While Freescale, Ember, Chipcon, Jennic and other chipmakers continue to spar over who's introduced, sampled, or shipped the first single-chip ZigBee device, the imminent availability of inexpensive silicon is unleashing a spate of product introductions and joint agreements.
Eaton Corp. is ramping up its Home Heartbeat monitoring system (http://rbi.ims.ca/4400-523), which strategic business director Russ Sabo jokingly calls "idiot lights for the home." Many ZigBee proponents feel these warning lights for open doors or broken water pipes will make consumer products the initial market for the wireless net, phoning users when certain alarms go off.
Sabo notes that since ZigBee applications are extremely broad, "alliances are critical." Vendors agree. Airbee Wireless (http://rbi.ims.ca/4400-524) teamed up with Texas Instruments, which will port Airbee's software to its MSP430 MCU. Software Technology Group (http://www.stg.com) teamed up with Intec Automation and Sensicast Systems, while Helicomm (http://rbi.ims.ca/4400-525) teamed up with Silicon Laboratories Inc., Freescale Semiconductor, and Panasonic Electronic Devices Corp. (http://rbi.ims.ca/4400-526) who also announced a deal at the ZigBee Alliance (http://rbi.ims.ca/4400-527) open house in late September.