Last week in a column about lightbulbs you can control over Wi-Fi, I failed to mention that some smart bulbs and home automation products also use other technology including Bluetooth and a wireless standard called ZigBee among others. But what is ZigBee?
While you might connect to a home automation hub with, say, a set of smart lightbulbs using your home’s Wi-Fi network, these devices may be communicating with each other using ZigBee, a low-power wireless technology that is used in devices such as Philips Hue lights, sensors made by SmartThings and many other devices. It’s managed by the ZigBee Alliance, which, it turns out, is not a spaceship armada.
ZigBee has been around for over 10 years, but as home automation picks up steam, the standard’s red ball logo is becoming an increasingly familiar sight on product boxes. A 3.0 standard for ZigBee that would work to make more ZigBee products compatible with each other is expected to be finalized this year.
In this space every week, we’ll define a tech term, offer a timely tip or answer questions about technology from readers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.