Zigbee PRO Green concept image (via Zigbee)
The Zigbee Alliance (standard for high-level communication protocols) has just released their Pro Green Power feature (found in most smart metering systems) that not only allows for a wireless connection but harvests its own energy as well negating the need for a battery. The Pro Green feature set allows devices (including dimmers, sensors, switches etc.) without batteries to be securely integrated into Zigbee Pro networks. Essentially the devices are able to harvest widely untapped energy sources such as motion, light and vibration to power themselves without the aid of on-board or direct input power sources. For example flipping a light switch (that isn’t equipped with a battery) on or off that’s integrated on the Green Pro network harvests that energy which in-turn uses Zigbee protocols that turn on or off the corresponding light dedicated to that switch. The switch is active on the network (using 2 or more Green Power proxies on the same network) only for a short period of time to issue the on/off command until the small amount of energy generated is consumed (this makes the light switch essentially a ‘self-powered’ device). After which the switch will no longer appear on the Green Pro network. The new Pro Green feature allows the connected device to function using the harvested energy reliably, along with un-interrupting the network once the device ‘disappears’ when the energy has been expended. This will allow consumers and businesses to use Zigbee-related devices in areas where power connections are scarce, unavailable or prohibited due to the nature of the surroundings (some hospital areas, nature preserves or historical sites to name a few). So far a handful of companies have already adopted the Pro Green feature such as GreenPeak Technologies, which plan to use the feature in their RF-communication products including their upcoming release of their GP410 (IEEE 802.15.4 ZigBee PRO Green Power controller) chip.