And further to the idea that there WILL be multiple wireless standards used in the industrial plant environment, here's a press release from the ZigBee folks that clearly plants them in the race for wireless sensor networks, not only in the process plant, not only in the discrete plant environment but in the Smart Grid environment, in power gen, in T&D, and in home automation.
If you think about scale, which we in automation rarely do, the scale is in Smart Grid and what follows from that in building automation and home automation...not in our paltry few industrial sensor applications.
If you follow that logically, and remember the invasion of the process plant space by COTS computers and software, it is likely that ZigBee might turn out to be the Big Boss all along, boom-lay, boom-lay boom-a-lay boom! (if you don't get the reference, check out a Depression Era poet named Vachel Lindsay).
Here's the release:
ZIGBEE ALLIANCE PLANS FURTHER INTEGRATION OF INTERNET PROTOCOL STANDARDS
World’s leading low-power wireless networking standard adds new specification featuring seamless integration with global IT networks to portfolio
San Ramon, Calif. – April 27, 2009 – The ZigBee Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating standardized wireless solutions for use in energy management, commercial and consumer applications, today announced it will incorporate global IT standards from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) into its specification portfolio of low-power wireless networking standards. This move will expand the growing portfolio of successful ZigBee specifications and should further advance the rapid growth of Smart Grid applications that have widely adopted the proven ZigBee Smart Energy public application profile.
By incorporating IETF standards, ZigBee Smart Energy products will enhance their application capabilities with native IP support, allowing seamless integration of Internet connectivity into each product. ZigBee members will also benefit from the knowledge and experience contained in IETF standards for large scale network addressability, security and IT integration, further building on existing expertise from developing the world’s leading technologies in the area of reliable, low-cost wireless sensor and control networks.
Through cooperative efforts with IETF, ZigBee members will create additional innovative solutions for wireless sensor and control networks as part of the new specification. Internet connectivity is currently provided by existing ZigBee specifications; however, the addition of native IP support will offer tighter integration from wireless devices all the way to large scale utility IT networks. The resulting specification will further broaden ZigBee’s suite of low-power wireless network solutions to meet the diversified needs of companies in the home, automation, healthcare, commercial building automation, telecommunications and consumer markets.
“This activity creates a win-win for everyone by combining the strengths of the ZigBee Smart Energy standard with the ubiquity of Internet standards and confirms that smart meter deployments currently underway will have a seamless path for continuous upgrades including Internet connectivity,” said Paul De Martini, vice president at Southern California Edison. “ZigBee Smart Energy solutions are playing a key role in our Smart Grid enabled programs that will provide our customers with choice and promote long term sustainability.” An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is the largest electric utility in the state of California, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.8 million customer accounts.
The Alliance provides the leading low-power wireless networking standards that are open, extensible and easily upgradable. It will build on the success of existing Smart Grid deployments of smart meters and Home Area Networks (HAN) using the ZigBee Smart Energy profile. This move will greatly assist global standardization efforts for Smart Grid applications including HAN devices, plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), distributed generation and storage applications.
“This is what our members have been looking for – the established, respected and mature capability of ZigBee wireless standards coupled with native IP capabilities along with the support of the IETF,” said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. “Our members look forward to collaborating with the IETF on wireless sensor network development. The ZigBee Alliance will continue looking for ways to work with, and support, open standards as part of our continuing development of the world’s leading low-power wireless networking solutions.”
ZigBee Smart Energy is the only standardized home area network solution in the market today meeting the tough requirements of leading utilities and energy service providers worldwide. The deployment of an estimated 30 million ZigBee equipped smart meters is underway in North America.
ZigBee Smart Energy – The Standard for Energy Management and Efficiency
ZigBee Smart Energy enables wireless communication between utilities, energy service providers and common household devices such as smart thermostats and appliances. It improves energy efficiency by allowing consumers to choose interoperable products from different manufacturers giving them the means to manage their energy consumption more precisely using automation and near real-time information. It also helps utility companies implement new advanced metering and demand response programs to drive greater energy management and efficiency, while responding to changing government requirements.
ZigBee: Control your world
ZigBee is the global wireless language connecting dramatically different devices to work together and enhance everyday life. The ZigBee Alliance is a non-profit association of more than 300 member companies driving development of ZigBee wireless technology. The Alliance promotes world-wide adoption of ZigBee as the leading wirelessly networked, sensing and control standard for use in consumer electronics, energy, home, commercial and industrial areas. For more information, visit: www.ZigBee.org.