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Smart device IC shipments to hit 9 crore by 2014

Posted: 16 Apr 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart device  HAN  smart home 

Despite the absence of a single global HAN technology standard, smart home market will march on achieving shipments of 9 crore in the period of 2009 to 2014, as per IMS Research.

Many companies are waiting for a single communications technology to be universally selected before adding 'smart' functionality to their products. In contrast, other companies have adopted a more modular approach to their products, enabling easier transition if alternative technologies become predominant.

Lisa Arrowsmith, market analyst at IMS Research, comments, "While the general acceptance of a single technology for smart home applications would make device manufacturers' lives easier, this is not necessarily the reality we will see. Despite this, IMS Research forecasts that over 9 crore (90 million) ICs will be shipped for 'smart' devices in the 2009-2014 period".

It is important to note that there are pros and cons for the utilisation of each of these technologies, and no 'one-size-fits-all' solution. For example, Z-Wave offers a full existing ecosystem of products, with proven interoperability. Yet some companies are reluctant to back Z-Wave, due to the proprietary nature of the technology and in the U.S., its lack of inclusion by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a recommended technology for smart HANs (home area networks).

Conversely, ZigBee Smart Energy has gained support from NIST, and is slated for inclusion by some utilities in smart meters with integrated HAN-enabled gateways. This could make it easier for ZigBee-enabled devices to communicate directly with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) signals, via the smart meter. Yet a number of companies here are still reluctant, due to the interoperability issues that have plagued ZigBee in the past.

The role of 802.11 in smart home energy management applications is somewhat understated by many commentators. There is significant demand for parallel broadband-based AMI infrastructures to enable homes without smart meters to react to demand-response signals from utilities. The development of lower-power 802.11 solutions also makes Wi-Fi more suitable for smart home applications; yet price and power parameters are still holding the technology back in the minds of many smart device manufacturers.

IMS Research does not foresee a single technology completely displacing the use of all other communications protocols in smart home applications. This means that, in order for devices using different networking technologies to be able to 'talk to each other', multi-comms hubs and bridging devices will become increasingly important in the coming years.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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