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Comment Re:IPv6 (6lowpan) replaces zigbee (Score 1) 170

Aside from the lack of cool name, there's another issue with 6lowpan (at least for now), along with most other competing standards, and that's the lack of a common protocol/profile.

For clarity's sake, we need to make the distinction between ZigBee (the radio technology) and Smart Energy (the application-specific profile). While 6lowpan, or wifi, or bluetooth, or zwave for that matter all offer competing radio technologies, each with pros and cons, none of them offer a standardized protocol for home area network devices to trade data such as price, consumption, messaging, etc.

That's where ZigBee has the lead now. If I build a 6lowpan device today, I have to invent such a protocol - this means it won't be compatible with any other device unless they happen to use my proprietary protocol too. Any device with a ZigBee Smart Energy implementation however will work on any Smart Energy home network, letting you mix and match devices from different vendors. That's a HUGE difference in terms of readiness for large scale rollouts and consumer adoption.

So far, the Smart Energy standard has also been branched out to HomePlug. It may end up coming to other radio technologies in the future, though that remains to be seen.

Comment Re:Why ZigBee will fail (Score 1) 170

Only because right now, every home automation system is a hobbyist/specialist product. Most people don't even realize that stuff exists, and if they do, don't know where to start/what to choose. So economies of scale aren't there.

Control4 has done a good job marketing their consumer products (with a little help from Oprah).

But when your local utility puts a zigbee gateway in your house, connected to a web-based interface (you know, like Google PowerMeter with some home control stuff built in), it suddenly gets a lot easier. First of all, they've taken care of the control system - usually the most expensive part. Secondly, you can go to Home Depot and pick up a ZigBee thermostat or switch, or even a washer and dryer or fridge (see this:

With major manufacturers pushing out millions of units (because now there's a market of millions of homes for them to go into, many of which getting tax breaks for buying said products), prices will drop dramatically. And I say this with some expertise considering I make the radios that go in these systems.

Comment Re:Interference (Score 1) 170

ZigBee is designed to work around competing signals. A company I used to work for did ZigBee based hospitality energy saving systems. So think networks with hundreds of nodes (thermostats, relays, etc), coexisting with wifi networks ranging from your standard off the shelf box to commercial setups, microwaves, phones, etc. Those networks were extremely reliable. This is actually one of the strengths of ZigBee as opposed to a weakness.

Comment Why ZigBee will win. (Score 4, Interesting) 170

(Disclosure/Insight: My company, MMB Research, makes ZigBee Smart Energy hardware and software to help people integrate this kind of technology into products, and I've been involved with ZigBee for a number of years.)

A lot of commenters here seem to be comparing the various features of competing home automation technologies, which is certainly appropriate, but you also have to look at the bigger, future picture.

ZigBee - and specifically the ZigBee Smart Energy profile is becoming the standard of choice for in-home networks that will exist on the Smart Grid.

So it's one thing to compare ZigBee to Z-wave or X10 on a merits basis (though I believe it's far superior based on years of real-world experience), but when you consider your utility is going to put a ZigBee Smart Energy enabled meter/gateway in your house, and that hundreds of OEMs are going to be integrating it into wide variety of appliances that can hop on that network, you're going to see drastic reductions in cost, and increases in choice and quality.

In a few years, there might be a handful of WiFi or Z-Wave thermostats (or pool pumps, or light switches), but there will be dozens of ZigBee ones, because the installed user base will be there.

Now, Control4 is talking about ZigBee Pro and the Home Automation profile, which isn't technically part of the Smart Energy profile, but they can coexist, and many developers of Smart Energy products/solutions - including ourselves - have implemented both, opening up the HAN (home area network) to a variety of devices and controls.

Comment I thought competition was GOOD (Score 2) 547

The number of comments on here about how there's only a format war cause both format owners are GREEDY, and it's causing consumer confusion, etc. amaze me.

This is the same crowd that goes APE SHIT over monopolies and proprietary formats, and goes on and on about how there should be more open competition. Well you got it! Unfortunately, sometimes with competition, there are, you know, competing solutions.

So yes, it's annoying and potentially confusing. But do you think that there would be $100 HD players if there wasn't such intense competition? Do you think the formats would get such big support if there wasn't intense pressure to roll out? Would you rather a company like sony have total dominance in the market? Yes, some titles are on one and some on the other.

Don't worry. Whoever wins, all the titles will eventually come out on that format, or dual-format players will be cheaper. In fact, I almost prefer the latter, as I actually like when there's multiple solutions to choose from.

Competition is GOOD. It will mean cheaper, better, and a wider variety of goods for consumers. Too often, companies cite "consumer confusion" to mask what they're really concerned about - consumer CHOICE. I'm just surprised to see that happening here.

Submission + - Some Gmail accounts quietly jump to 10GB?

MikeMulligan writes: Last week I actually started getting worried that at 80%, I'd soon fill my gmail's >2GB capacity. Today I logged in to find I'm only using about 25% of my 9030MB! I searched the google blogs and other sites, but found only references to google's paid premium google apps accounts that provide 10GB of storage. Is it just me? Is this permanent? And why isn't there more news about it? At 10gb, that destroys most other free email services out there (again), and competes with other paid-for services (*cough* Apple).

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