PARIS -- The Zigbee Alliance meeting May 17 to May 20 in Seattle, Washington is set to affirm for the faithful that "things are proceeding on schedule," said alliance chairman Bob Heile. "A large number of companies currently making 802.15.4-compliant parts continue to do so."
However, Philips Semiconductors has revised its position on Zigbee. Though an early and aggressive promoter of the specification, Philips "is not ready to make a statement" about when it will enter the Zigbee chip market, Paul Marino, vice president and general manager of business line connectivity, said in an interview.
Indeed, the perception that Philips had three years ago of Zigbee's target market is "no longer valid," Marino said.
Philips remains a member of the Zigbee Alliance, but Philips Lighting replaced Philips Semiconductors on the Zigbee board about a month ago.
While work on the Zigbee specification has moved forward faster than for some alternatives, silicon for the myriad envisioned applications hasn't been forthcoming. Thus far Zigbee's influence has been largely limited to industrial automation.
Lighting and building automation will be Zigbee's most visible applications, and the platform will be used extensively behind the scenes in industrial monitoring and control applications, Heile said. "Expect the ramp to occur throughout 2005," he said.
Heile considers the newer 802.15.4a project complementary to Zigbee. When 802.15.4a emerges in late 2005 or 2006, there will be "very little overlap" between that spec and Zigbee, Heile said.
The final Zigbee spec is scheduled for public release in the fourth quarter. Interoperability tests are still under way.