As seamless as smart home technology is becoming, the devices still tend to sit in isolated ecosystems. Zigbee-based gadgets don't normally know how to use Nest's Thread protocol, for example. That's where the Zigbee Alliance wants to help. The open platform lets hardware makers use Zigbee's software layer across virtually any other IoT network, increasing the chances that the devices you want to use can speak to each other. More details of how Dotdot works will be available over the course of 2017.
Note:This review supercedes our earlier opinion of the Cree Connected. You'll find our original review here. Cree offers a ZigBee lighting solution, but only part of it. Cree makes the bulbs, but it doesn't make the hub or the software to control it. For that, you'll need a third-party product, either Wink, SmartThings, WeMo, or another certified ZigBee bridge.
There are many different choices for IoT devices these days, and there are many different ways to connect to these devices, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, etc. In this post, I discuss Zigbee--its advantages, disadvantages, and applications in home automation. Zigbee is a network protocol based on the IEEE.802.15.4 specification, a standard for low-rate wireless personal area networks (WPANs). Zigbee expands on the IEEE specification by "adding mesh network and security layers along with an application framework to become a full-stack, certifiable, interoperable solution." A Zigbee device typically has four layers--the IEEE.802.15.4 Radio, Zigbee Pro, Zigbee Cluster Library and Zigbee Certification (see below).
We only looked at the first iteration of Google Wifi, the company's mesh networking set-up, a few months ago and already it looks like version two is in the works. A Google filing recently spotted at the FCC describes a new dual-band router, possibly an update to the company's Google Wifi. PDFs included with the filing mention a model number AC-1304--compared to the current model, which is NLS-1304-25. The most notable change, as first spotted by Android Police, is that this router apparently is not equipped with a ZigBee radio. Google filed an RF exposure evaluation report for a 2.4GHz wireless LAN, a 5.0GHz wireless LAN, and Bluetooth LE, but nothing for a ZigBee radio.
One of the most popular smart speakers and one of the most popular smart bulbs are bundled up for one low price today--a great starter pack for any smart home. The Echo Plus and Philips Hue bulb combo costs $100Remove non-product link, a steep 39% discount from the $165 list price, and the cheapest this bundle has ever been. The Echo Plus offers all the smarts Alexa provides to other devices in the Echo lineup, so you'll be able do use your voice to control music, shop, check the weather and news, and more. But the Plus has a bonus: a built-in Zigbee hub, which means you can connect and control any compatible smart device all in one place. Additionally, a seven-microphone array provides far-field voice recognition so you can easily give commands even from across the room.