Making buildings more energy-efficient has started to move into the national spotlight with President Obama’s green portion of the stimulus package. And it might be geeky, but wireless networks that will monitor energy consumption will play a significant role in efficient buildings. How significant? According to research from Instat chips and nodes used to build wireless networks based on the leading standard, 802.15.4, (the one the ZigBee specification is based on) will grow from 7 million in 2007 to 292 million in 2012 — that’s nearly 4,000 percent growth over the next five year period.
Smart energy will be the most common application for these 802.15.4-based wireless sensor networks, Instat notes. Those smart energy applications include embedding chips in meters to enable utilities to track customer’s energy consumption remotely, as well as chips for wireless sensor networks that monitor energy consumption in buildings.
The growth in the 802.15.4 chips and nodes is substantial because it’s starting from such a small market. Two years ago, 294 million consumer electronics devices were shipped with Wi-Fi chips embedded in them. That’s just shy of the number of 802.15.4 wireless chip market expected by 2012. Still, it’s a start — we’ll be watching how much the Obama green stimulus will give a boost to these types of networks. (For more on energy management using networks, check out our Smart Home Energy briefing, and our Green:Net Conference in March in San Francisco).