With the release of ZigBee 3.0, the most common question has been: what is the difference between ZigBee 3.0 and previous ZigBee standards? ZigBee 3.0 is the unification of ZigBee PRO with the ZigBee PRO-based application standards, making it even easier for developers to create products and services that can interoperate seamlessly with the widest variety of everyday devices. It combines the application level functionality for an immense variety of devices for smart homes, connected lighting, intelligent buildings, and energy management into a single, unified standard.
Connecting hundreds of different device types on every level is a challenge that ZigBee has solved. First, with a standardized network level featuring low power, self-healing mesh networking ideally suited for the IoT. ZigBee is low power, and even has a Green Power feature that requires no batteries! The simple act of flipping a switch for a Green Power device is enough to power it. The mesh network means that if one of your devices loses power, your other devices can continue to operate uninterrupted.
Application level standardization is a critical difference between ZigBee and other communication technologies, and a vital part of a successful IoT language. When so many different vendors are creating devices, only using a standard at the network level does not insure interoperability, but instead can cause confusion and fragmentation. When a standard defines all levels of the network, devices from a variety of organizations can work together seamlessly. The oft-overlooked application level defines device operations, such as “on” or “off”, dimming, reporting of data, etc. Since the application level most closely touches the user, it is important that this is also standardized.
Smart phones around the world interoperate together using 4G and other technologies that standardize mobile phone networks. But much of the interoperability in your smart phone comes from application level standardization such as SMTP or IMAP for e-mail and HTML for web browsing.
By defining how a web page appears and operates, these definitions are part of a cohesive mobile web surfing experience. A similar concept applies to the IoT. Standardization without the application level is like 4G without consistent HTML: incomplete.
The IoT is prevalent today in smart homes and intelligent buildings. But there are many more innovations coming in the form of standardized devices, opening up new markets and industries to the IoT.. With the right foundation, consumers and businesses can reach new levels of comfort, security, and convenience from a plethora of innovative companies all over the world.
Do you have more questions about ZigBee 3.0 or the application level? Read the answers to our Frequently Asked Questions about ZigBee 3.0.