The ZigBee® Alliance and the Wi-Fi Alliance® announced an agreement to collaborate on wireless home area networks (HAN) for Smart Grid applications. The initial focus of the collaboration will be ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0, which is the next-generation energy management protocol for Smart Grid-enabled homes based on today’s successful ZigBee Smart Energy Profile. The ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0 is expected to operate over Wi-Fi technology as a result of the collaboration.
The two organizations will identify opportunities to use ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0, capitalizing on the unique strengths and capabilities of their respective technologies. This will expand the utility of the HAN in the management of energy consuming or producing devices, a crucial part of Smart Grid efforts now underway. ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0 was selected last year by the US Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as an initial interoperable standard for HAN devices.
Joining Wi-Fi’s communication technology with ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0 means that utilities, vendors and energy consumers will have more choice and versatility in energy management solutions. The agreement between the two organizations will help deliver close integration of the two communication technologies in a smart home environment. This environment will include devices ranging from utility meters, thermostats, and appliances to home entertainment devices, computing systems, and automobiles.
“ZigBee has always interworked with Wi-Fi using ZigBee and Wi-Fi gateways. Now there is an opportunity for the organizations to collaborate more closely for the smart home of the future, leveraging the intelligence of ZigBee Smart Energy,” said Bob Heile, ZigBee Alliance Chairman. “Wi-Fi is a major global success and an important wireless networking technology for the home environment. Our collaboration will help spur further innovation in solutions for the Smart Grid.”
“Working with the ZigBee Alliance members will enable more than the extension of the ZigBee Smart Energy profile to Wi-Fi,” said Wi-Fi Alliance Chief Executive Officer Edgar Figueroa. “The collaboration will help bring about the vision of a truly interconnected smart home. As a result of this agreement, representatives from each organization will be able to provide input on one another’s Smart Grid activities to speed any proposed solutions.”
ZigBee Smart Energy was initially developed to operate over a standard ZigBee wireless network to support the needs of Smart Metering and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0 has been designed to support other network technologies within the digital home, including HomePlug and now Wi-Fi. The low-power ZigBee standard is optimized to the needs of Wireless Sensor Networks by offering robust self organizing, self-healing mesh networking, scalability to very large networks, very low cost and complexity, and superlative battery life.