16 years ago
September 26, 2005
EDUARDO CONTRERAS / Union-Tribune
Jack Sun is president of Carlsbad-based Helicomm, a privately held company
founded in 2002 that is developing wireless technology for remote monitoring
and control systems in homes and the workplace. Helicomm recently unveiled a
line of wireless products based on the new wireless standard, ZigBee.
What is ZigBee?
ZigBee is the first wireless industry standard focused on remote monitoring
and control applications. It has a range of 150 to 200 meters. It's designed
to be simple, low-power and ultimately inexpensive. It's very flexible and
will have applications in everything from consumer applications such as the
universal remote control all the way to heavy industrial uses.
Where did the name come from?
ZigBee is a mesh-network technology. The devices communicate with each other
to form a network. ZigBee devices communicate the same way a cluster of bees
communicates, passing a message through the cluster.
How long will it be before ZigBee is in widespread use?
ZigBee has been under development for four years. We'll see the initial
volume production this year, followed by large-scale deployment next year.
ZigBee will be widespread much more quickly than (wireless technology)
Bluetooth, which is primarily used in cell phones. ZigBee has a much wider
market space. It is intended to work with any type of microcontroller. The
typical U.S. home has 250 microcontrollers, many of which are wired
What are Helicomm's ZigBee products?
We have a ZigBee module and tools for our customers, who are not experts in
wireless. We have a customer with a street-lighting-control system. We have
customers in asset tracking who will use our modules as RFID (radio
frequency identification) technology. ZigBee has much better range than
current RFID technologies, so it makes it easier to track inventory.
Are you a gadget guy?
My cell phone is my main wireless device. I use it a lot. I don't have a
Bluetooth headset. I used to have a PDA, but I don't have one now.
- JONATHAN SIDENER