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EnOcean, ZigBee Announce Energy-Harvesting-Wireless Collaboration

Dec. 16, 2015
The agreement creates an open, global specification extending energy-harvesting wireless communication to a broader range of self-powered IoT sensor solutions.

The EnOcean Alliance, a consortium for batteryless, wireless smart buildings and homes, and the ZigBee Alliance, a non-profit association of organizations creating open, global standards that define the Internet of Things (IoT) for use in consumer, commercial, and industrial applications, today announced they will cooperate in combining EnOcean energy-harvesting wireless solutions with ZigBee 3.0 for worldwide applications.

The cooperation creates 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 batteryless 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,” Tobin Richardson, president and chief executive officer of the ZigBee Alliance, said. “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, ultralow-power, batteryless communication.”

Graham Martin, chairman of the EnOcean Alliance, added: “This is a major next step on the way to an interoperable IoT. … The globally available 2.4-GHz frequency is the key to the consumer market. We look forward to working with the ZigBee Alliance … 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.”

The EnOcean Alliance has more than 1,500 interoperable products available for home and commercial-building automation. This technical cooperation agreement will expand that, bringing energy-harvesting wireless communication to many more applications in the IoT and consumer arenas. It also will take advantage of the newly ratified ZigBee 3.0 standard, which enables batteryless 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 also is designed to provide a foundation to seamlessly bring data to the IoT frameworks of other industry initiatives to facilitate interoperable communication from the sensor to the cloud.

A Technical Task Force of ZigBee Alliance and EnOcean Alliance representatives will be built to define the technical specifications required to combine standardized EnOcean equipment profiles 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 during 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 of 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.