Zigbee will account for 85% of mesh IoT chipsets by 2023, report says

Research firm ON World has released findings of a report confirming that half a billion Zigbee chipsets have been sold to date. The report predicts that 3.8 billion Zigbee-based chipsets will be sold by 2023.

The findings of the report were touted by the Zigbee Alliance, the industry body that backs the Zigbee wireless mesh networking protocol. Zigbee is one of a growing number of wireless communication standards vying for dominance in the IoT space.

The Zigbee specification was ratified back in 2004, and the technology has since gained traction in IoT, competing with Bluetooth low energy (BLE), Z-Wave, Thread and other communication protocols. According to the report, alternatives such as Z-Wave and low power Wi-Fi have not slowed adoption of 802.15.4 chips in smart home products.

The same is true of BLE, the new Bluetooth low-power technology. “Adoption of smart home 802.15.4 wireless sensor networks increased faster than BLE last year despite growing interest in BLE by new developers and the completion of Bluetooth Mesh,” the report noted.

ON World predicts that 802.15.4 mesh chipset sales will jump to 4.5 billion by 2023, as IoT segments continue to grow. Zigbee’s dominance in the space is being driven in part by increased adoption of Zigbee technologies by the major consumer electronics hardware makers. It estimates that chips based on the Zigbee Alliance technologies will account for 85% of chips shipped that year. “Our findings indicate Zigbee leads the wireless mesh sensor network market and will continue to do so,” said Mareca Hatler, principal analyst at ON World, in a release.

Zigbee Alliance’s head of marketing, Katie Gengler, said 2018 has been a record year for Zigbee certifications, as the technology has gained momentum in the smart home space. According to ON World’s report, Zigbee makes up more than a third of the smart home wireless sensor network chipset market. Today, Zigbee Alliance-based chips are found in smart home products from Amazon, Comcast, Huawei, Ikea, Signify, and Samsung SmartThings.

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Zigbee Alliance offers a number of technologies for IoT, including Zigbee 3.0 open IoT solution, Dotdot, a wireless networking stack component that provides a universal application layer enabling IoT devices to communicate across Zigbee, Thread, IP, or other networks, and the Smart Energy standard, which was chosen as part of a smart meter rollout across the U.K. earlier this year.

Zigbee Alliance also offers certification for what it calls Green Power, an energy-harvesting feature that enables some devices to be powered without batteries. Qorvo, an RF solution provider, announced this week it has received certification for Zigbee Alliance’s Green Power v1.1.