ZigBee and EnOcean Alliances to develop energy harvesting IoT device interoperability

Joint development of open, global specification for energy harvesting wireless communication technology will help meet growing demand for interoperable, self-powered IoT sensor solutions

ZigBee and EnOcean Alliances to develop energy harvesting IoT device interoperability

The ZigBee Alliance and the EnOcean Alliance are to cooperate on combining the benefits of EnOcean energy harvesting wireless solutions with ZigBee 3.0 for worldwide applications.

The ZigBee Alliance is a non-profit association of organisations devoted to creating open, global standards that define the Internet of Things (IoT) for use in consumer, commercial and industrial applications. The EnOcean Alliance is a consortium for battery-less, wireless smart buildings and smart homes.

The cooperation connects the two alliances’ advantages, synergies and track record of standards advancements to create an open, global specification that will extend energy harvesting wireless communication to a broader range of self-powered IoT sensor solutions. These solutions use the surrounding environment as their energy source, making battery-less connected devices a reality.

“We are very excited that the EnOcean Alliance is bringing its energy harvesting expertise and widely deployed device profiles into the ZigBee 3.0 ecosystem,” said Tobin Richardson, president and CEO of the ZigBee Alliance. “Our goal with ZigBee 3.0 is to provide a unifying IoT standard that simplifies product development while reducing industry fragmentation and unlocking new market growth opportunities.

“This agreement with the EnOcean Alliance is a first important step down that path. A jointly developed specification for the ZigBee 3.0 ecosystem will bring the promise of interoperable self-powered IoT solutions to more markets and applications, meeting growing demand for plug-and-play solutions that can deliver seamless, ultra-low-power battery-less communication,” said Richardson.

“This is a major next step on the way to an interoperable IoT, from two industry-leading organisations combining their expertise and influence to help make this vision a reality,” said Graham Martin, chairman of the EnOcean Alliance.

“The globally available 2.4 GHz frequency is the key to the consumer market. We look forward to working with the ZigBee Alliance, one of the most experienced organizations in this field, to define the technical specifications for worldwide energy harvesting wireless solutions based on this worldwide standard.

“This will give our members access to new regions and additional fields of applications to grow their business for self-powered innovations. It perfectly adds to the EnOcean Alliance’s established market of smart buildings in the sub-1 GHz frequency, which will continue to be a major focus for us, bringing field-proven and interoperable energy harvesting solutions to new areas of use. This is a significant win for the complete wireless communit,” said Martin.

“The ZigBee Alliance’s board of directors and I are pleased to be entering into this relationship with the EnOcean Alliance,” said John E. Osborne II, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance board. “We expect this technology cooperation to deliver significant new benefits and opportunities for our members and their customers as we move closer to true interoperability for the IoT.”

This technical cooperation agreement will build on the EnOcean Alliance’s already strong position with more than 1,500 interoperable products available for home and commercial building automation, and expand it bringing energy harvesting wireless communication to many more applications in the IoT and consumer arenas.

It will also take advantage of the newly ratified ZigBee 3.0 standard, which enables battery-less devices to securely join networks across a variety of energy harvesting applications. As a result, the industry will have new opportunities for creating intelligently connected buildings and developing other solutions across a variety of applications.

The collaboration is also designed to provide a foundation to seamlessly bring data to the IoT frameworks of other industry initiatives, in order to facilitate interoperable communication from the sensor to the cloud.

A Technical Task Force will be built of ZigBee Alliance and EnOcean Alliance representatives to define the technical specifications required to combine standardized EnOcean Equipment Profiles (EEPs) with the ZigBee 3.0 solution, which operates in the worldwide IEEE 802.15.4 2.4 GHz standard.

The alliances plan to complete definition of this technical specification and share details of associated collaborative marketing and business activities in the second quarter of 2016.

ZigBee 3.0 is the first single unified, open and complete wireless IoT product development solution of its kind. It extends all the way from the physical layer to the application network layer, and includes certification and branding for improved interoperability across a growing range of market segments.

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