ZigBee continues to increase its share of the IEEE 802.15.4 and smart home markets, according to global technology research firm ON World. In 2020, ZigBee standards will be used in 8 out of 10 of the 802.15.4 chipset shipments.

“ZigBee has always provided flexibility for developers and now ZigBee is rapidly becoming the consumer technology of choice for emerging smart home products,” says Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director. “This trend is expected to accelerate as ZigBee 3.0 unifies its application profiles and the Thread Group provides a standards based IP addressable wireless mesh network layer.”

Annual unit shipments for ZigBee/802.15.4 nearly doubled last year and will increase by 550% over the next five years. In addition to ZigBee PRO, the most widely adopted wireless mesh network protocol, the ZigBee Alliance also certifies ZigBee RF4CE devices for simple, ultra-low power remote controls and the ZigBee Alliance is also working on a new specification for outdoor wireless mesh networking using IEEE 802.15.4g and 6LoWPAN.

The Thread specification that is scheduled to be released this July will simplify and streamline the creation of smart home IoT products and services. Through a collaboration with the ZigBee Alliance, the Thread Group benefits from over a decade of development of application profiles and ZigBee 3.0 in particular. ZigBee 3.0 is scheduled to be completed this year and will unify commonly used ZigBee profiles such as ZigBee Light Link, ZigBee Home Automation, ZigBee Health Care and others into a single application profile suite, significantly streamlining product development and interoperability among vendors.

Applications for the Internet of Things continue to expand with a growing number of IoT cloud providers such as Ayla Networks, Arrayent, GreenWave Systems, Helium, Kitu Systems SmartThings (Samsung) and Wink (Quirky) that have recently raised $500 million in venture or equity investments.

By 2020, ON World projects that over 80% of IEEE 802.15.4 annual shipments will use a ZigBee standard. However, ZigBee is facing intensifying competition from low power variants of WiFi and Bluetooth Smart that are gaining tremendous momentum currently from the mobile, IT and consumer electronics industries.

Within the next five years, ON World projects that annual wireless sensor network chipset shipments will exceed 2 billion.

ON World’s report, “ZigBee Lights Up the Internet of Things – 11th edition” analyzes the evolving market forces, technology advances and competitive dynamics for 22 unique ZigBee markets and provides 5-year forecasts for 802.15.4/ZigBee and competing alternatives including WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, EnOcean and others. It also includes key findings from a recently completed survey with 1,000+ consumers and an extensive analysis of hundreds of ZigBee/802.15.4 products and services.

A free executive summary is available from ON World’s website.