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.


Ember EM250/260 RF evaluation kit includes everything needed to assess RF-level connectivity in any environment.

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,

click here

) . "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

Register here

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

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.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.