According to In-Stat/MDR the future looks promising for the up and coming low-rate Wireless PAN (WPAN) technology, 802.15.4, and ZigBee. The ZigBee specification, now in development, will define the network, security and application interface layers, which can be used with an 802.15.4 solution to provide interoperability. ZigBee Alliance members are definitely determined to carve out a piece of the wireless pie for themselves.
According to the market research firm, however, quite a bit hinges on the ability of the ZigBee Alliance to deliver a final specification in a timely manner, including completed, successful interoperability tests. If these milestones are not achieved in a reasonable amount of time, other competing wireless technologies could take hold in these markets, such as a yet-to-be-determined low-rate Ultra-Wideband WPAN alternate PHY or a potential Bluetooth “Lite” version. So, there is an impetuous to move forward according to schedule.
According to Joyce Putscher, Director of In-Stat/MDR’s Converging Markets and Technologies group, “the heightened interest in 802.15.4/ZigBee wireless connectivity could slowly make ‘The Jetsons’ home of the future a reality, however, I doubt we’ll see that automated meal maker any time soon.”
In-Stat/MDR has also found that:
With an aggressive mindset, In-Stat/MDR expects 802.15.4/ZigBee node/chipset annual shipments to break 160 million in 2008.
Average sales prices will rapidly decline, however, the average pricing for all shipments will be dependent on the ratio of reduced function devices to full function devices.
Over the forecast period, In-Stat/MDR sees the lion’s share of the 802.15.4/ZigBee market being dominated by the 2.4GHz band; however, there is significant activity for 915MHz, primarily in North America. Additional interest could ensue for 868MHz when more channels are added for the European band, which is under way.