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.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.