Energy Harvesting & Low-Power Wireless ARE "The Next Big Thing"

Darnell Group has identified energy harvesting and low-power wireless (primarily ZigBee-based mesh networks) as the "Next Big Thing" that will drive growth opportunities for thin-film batteries and other energy storage devices, as well as power conversion and power management ICs.

Corona, California, February 27, 2007 - Darnell Group has identified energy harvesting and low-power wireless (primarily ZigBee-based mesh networks) as the "Next Big Thing" that will drive growth opportunities for power conversion and power management. Energy harvesting and low-power wireless technologies are be two of the key subjects explored in Darnell's report on "Ultra-Low-Power (ULP) Wireless Components and ICs" and at the upcoming "nanoPower Forum" to be hosted June 4 - 6 in San Jose, California. These emerging technologies will enable standalone micro sensors and micro actuators with wireless communications to realize new and cost-effective system architectures in a variety of industrial, commercial, medical and other applications.

"Cost savings, as always, is one of the drivers for these emerging technologies," stated Jeff Shepard, President of Darnell Group. "Copper wiring is increasingly expensive. The latest wireless networking systems promise substantial savings and improved performance compared with traditional wired alternatives. For example, use of a piezoelectric-based energy-harvesting ULP wireless lighting control in a recently built warehouse saved over 70% in construction costs compared with the equivalent wired solution, and reduced construction time."

The development of micro power sources will enable ultra miniaturization and functionality of standalone new systems. The use of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology has already demonstrated size reduction, mass reduction, power reduction, performance enhancements, new sensing concepts and new functionality.

According to Mr. Shepard, the convenience of wireless capability is balanced by concerns about security and robustness. As a result, this report has identified a trend toward small, difficult-to-access applications that can benefit from remote monitoring and control, often over short distances. The challenge is finding niche markets that aren't already being targeted by most companies adopting the dominant protocols. How will energy harvesting, energy efficiency and new standards such as Wibree affect the market?

The worldwide ULP market is projected to reach over 200 million units by 2010. The new study quantifies the market for ultra-low-power wireless components by application (Home Automation, Commercial/Industrial Automation, Medical, and Military), by technology (ZigBee, Insteon, Z-Wave, LonTalk, and Other) and by wireless converter and controller ICs.

Having the best technology does not guarantee success in any market; having the best business model does. This includes having a competitive price and knowing the commercial traction of the existing technology. As a rule, system makers and end users will stick with the cheaper, established, "known" technology - in this case, wired solutions. A compelling business case needs to be made for a wireless solution, regardless of its technical merits. Get the new study and attend the nanoPower Forum in June to learn about the markets that are crossing over commercially, and which ones are still holding back.

Information on "Ultra-Low Power Wireless Components and ICs" is available at Details on the nanoPower Forum can be found at: Or contact Traci at +1-951-279-6684 x240 or by e-mail at

Darnell Group is the leading source for worldwide strategic information covering the full spectrum of power electronics, energy storage and generation. The company specializes in the economic/business analysis of emerging power markets and technologies.

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