Bluetooth and ZigBee set to Collide
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The home automation market is set to have what could turn out to be quite a market defining collision. The household name Bluetooth with their Bluetooth Smart division is going up against the home automation specialist ZigBee for the control of the low power wireless connection market. However, this market is just one of many that both companies plan to try to capture. There are also huge ‘untapped’ markets in medical and sports that will soon start to welcome secure low power wireless communication.
With this in mind, it seems like some of these battles turn out to be a stalemate. Leading experts in the industry are predicting that both forms of technology have their benefits even in the very same market, so the likelihood is they will probably slot in side by side. For instance, Bluetooth has a great ecosystem of interoperable devices. However, the more complex systems are more suited to something like the ZigBee/RF4CE. We can conclude from this that Bluetooth Smart may pick up more of the ‘general’ market, but ZigBee will more than likely dominate the specialist market.
Both companies are expected to see huge growth in the next three to five years. Bluetooth Smart is expecting to ship over 1 billion units annually by 2016, and ZigBee is estimating 350 million. The reason why there is such a difference is because it is expected that Bluetooth will corner the mobile market, so they will control a large percentage of Smartphones, televisions and laptops with this technology.
Regardless of the outcome, the fact that these two companies are going head to head for the low power wireless connection market will only strengthen the market, which will hopefully increase the quality of the products on offer and decrease the price they retailed at.
Of course, for suppliers they now have the choice of either Bluetooth Smart or ZigBee. In the past few suppliers have opted for both technologies, mostly because it is much easier to
keep track of just one. In fact, Texas Instruments is the only supplier who currently chooses to use both for their range of products. With this in mind, it may not be long before this is no longer the case as the market really starts to take proper shape over the coming years.
While it looks like ZigBee will have major success it would be a surprise if Bluetooth didnot pick up a lot of the general market. This will be aided by the fact that Bluetooth technology is used in the majority of Smartphones and Playstation consoles. Just who gets hold of the other markets will depend on a variety of factors. One thing is for sure though, as the demand technology increases these will be two of the names at the forefront of development for years to come.