The Zigbee Alliance has announced the availability of Zigbee PRO 2017, the latest offering in the Alliance’s mesh networking technology designed to connect and facilitate interoperability between smart devices. Zigbee PRO is the underlying network technology that supports full-stack interoperable devices certified under Zigbee 3.0.
ZigBee PRO 2017 is the first mesh network capable of operating in two ISM frequency bands simultaneously: sub-GHz 800-900MHz for regional requirements and 2.4GHz for global acceptance.
This dual-band option enables flexibility and design choice for manufacturers, municipalities and consumers wanting to connect products across buildings, cities and homes.
“PRO 2017 is the ideal wireless solution to cast large IoT networks across buildings, business parks, large facilities, cities and venues challenged by connectivity issues such as reinforced concrete and steel studs,” says Victor Berrios, vice president of technology, Zigbee Alliance. “The deployment potential is tremendous for smart homes, smart buildings and smart cities.”
Devices based on the Zigbee PRO 2017 network specification are part of Europe’s biggest engineering projects today: these solutions are being deployed across the United Kingdom, which has a government mandate to roll out smart meters to approximately 30 million homes by 2020 with an estimated $15 billion expected in net benefits based on consumer energy savings and lower energy generation demand.
The PRO 2017 initiative had its genesis in this smart electric/gas meter roll out for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (formally the Department of Energy & Climate Change), which required a blend of 2.4 GHz and sub-GHz Zigbee devices (on average, there are five nodes used per household). As a global, open standard driven by industry leaders, Zigbee Alliance member companies worked together to address this need, and to bring the Zigbee PRO 2017 network specification to market.
What ZigBee PRO 2017 Means to Manufacturers
Leveraging the new technology, product manufacturers can now build devices that utilize a single network operating on multiple bands to address the challenges of surrounding physical environments.
The inclusion of sub-GHz capabilities supports IoT networks for multiple use cases including smart outdoor lighting, use within facilities such as retail settings and data centers that need to monitor broad ambient conditions, and when deployed across harsh environments. The PRO 2017 network specification provides longer range, reduced power consumption and lower operating costs for low-data-rate applications ranging from home security and automation, to smart metering and connected lighting.
According to Parks Associates, more than 442 million connected consumer devices – including connected entertainment, mobile, health and smart home devices – will be sold in the U.S. in 2020.
“As both the volume and breadth of connected products grows and the market moves past early adopters, network reliability is paramount,” says Tom Kerber, director, IoT Strategy at Parks Associates. “Dual-band radios and sub-GHz frequencies will provide reliable network solutions to cover the huge variety of architectures and building types throughout the world.”
To complement PRO 2017-based products, the Alliance offers its Zigbee Certified products program, which ensures that quality, interoperable devices are available for ecosystem developers, service providers and their customers.
According to the Alliance, leveraging this new technology to build for the IoT gets innovators into a rapidly growing market, puts them on a path toward dotdot – the universal language for the IoT – and fosters collaboration between hundreds of tech organizations invested in and designing for Zigbee-based networks.