ZigBee smart grid capabilities drive investment in wireless technologies
Emphasis on smart metering initiatives boosts potential for technology to play a pivotal role in impacting energy management and efficiency for decades.
Fueled by a surge in the deployment of smart meters in several industries, Ember Corporation , a ZigBee wireless networking technology, has announced that it has received an additional $8 million in funding from its primary venture capital investors and strategic partners. This brings the total capital raised by Ember to $89 million.
"ZigBee standards extend the developing 'smart grid' out to the billions of devices, appliances and equipment where most energy efficiency goals will be achieved," said Ember chairman Bob Metcalfe (to read a Control Engineering article about Metcalfe’s role in the development of Ethernet,
) . "Smart meters now being equipped with ZigBee-standard Ember radio chips and protocol software are serving as energy management gateways between utilities and consumers."
The market for 802.15.4/ZigBee devices is expected to reach as high as 292 million units in 2012, up from about 7 million units in 2007, according to research firm, In-Stat . Smart metering initiatives are widely believed to be a pivotal technology impacting energy management and efficiency for decades. As part of the recently enacted stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama, more than $49 billion was allocated to transform the nation's energy system, and over $17 billion of that will be aimed at electric grid infrastructure upgrades. This national financial commitment means significant opportunity for ZigBee technologies.
Ember also announced the expansion of its sales channels with the addition of new distributors in Australia, New Zealand, India and Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.
– Edited by David Greenfield , editorial director
Control Engineering News Desk
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.