Global open standard for consumer electronic remote controls


Bob Heile
ZigBee Alliance
San Ramon, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 4, 2009
An agreement to deliver a standardized specification for radio frequency-based (RF) remote controls has been reached between the ZigBee Alliance and the RF4CE Consortium.

RF remotes are faster, more reliable and provide more freedom to operate devices from greater distances removing the line-of-sight barrier of today’s infrared (IR) remotes. With this agreement, the ZigBee Alliance will move into the broad consumer products arena as part of its long term integration and growth plans.

The RF4CE Consortium, founded by Panasonic Corporation, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Sony Corporation, addresses increased demand for advanced functionality not currently available through infrared or other proprietary wireless technologies.

Version 1.0 of the RF4CE specification will be incorporated into the ZigBee suite of global sensor and control network solutions, creating an immediate, low cost, easy to implement solution for control of products and a variety of public application profiles.

The ZigBee RF4CE specification, based on IEEE 802.15.4. MAC/PHY radio technology in the 2.4 GHz unlicensed frequency band, is designed for a wide range of products, including home entertainment devices, garage door openers, keyless entry systems and many more.  

The specification will first be made available to ZigBee members this quarter.

"ZigBee is now on the fast track to enter millions more homes around the world,” said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. “We want the world to be RF and we want the world to use ZigBee. This agreement provides us with an evolutionary path to ZigBee everywhere. The Alliance welcomes the members of RF4CE and expects many great things to come from this powerful combination.”

“The RF4CE Consortium and the ZigBee Alliance are both based on IEEE 802.15.4 and aligning the two groups was a logical decision,” said Bas Driesen, chairperson of the RF4CE Consortium and technology manager at Royal Philips Electronics. “We are extremely pleased to see the completed ZigBee RF4CE specification rollout to consumer electronics manufacturers because it allows them to begin developing exciting new features that will simplify and enrich how consumers interact with home entertainment equipment.”

The agreement will result in the establishment of a new Special Interest Group under the ZigBee Alliance, and it will be a part of the open standardization at the ZigBee Alliance.

During the next quarter, the Alliance will develop a test program consistent with existing policies for specifications and public application profiles. Once complete, products using a public application profile based on the ZigBee RF4CE specification can be submitted to an authorized test house for certification.