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ZigBee Transforms the Supply Chain

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Cryptoman
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Great standard for short-range wireless communication.
Cryptoman   2/13/2013 10:01:46 AM
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ZigBee is a really solid technology with built in networking capabilities that allows mesh topology. This feature allows something called "self-healing" where if one ZigBee node fails, the messages can be re-routed via the nodes that are up and running. Unfortunately, ZigBee has not found its deserved place in the IT world yet. If ZigBee modems could have entered the PC hardware a few years back like a WiFi or a Bluetooth modem, this standard would have gone very far by now. Due to the lack of applications and the need then, ZigBee could not make it into the PCs. I am sure there are other political reasons to this as well (but that's beside the point).

In terms of battery life, ZigBee is good but it is not as good as Bluetooth. However, when you compare the capabilities of Bluetooth and ZigBee, I think the extra power requirement of ZigBee is more than justified. Unlike Bluetooth, ZigBee was designed as a wireless data networking technology from ground up whereas Bluetooth has been launched as a "cable replacement" technology and nothing more. Nowadays, with the rise of wireless sensor networking (WSN), Bluetooth vendors are trying to push it as a data networking technology, especially with the introduction of the recent Bluetooth Low Energy. Objectively speaking, ZigBee is much more suitable for data networking, however, whether it will manage to become a dominant standard depends on whether it can be recognised as an IT standard such as Bluetooth. I hope it does.

Companies such as Philips have the power to make ZigBee fly by integrating it into their new generation products. The smart light bulb by Philips is a great product and a good opportunity for ZigBee.

 

Wale Bakare
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Supply Network Guru
Mass Market for ZigBee Eventually
Wale Bakare   2/13/2013 12:21:04 PM
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Interesting that ZigBee technology is getting support and market breakthrough from one of the big players in OEMs sector. I would love to see it blooming soon, hopefully.

Brian Fuller
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You ain't seen nothing yet
Brian Fuller   2/13/2013 3:42:53 PM
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Douglas, over 50 perhaps, but with the hipness of a 25-year-old! 

;  )

This is a great post that hints at some amazing innovation that will get injected in the chain, I'll argue, a lot faster than we think. 

I liken it to driverless cars. Suddenly, they're here. Why? Because the technology has been here for years and it's low cost and accessible. The only thing holding adoption back will be regulation. The technology is not an issue.

I'm sure there will be innovation within the supply chain (probably going on behind closed doors right now) that will fundamentally change how we do things, in ways few could have imagined. 

 

Nemos
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Supply Network Guru
Technology is running
Nemos   2/14/2013 6:20:41 PM
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"Yesterday's fast is today's slow" that's is so true ,.... I have the feeling that every year it passes the technology is running with the double speed. When I was a child, you could not realize this, and today it is so obvious that I am afraid in a few years will not be in the position to follow the speed .....

Ariella
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Re: Technology is running
Ariella   2/14/2013 9:12:12 PM
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@Nemos Absolutely, computing power gets faster, and we grow a lot more impatient. It was not so very long ago that I had a dial-up connection for the internet. I remember waiting 20 minutes for high-resolution photo to download. That pace of data transfer wouldn't work for today when images and even video are standard online.

t.alex
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Re: Great standard for short-range wireless communication.
t.alex   2/14/2013 10:31:30 PM
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Zigbee is really the ideal candidate for supply chain and warehouse applications. The only disadvantage as compared to bluetooth is it does not come ready inside mobile devices like bluetooth. 

_hm
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Supply Network Guru
Zigbee transformation
_hm   2/15/2013 4:38:43 AM
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ZigBee is around for quite few years. Also, it has vast potential to help resolve many new applications. However, adaptation to this technology is rather quite slow. Is this due to incremental cost or is it technology introduced little too early?

 

Douglas Alexander
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Re: Technology is running
Douglas Alexander   2/15/2013 12:54:28 PM
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@Ariella, You bring up an interesting point. I was around in the days of 300 baud dial-up modems and it took a lifetime to receive a graphic. All the web developers were encouraged to keep their images down to 100 X 100 or at most 200 X 200 pixels. Now with the increased bandwidth, as you indicated, huge multimedia files do not present a problem. I was thinking of your comment regarding "patience" and how our expectations have changed and how other personal and corporate "personality" traits may have been impacted with the widespread adoption of the internet. I know employers expect more work to be done in shorter periods of time and when those expectations are based upon internet speeds, it follows that the wider bandwidth the higher the productivity if all other things are equal. Sounds like a marketing tag line for an ISP.

Douglas Alexander
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Re: Great standard for short-range wireless communication.
Douglas Alexander   2/15/2013 1:00:28 PM
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t.alex, size is everything in mobile devices. The Zigbee radio is still pretty large but there are continual improvements for size so I imagine that we will see greater deployments as the size of the transponder decreases. Zigbee daisy chains so the distance or size of the warehouse is not an issue. Like youself, I think the Zigbee tech will become the wireless method of choice for WMS applications.

Ariella
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Supply Network Guru
Re: Technology is running
Ariella   2/15/2013 1:04:02 PM
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"Sounds like a marketing tag line for an ISP." That could work. On just this topic, I recently shared this. Note the that a rotary phone is used to make the connection to the computer in the video. Note that what is conveyed is devoid of pictuers and ads (slower connections have their compensations) Also note the quote "we're not in it to make money." Of course, in 1981 it was much cheaper to buy your paper for pennies rather than pay $5 an hour for a paper that takes 2 hours to dowload.

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