IEEEThe global installed base of IEEE 802.14.4-enabled wireless devices will grow five-fold over the next five years, increasing from 425 million this year to more than 2.1 billion in 2019, according to new market research from ABI Research.

“The low-power, low-cost, mesh networking capabilities of 802.15.4 networks make them the primary wireless technology choice across a number of different vertical markets including home, building and industrial automation, smart metering, and home entertainment,”Andrew Zignani, ABI research analyst, was quoted in a press release.

802.15.4 Device Shipments
Chipset suppliers including Microchip, Silicon Labs, Freescale, GreenPeak and Texas Instruments are supporting growth in demand for 802.15.4-enabled devices and equipment. Annual shipments will increase from 206 million today to more than 730 million in 2019, ABI predicts.

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IEEE 802.15.4-enabled devices making use of the Zigbee wireless networking standard make up 74 percent of annual shipments at present and will continue to account for the lion’s share in coming years, according to ABI. Demand in the home automation market in particular will fuel growth. Total 802.15.4 Zigbee shipments will grow from around 9 percent of home automation shipments today to 28 percent in 2019, ABI says.

IPv6-enabled 802.15.4 devices, such as 6LoWPAN, which include Google-backed Thread, will pose an increasing challenge to the use of Zigbee over the forecast period, ABI adds. “One of the challenges facing ZigBee is the current confusion between the numerous different profiles targeting different applications, making interoperability between heterogeneous ZigBee nodes and applications very difficult. The industry is therefore increasingly turning towards IP-based standards to address these issues,” Zignani added.

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