in March 2021 being used in NASA’s Mars mission as the communication radio between the Ingenuity drone and Perseverance rover. Robust, reliable, and low-power Zigbee is not only a great choice for residential and commercial applications on Earth, but is highly suitable for missions to Mars!
New Tools – Zigbee Unified Test Harness (ZUTH) and PICS Tool Launch
CSA launched the free Zigbee Unified Test Harness (ZUTH) and PICS Tool. ZUTH combines the functionality of the previous Zigbee test tool and Green Power Test Tool to streamline and further simplify the certification process. ZUTH can be used to pretest the latest versions of Zigbee 3.0, base device behavior (BDB) and Green Power specifications before attending members’ preferred Authorized Test Laboratory (ATL) where ZUTH will be used as the official tool. ZUTH issued 320+ licenses in 2021 highlighting the continued development and certification of new Zigbee products and platforms.
Additionally, the new online PICS tool allows members to complete their PICS electronically and generate XML files which can be directly submitted to the Certification Team or used with ZUTH for test selection. This new tool in addition to ZUTH simplifies the testing process and streamlines the certification process for Alliance members.
Active Development and Member Investment Continues
Zigbee Working groups have been tirelessly working on new features and enhancements, including Zigbee Direct and a new SubGHz solution, slated to release in 2022. Participation in Zigbee development continued to grow last year with 185+ member company participants and over 1,340 individual participants working to create new features and further advance the Zigbee technology.
As we look to 2022, CSA reached out to our members to learn about their Zigbee success and some of the latest Zigbee-enabled products to hit the market, making the lives of consumers more connected and convenient.
Amazon: “Amazon is a long-time supporter of major smart home protocols and standards—starting with the first Echo Plus which had a Zigbee radio and expanding to include Echo, Echo Studio, and Echo Show 10. By supporting major smart home protocols and standards like Zigbee, we are able to give choice to device makers so that together we can provide the best possible experience to our shared customers.” – Chris DeCenzo, Principal Software Development Engineer, Amazon Lab126
IKEA: “Looking back at 2021 IKEA Homesmart certified more products than ever before in our ongoing journey to create a better everyday life for the many people. Zigbee is a key technology in our range and in 2021 we utilized it not only to strengthen our earlier product areas but also went into new product categories such as Air Purifiers. Using Zigbee technology in our products enables us to go into new product categories in a simple and interoperable way. We look forward to continuing our developments in CSA technologies in 2022 and beyond.” – Rebecca Töreman, Business Leader IKEA Home smart
Legrand: “Legrand is committed to bringing standards-based IoT products to homes and buildings to create a smarter, greener, and more connected world. In 2021, we were excited to launch our new generation of Zigbee-enabled wireless, and batteryless wall switches for lighting control. Zigbee allows our switches, dimmers, and outlets to be interoperable, low power, and have a long-life battery. We expanded our global reach of Zigbee products with Smart Lighting for Homes and Hotels in North America. In Europe, we introduced our wireless and batteryless technology, harvesting mechanical energy for wireless and battery-less wall switches. These devices are installed without wires, have zero maintenance, and have endless longevity. Wireless and batteryless controls are designed to operate for over 50 years, enabling a more sustainable future.” – Bruno Vulcano, R&D Manager, Legrand
Somfy: “As the world leader in automatic controls for openings and closures in homes and buildings, Somfy has long been spearheading innovation in radio communication protocols for home automation. That is why we have chosen Zigbee for our range of interior window covering motorizations with bidirectional communication capacity, which will be gradually deployed worldwide. Zigbee is one of the most robust proven radio communication technologies for homes and buildings, offering strong networking upon a weather-beaten radio. This is just what Somfy needs for reliability, in an industry where product life cycles can prove quite long. Zigbee is also the path to quickly scale up interoperability, thanks to the unmatched richness of its data model. For our customers and end-users, this means very exciting use cases based upon diverse product types and brands.” – Jean-Michel Orsat, Somfy
TI: “We’ve seen customers adopting Zigbee technology for applications ranging from smart lighting to building security systems, and at TI we are dedicated to providing all the necessary products, software and resources for companies developing Zigbee networks,” said Kevin Koestler, product marketing engineer at Texas Instruments. “In 2021, we have released multiple products to help customers design Zigbee into their application with the higher-memory SimpleLink™ CC2652x7 and the lower-cost SimpleLink CC2651x3 wireless MCUs. As we look to 2022, we are excited to help further accelerate Zigbee technology into the market with new advanced protocols like Zigbee Sub-GHz.”
