Ten of Japan’s telecom hardware and communication LSI makers recently announced plans to establish the ZigBee SIG Japan (ZigBee SIG-J) in the summer of 2005. ZigBee SIG-J will be a non-profit organization aimed at promoting the use of the ZigBee short-distance wireless standard. Given Japan’s traditional strength in the design and manufacture of control systems, this could be a hint of big things to come.
According to a story on today’s NE Asia Online, the ten ZigBee SIG-J participant are Oki Electric Industry, OTSL (embedded software developer), Shinko Electric Industries, the Japanese branch of Norway’s Chipcon, NEC Engineering, Freescale Semiconductor Japan, Mitsubishi Electric, Murata Manufacturing, Yamatake (which develops building management systems) and Renesas Technology. Tomoyoshi Inasaka, manager, Sensor Network Team, Ubiquitous Network System Department, Information Technology R&D Center, Mitsubishi Electric, has been appointed as chairman.
Japan has a long history of developing and commercializing very good quality control systems, which are applied to robotics, automobiles, home and industrial security systems and many other areas. In the early 1990s, when I was first working as a patent engineer in Tokyo, one attorney’s firm was deeply involved in control systems for Honda’s robot, Asimo. Japan has now become one of the world’s leaders in industrial robotics (not that my efforts had anything to do with it).
Just the other day, while waiting for a tram near my home near Frankfurt, I saw the ticket machine being serviced. The technician had swung the machine’s front door wide open and I could see inside to the bill reader that accepts and validates cash. You guessed it: the maker was Toyo Electronics.
According to the alliance’s web site, the goal of the ZigBee Alliance is to provide consumers with “ultimate flexibility, mobility, and ease of use by building wireless intelligence and capabilities into every day devices.”
ZigBee technology will be embedded in a wide range of products and applications across consumer, commercial, industrial and government markets worldwide. For the first time, companies will have a standards-based wireless platform optimized for the unique needs of remote monitoring and control applications, including simplicity, reliability, low-cost and low-power.
The alliance claims the first target markets for the wireless control standard include home control, building automation and industrial automation. Maybe not the sexiest of topics, but probably very profitable and Japan will probably be one of the leaders. Again.
Full story here.
– Daniel Scuka