Will Zigbee eventually be in cell phones?

With the current trend in consolidating multiple radios into silicon platforms, it may happen, but to date, we haven't seen a compelling use case for it. Here's why:

Most people assume that this will make it easier to build mobile apps to control Zigbee devices. This may be true when considering interactions between a phone and a device in the same room. However, the majority of connected products deliver the most value when connected to the outside world for remote control or use with cloud-based applications. This is typically accomplished by adding a device to bridge between the product and the internet/IP network. (Such as a smart home gateway). This allows users to communicate with the devices whether on-premise over the local network, or through the cloud, using the same app/interface, and allows multiple users to interact with the same device or ecosystem.

With this typical smart home or commercial IoT network architecture, having the same radio in a mobile device and end device isn't really practical or necessary. We've gotten a bit used to this idea with technologies like bluetooth connected to speakers and headsets, but those are one-to-one, personal, temporary and on demand network connections. The devices and infrastructure of the IoT typically require stable, always-on, internet connected, many-to-one architectures that don't fit (or benefit from) that model.

If your application calls for device-to-mobile interactions, talk to us. There are a number of approaches to this that take into account cost, reliability, and flexibility for the future, and we'd love to help you figure out which approach meets your business needs.

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