Zigbee (Zigbee news) is a technology you should keep an eye on as it fills a nice niche of low cost and low powered networking. ZigBee gets its name from the zig-zag pattern of a bumble bee that it emulates when transmitting data over its mesh network. Thankfully they didn’t decide to call it IEEE 802.15.4, the existing radio standard it relies upon.
ZigBee has some advantages over bluetooth and WiFi as it is less complex and uses less power. It is perfectly suited for applications such as monitoring and control of things like temperature sensors in buildings. ZigBee networks will enable us to build smarter buildings by allowing control and monitoring of lighting, alarm systems, heating and machinery.
Whereas we may be used to WiFi and bluetooth devices that can last a few hours on a charge, ZigBee devices are designed to last years while being able to transmit at up to 70 meters which is 7 times longer than bluetooth and almost as far as WiFi. The drawback to the technology is that it can only transmit at 250 Kbps which is more than good enough for many applications but let’s just say you won’t be streaming The Apprentice Season 8 over ZigBee any time soon.