ABI research has estimated by year 2018, total annual home automation device shipments to exceed 351 million, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 78%. ZigBee is the leading protocol for IEEE 802.15.4 with the node shipments at 4.5 million, narrowly ahead of proprietary protocol offerings.
Senior analyst Adarsh Krishnan, comments, “ZigBee is enjoying success in the home automation market because, as an open standard technology, multiple IC 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.”
ABI finds Z-Wave protocol is also growing in the home automation market. Managed service initiatives offering a home automation as a service are using Z-Wave protocol to connect low-power home automation devices. Z-Wave is finding interest by the DIY segment. Z-Wave features better interoperability with wider range of vendor's products.
But the fast-growing category is going to be Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol part of Bluetooth v4.0 single-mode specification, as per ABI Research, which has forecasted BLE to reach over 133 million units by 2018.
Practice director Dan Shey explains, “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.”