ZigBee home automation: Transforming home security

Thu, 07/25/2013 - 11:55am
Ryan Maley, Director of Strategic Marketing, ZigBee Alliance

 A transformation is taking place in home networks as the number of communicating devices increase dramatically. Low power technologies like ZigBee are now connecting devices in ways that provide unprecedented control to consumers. For many years, home automation solutions had focused on enabling comfort and convenience in affluent homes, a la Jetsons’ home. However, with the growth of wireless technologies, the cost of both new installations and retrofitted home automation systems have been reduced significantly – while at the same time, features and benefits have increased.  As a result, even mainstream homeowners can now add automation and gain control of their home environment like never before.

ZigBee, the leading low power wireless technology standard, has been one of the primary catalysts in this transformation. Over the years, ZigBee has been deployed in hundreds of thousands of homes for controlling media, climate and lighting – not just for comfort and convenience but also for better managing energy consumption. Now, we are witnessing large-scale deployments of ZigBee technology in home security. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, other large MSOs, and even telcos have, over the past couple of years, rolled out programs to consumers offering home security services in addition to their traditional voice, video and data offerings.

ZigBee Home Automation has been at the heart of these new programs in home security for several reasons. It is a true standards-based low power technology that is proven to be reliable and scalable while delivering years of battery life for security and safety devices such as door, window and motion sensors, glass break detectors, smoke and fire detectors, carbon monoxide sensors and water leak detectors. ZigBee Home Automation 1.2, the recently ratified version of the standard, further enhances the capabilities with the addition of several new features that increase battery life for security sensors to over 7 years, standardize pairing of devices, and simplify installation and software upgrades for consumers and service providers alike. These features have a significant impact on operational and device costs to service providers and convenience and quality of service to consumers.

Home security is no longer a stand-alone consideration for home owners. It is now an integral part of the Connected Home that encompasses intelligent devices, mains and battery-powered units communicating with each other. Consumers are empowered with unprecedented control of their living environment even when away from their home.  These capabilities are offered and supported by world-class service providers. The result is more comfort, convenience, safety and most importantly, peace of mind to consumers and families. 


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