In-Stat believes that because of the clarity of the ZigBee standard, the organizational strength of the ZigBee Alliance and the involvement of several of the world’s largest semiconductor companies, ZigBee will emerge as the dominant wireless mesh networking technology.

Wireless mesh networks are a mosaic of proprietary and non-proprietary implementations. The IEEE 802.15.4 Working Group was designed to create unified standards for short range, self-configuring mesh networks. ZigBee is a networking layer that is built on top of the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. The ZigBee Alliance is an organization that has been the keeper of the ZigBee standard and is an open community of 200 companies that is charged with the promotion of the technology and testing of equipment.

“ZigBee is designed to create interoperability among silicon vendors and facilitate common software and profile platforms for end users in specific applications,” says Chris Kissel, In-Stat analyst. “The addition of ZigBee to 802.15.4 gives an OEM or other end-user the assurance of multiple sources of silicon.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

• In 2006, In-Stat estimates between 4.5 million and 10.5 million ZigBee RF components will be sold.

• Commercial building control is, and will continue to be, the largest 802.15.4/ZigBee application.

• In 2005, North America represented 53 percent of all 802.15.4/ZigBee nodes in use.

The research, “Building up ZigBee and 802.15.4 Chipsets and Applications,” covers the market for 802.15.4/ZigBee components. It includes analysis of how companies differentiate their products on the component level, a status update on how countries plan to regulate ZigBee, estimated bill of materials of ZigBee chipsets and ZigBee modules. It also includes detailed scenarios about the challenges 802.15.4/ZigBee faces in market verticals—residential automation, commercial applications, medical, industrial and smart cards. Forecast breakouts through 2010 of 802.15.4/ZigBee shipments by region, frequency and application, and in-depth vendor profiles of ZigBee silicon, systems and software providers are provided.

This research is part of In-Stat’s Multimedia and Interface Technologies Service, which identifies and forecasts key interface technologies and multimedia semiconductors. It examines competitors, industry agendas, market shares, technology platforms, semiconductor technology and shipments. Technology penetration within a myriad of end equipment market is explored. Supply and demand-side insights are combined to examine these dynamic, evolving technologies.