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Exploring Smart Home Wireless System Technology

​Smart homes will become a key component of growth with the Internet of Everything. By 2018, annual home automation device shipments will exceed 351 million -- growing at a CAGR of 78 percent, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

ZigBee dominated IEEE 802.15.4 and claimed the top share of node shipments at 4.5 million, narrowly beating out proprietary protocol offerings.

"ZigBee is enjoying success in the home automation market because, as an open standard technology, multiple IC vendors are creating ZigBee chipsets," said Adarsh Krishnan, Senior analyst at ABI Research.

Quite simply, open standard technologies are considered less risky and highly scalable when compared to the closed ecosystems of proprietary RF technologies.

Another wireless communication protocol that has gained traction in the home automation market is Z-Wave. Recent managed service initiatives that offer home automation as a service are using the Z-Wave protocol to connect low-power home automation devices.

Z-Wave enjoys support from consumers, especially in the DIY segment, because the interoperability of the wide portfolio of vendor products. As a result, consumers have choice regardless of the distribution channel or supplier.

Smart devices that use the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol part of Bluetooth v4.0 single-mode specification will experience the highest growth in the category, reaching over 133 million units by 2018.

Consumer electronics (CE), including smartphones, tablets, and laptops equipped with Bluetooth are a major contributor to Bluetooth growth in home automation.

Not only do these devices drive production economy of scale advantages, but ABI believes that CE devices are also growing role as a tool for managing and interacting with home automation systems.

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