June 2021 IoT News

By Pilgrim - June 16, 2021

Smart Home

It's 23 years since ZigBee was invented, almost unbelievably. At a time when proprietary radios were the norm for IoT, this pioneering standard defined a whole tech stack from bottom (radio) to top (application schemas). This kitchen sink approach succeeded in getting ZigBee adopted into some use-cases such as lighting and smart meters, but went against the layered approach to standardisation which has allowed the Internet to evolve so successfully. In particular, ZigBee didn't use Internet Protocol (IP) as a "narrow waist" to keep applications insulated from the grubby details about how data actually gets from A to B.

My last company AlertMe (which became Hive) was one of the first volume users of ZigBee and while it did succeed in giving us the functionality we needed, it failed to deliver a broad ecosystem of 3rd-party devices. However, because our gateway was inside the home network, we found that it could see and talk to all sorts of other devices in the home using IP - and it didn't matter whether they were connected by Ethernet or WiFi or perhaps even other gateways to Bluetooth or proprietary protocols – IP was the lingua franca.

After many years - and many gyrations - a new standard may resolve all of this, in the home at least: it's called Matter. It's IP-based and supported by the major consumer electronics giants. Of particular interest is that it enables a device to be connected to more than one app, from more than one vendor, enabling for example the separation of use-cases between "managing" and "using" a device. This looks like a key transformation to create a true IoT ecosystem in the home. As usual, Stacey H has a great write-up.


  • With installation the rate-limiting step for many EV chargers companies right now, our paper shows how service monitoring makes installation better, faster, cheaper 
  • Our EV charging panel session is rescheduled to 7th July at 3pm UK to accommodate as many panellists as possible, including Professor Goran Strbac of Imperial College London, Ryan Fisher from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, plus panellists from an EV charging company and a UK utility. The topic will focus on how EV charging interact with the grid edge, and we would love to see you there.
  • I stepped out of a restaurant in my home town of Cambridge one evening recently into the future – the only vehicles passing were electric scooters and electric taxis – eerily quiet, no pollution. The latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance EV outlook highlights the importance of electric 2- and 3-wheelers.
  • Striking how quickly the EV transition at Porsche is going as sales of their Taycan EV eviscerate their equivalent Panamera fossil-fuel vehicle
  • Nice to see Ofgem, the UK's energy regulator, pledge £300m for EV charging infrastructure
  • End of an era for EV charging pioneer Vince Dale of Ecotricity, as Gridserve takes-over 100% of the Electric Highway en-route charging project

Heat pumps

Well worth listening to the recent episode of "Cleaning Up" which is all about heat pumps. Like all new energy they have been moving very fast up the learning curve, and old tropes such as the need to upgrade your radiators are no longer true (can even deliver 200C+!). UK energy challenger utility Octopus seems to be doubling-down on heat pumps and in Germany more than half of all 2020 residential new build had a heat pump. The UK needs to accelerate (and we only replace ~1% of our housing stock a year).

Other news

And finally

Until next month,


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