Report: Shipments of home automation devices to see strong growth

Devices using the Bluetooth wireless protocol expected to surpass ZigBee


Annual shipments of home automation devices are expected to increase over the next five years at an astounding compound annual growth rate of 78 percent, exceeding 351 million shipments by 2018, according to a new report from ABI Research.

ZigBee reportedly dominated the IEEE 802.15.4 category of wireless network sensor technology and claimed the top share of node shipments at 4.5 million.

"ZigBee is enjoying success in the home automation market because, as an open standard technology, multiple IC (integrated circuit) vendors are creating ZigBee chipsets. Quite simply, open standard technologies are considered less risky and highly scalable when compared to the closed ecosystems of proprietary RF technologies," said ABI Senior Analyst Adarsh Krishnan.

ABI said the Z-Wave wireless communication protocol has also gained traction in the home automation market.

"Recent managed service initiatives that offer home automation-as-a-service are using the Z-Wave protocol to connect low-power home automation devices. Z-Wave enjoys support from consumers, especially in the DIY segment, because the interoperability of the wide portfolio of vendor products. As a result, consumers have choice regardless of the distribution channel or supplier," ABI said in a statement.

Smart devices that use the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol are expected to see the highest growth in the category, reaching over 133 million units by 2018.

"Consumer electronics (CE), including smartphones, tablets, and laptops equipped with Bluetooth are a major contributor to Bluetooth growth in home automation. Not only do these devices drive production economy of scale advantages but CE’s are also growing role as a tool for managing and interacting with home automation systems," said ABI Practice Director Dan Shey.