LONDON — Home automation devices employing the ZigBee open standard protocol were the market share leaders in 2012, with shipments of 4.5 million, narrowly beating out proprietary protocol offerings, according to a report by ABI Research. By 2018, the research firm expects annual home automation device shipments to exceed 351 million, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 78 percent.

Senior analyst Adarsh Krishnan said, “ZigBee is enjoying success in the home automation market because, as an open standard technology, multiple IC [integrated circuit] vendors are creating ZigBee chipsets. Quite simply, open standard technologies are considered less risky and highly scalable when compared to the closed ecosystems of proprietary RF [radio frequency] 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 are expected to experience the highest growth in the category, reaching over 133 million units by 2018. Practice director Dan Shey said, “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 CE’s are also growing as a tool for managing and interacting with home automation systems.”

Publication date: 9/2/2013

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