Tuya: “As a member of the Board of Directors of CSA, Tuya Smart has been expanding our commitment to promote universal open standards that enable IoT products to securely connect and interact. Zigbee is a mature and widely deployed standard that increases choice and flexibility for our customers. In 2021, Tuya launched the Zigbee-compatible modules ZSU, ZS4S-IPEX, and ZTLC5. We believe that incorporating Zigbee within a product will largely increase its competitive advantage because Zigbee enables the product to connect with dominant ecosystems. We’re living in transformative times when current market trends are centered around connectivity and interoperability. Tuya will continue its efforts to ensure more connections between more devices and increase compatibility for consumers. Together with our partners from CSA and across industries, Tuya aims for continuous innovation and transforming the future of connectivity.” – Alex Yang, Co-Founder and COO of Tuya Smart
DSR: “DSR has been working on Zigbee since 2010, choosing it for its reliable, robust mesh networking capabilities coupled with low power requirements and ability to work anywhere. We believe that interoperability is one of the keys to optimized user experience and it has been one of the main focuses of our development and approach. To support Zigbee momentum and market proliferation, we created a new business model of development collaboration and software licensing for our Zigbee stack and tools – ZBOSS Open Initiative (ZOI). ZOI community is growing and in 2021 added 4 more companies to its group. Through ZOI we hope to help accelerate standards development while maintaining high quality and support Zigbee current and future growth.” – Anatoli Pechkov, CEO, DSR Corporation
Ubisys: “The year 2021 has been extremely vibrant for ubisys! We launched new Zigbee products like the smart thermostatic radiator valve H1 or the six-channel LED controller LD6. We added exciting new features like the ubisys Dashboard and commercial grade automations for Human Centric Lighting. And we expanded our list of remarkable reference projects: The Økern Portal, the largest office building in Scandinavia, relies on our flag-ship ubisys Gateway G1 to connect 7,500 Zigbee lights to the cloud-based Glamox Connect dashboard. With the ERCO Zigbee Control Unit we brought ERCO lights, such as the Eclipse series, into the Zigbee world. We pride ourselves on outstanding and highly interoperable products and solutions built on our unique Zigbee stack, which has been awarded multiple Golden Unit designations. Together with our silicon partners, we have also certified numerous new Zigbee platforms in 2021 – the foundation for a wealth of new Zigbee products!” – Arasch Honarbacht, Managing Director & CTO, ubisys technologies GmbH
Bouffalo Labs: “Bouffalo Labs is a semiconductor company dedicated to providing low-power, safe and reliable IoT software and hardware solutions. In 2021 we certified our Zigbee Compliant Platform for BL70x chip-set and built a 200+ Zigbee devices network. BL70x chip-set has reliable RF performance, without external PA two BL70x devices can communicate with each other at a distance of more than 1km. Integrating Zigbee allows us to continue developing and offering wireless and low power solutions for the IoT.” – Ji Li, Software Manager at Bouffalo Labs
Join the Connectivity Standards Alliance
Stay tuned for more about the newest Zigbee features and how the features address growing trends in the IoT. If you are interested in implementing Zigbee technology or participating in the development of the new features and standards that drive the IoT, you must be a member.
The Connectivity Standards Alliance is the foundation and future of the Internet of Things. The Alliance’s wide ranging and diverse membership, robust certification programs, and full suite of open IoT solutions are leading the movement toward a more intuitive, imaginative, and useful world. Global membership increased in 2021 as new companies joined the Alliance to collaborate and evolve universal open standards. We invite you to Join Us and our hundreds of members impacting the global IoT. Visit the Connectivity Standards Alliance website to learn more.