Wireless Applications

ZigBee to Find Traction in Commercial Building Automation in 2008

December 22, 2006

ABI Research's analysis of the market, key trends, and drivers points to broad adoption of the wireless fieldbus technology in this arena.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Sensor networking technology ZigBee should start finding significant adoption in commercial building applications in 2008, according to a new study published by ABI Research.

There are three major markets for sensor networking: the home, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities, and ZigBee aims to cover them all. In the home, there are alternatives to ZigBee, and in industry there are some questions about its suitability. But according to senior analyst Sam Lucero, commercial building automation is a market where ZigBee is competitively positioned against other wireless sensor technologies.

"Commercial buildings represent a huge addressable market of field equipment currently using wired field buses to connect sensors and actuators with lighting, heating, ventilation, access control, and safety systems," says Lucero. "ZigBee's features and functionality are very well suited to commercial building applications."

Of the five top vendors of building automation systems, which together control about 70% of the market, four—Johnson Controls, Siemens, TAC, and Trane—have introduced wireless products based on ZigBee in the past year, and the fifth, Honeywell, is moving toward doing so.

Over the next five years, up to 20% of commercial building automation system field equipment may "go wireless," seeking the lower costs, better control, and greater flexibility that such systems deliver. However, there are regional differences: in North America and Europe, commercial building markets are largely mature, while greater "greenfield" opportunities can be found in Asia. Asian markets are fragmented, and we may see a rash of acquisitions as the "big five" push into the region.

"In North America and Europe, this is a tough and conservative market," says Lucero. "We are hearing that building owners and managers in Asia are more interested in using wireless than their counterparts in North America and Europe, where it is more a question of replacing existing wires." ABI Research also believes that a lot of the growth will come from new, application-specific deployments in selected vertical industries.

Lucero concludes that, "The mainstream market is clearly moving ahead with ZigBee for automation, so smaller players that do not have a wireless strategy formulated (or are in the process of creating one) will be at a disadvantage."

"Commercial Building Automation" analyzes the market ecosystem, key trends, and specific drivers for the adoption of wireless fieldbus technology, and forecasts market performance through 2011. It forms part of the M2M Research Service.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations supporting annual research programs, intelligence services, and market reports in broadband and multimedia, RFID and contactless, M2M, wireless connectivity, mobile wireless, transportation, and emerging technologies. For information, visit the company's Web site or call 516-624-2500.

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