The Path to Dotdot Starts with Zigbee

When the Zigbee Alliance announced Dotdot, the universal language of the IoT, it generated a lot of excitement. And for good reason — Dotdot brings the mature application object model at the heart of Zigbee to new networks and markets. But good product managers know that even the most exciting market opportunities take time to develop. With the Dotdot technical specifications not yet complete, what do we tell companies who want to take advantage of a Dotdot-enabled roadmap, but go to market today? The answer is simple. Building Zigbee 3.0 products today delivers the best return on investment with a direct path to Dotdot. Let me tell you how and why.

Adopt IoT now or wait for the next big tech breakthrough?

The nature of the technology market means choosing a wireless connectivity solution can often be a moving target for product managers planning to launch a best-selling IoT device. Dotdot promises to make that task easier by offering a single application language across multiple network transports. This will enable different use cases and help to increase the total addressable market. However, the technical specifications are currently still under development and public release is not expected until sometime next year. With compelling business opportunities for the IoT already accessible, waiting for the Dotdot specifications to be completed may mean missing out on today’s market.

Start knocking down the door of opportunity

Building with Zigbee today gives you an immediate return on investment, with an existing global market for Zigbee products across consumer and commercial industries, including security, smart home, energy and lighting. Zigbee is mature and de-risked, with a global supply chain of Zigbee platforms and services, rigorous testing, and field-proven deployment on hundreds of millions of existing devices. Zigbee today addresses a broad set of applications, including lighting controls, alarms and home security, and temperature and energy management systems.

Dotdot at its core is an implementation of the Zigbee application objects and data models on new networks. That means you can grow the return on your investment in your application developer ecosystem, and leverage all your expanded services and developer tools when creating new Dotdot products. And because Ddotdot will work on technologies like Thread that use the same underlying hardware as Zigbee, you can access multiple markets and use cases with the same products. No longer having to worry if your technology choice is future-proof allows you to focus on your proposition and capture the heads, hearts, trust, and loyalty of your customers.

Choose a technology which drives a market for your products

A lot of time and energy is spent discussing the technical merits of different technologies. That’s important, but often the most important factor is the size and nature of the market that technology grants you access to. The right technology is the one that makes sense for your business model.

If you are a device manufacturer (e.g., a vendor of light bulbs, thermostats, locks, switches, sensors, etc.) the best technology is one that allows you to maximize revenue by selling a standard device across multiple large, existing ecosystems, and even across markets. Zigbee powers a number of major ecosystems deployed today, both in the consumer and commercial markets. Examples include iControl, SmartThings, Daintree (GE), Philips Hue, etc. with more every quarter. As a mature, open, widely supported technology, most new ecosystems support Zigbee as a key or primary IoT interface.

To that end, if you are an ecosystem vendor (e.g., a gateway or platform company, or a service provider like a telco or security company, etc.) your technology decision will be based on both the maturity of the technology (high reliability, security, etc.) as well as having a large existing and growing device ecosystem. Zigbee offers reliability that comes from multiple generations and wide-scale deployment, and security that comes from an open standard developed and scrutinized by a global membership of industry leaders and adopters. As for the Zigbee device ecosystem, you can now find Zigbee devices from multiple vendors in every device category. That means you and your ecosystem partners have options several suppliers deep for every device and use case, with ever more devices out there and coming to keep your platform attractive and sticky for your customer base.

The maturity, stability and fit-for-purpose design of Zigbee, available today, with a global ecosystem of suppliers and support, enables business opportunities in the next 24 months. Business models in the IoT can change over time. With support for over the air updates, a common hardware architecture with other IoT technologies, and a path to cross-network interoperability with Dotdot, Zigbee fuels your business model today with flexibility for the future.

Zigbee today with a future-proof migration to Dotdot

Zigbee natively supports Dotdot, so you can rest assured that applications built for Zigbee will be part of the Dotdot family in the future. You can confidently enter today’s market, without losing the ability to take advantage of future improvements and developments. The Zigbee technology ecosystem is ready to enable new products today and prepared for the future with Dotdot. So, not only can you already enjoy the best of Zigbee as the only mature and available solution in the market, you will be able to migrate to Dotdot in the future while protecting and leveraging your investments in Zigbee software, hardware and expertise. Indeed, the path to Dotdot is with Zigbee today.

By Musa Unmehopa, Zigbee Alliance Vice Chairman of the Board, and Senior Director Standards & Regulations, Philips Lighting