Zigbee Leads the Wireless Mesh Sensor Network Market

zigbee mesh map

By: Mareca Hatler, Director of Research, ON World

ON World has been covering Zigbee and IEEE 802.15.4 for the last fifteen years.  In the first few years, we were tracking Zigbee chipset numbers in the thousands a month.  Today, there are millions of Zigbee chips sold monthly.  In fact, wireless mesh sensor network standards such as Zigbee have made 802.15.4 the predominant networking technology for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Half a billion 802.15.4 mesh chips have been sold for smart homes and buildings, metering, smart cities and industrial automation.  By 2023, there will be 4.5 billion 802.15.4 mesh devices sold worldwide, most of which will use Zigbee.

This popularity is illustrated by hundreds of Zigbee products now available in multiple channels and is illustrated by Amazon’s new Echo Plus smart speaker that is also a Zigbee smart home hub. 

Dominant Networking Technology for the Smart Home

Growing competition from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy have not succeeded at slowing Zigbee’s market share growth.  Zigbee is currently used in more than 1 of 3 smart home WSN chipset shipments and there are currently 16+ Zigbee chipset suppliers despite ongoing consolidation in the semiconductor industry including more recent entrants Qualcomm, Nordic Semiconductor and ON Semiconductor.  Disruptive chipset prices have made it possible for developers to choose Zigbee/Bluetooth Low Energy combo chips that add little to their costs while providing the benefits of Bluetooth LE smart phone integration and the sophistication of Zigbee for wireless sensor networking.

In 2023, there will be 1 billion annual Zigbee chipset shipments worldwide.

bar chart

Figure 1: Global Zigbee Chipset Shipments (2009-2023)

Dotdot: Open Standard Language for the IoT

Dotdot Logo

While Zigbee is most popular for its wireless mesh networking, the Dotdot open standard application layer promises to become a universal language for the Internet of Things.  While it is mostly used with Zigbee PRO networks today, Dotdot essentially normalizes the API (language) and integrates with any network stack.  One example is Thread, providing IP addressability and node scalability integrated with a common control and device language (Dotdot).  Ultimately, Dotdot can be used by any network including Thread, Bluetooth, WiFi and even wide area low power networks such as LoRaWANTM and NB-IoT.

ON World: 15 Years of Zigbee Research

ON World has been covering Zigbee since before the specification was ratified in December 2004.  Since then we have conducted year-round primary research on wireless sensing, tracking and control in dozens of ecosystems and interviewing/surveying thousands of companies across the whole value chain.  Our research is used by many of the Fortune 500, investors, startups and other IoT developers worldwide.

Zigbee Members receive a 30% discount off our research reports: https://onworld.com/research/zigbeealliance/vip/