I have to say that the Zigbee Alliance marketing machine is doing a pretty good job. I stumbled across a little known service offered by Google (at least little known to me) called Google Trends . It's pretty interesting. It shows the amount of search volume for a particular keyword over time and it can be used to infer the popularity of a term. Here's an image of the Google Trend for Wikipedia spanning from about 2003 until now.
It pretty much makes sense. There wasn't a lot of action going on until about 2005 when Wikipedia started really taking off. People started generating content, which in turn increased the traffic to the site, which in turn inspired other people to contribute to the content.
Well, my point isn't to show you the popularity of Wikipedia. I actually did a search for Zigbee and found something quite interesting. If you look closely, you can see that the number of searches is relatively constant over time, with a slight decrease over the past two years. That's not very impressive. However if you take a look underneath the trend, there's a figure that's interesting. It shows the number of news references for Zigbee over time is increasing. It was fairly flat from 2003 to 2006 with a couple of spikes, probably corresponding to significant press releases. By the way, the square with the 'A' in it marks the time when the first Zigbee spec was released.
If you look at the trend from 2007, you can see that the news references get much busier. This means that Zigbee is showing up a lot more in the news. This could mean that the Zigbee Alliance is issuing more press releases, but normally, this has the effect of numbing the publications to the releases so that fewer get picked up. In my un-expert and un-professional opinion, this probably means that more companies are either releasing Zigbee products or are announcing that they will be adopting the technology in one form or another. I guess it could also mean that more companies are getting frustrated with it, but let's hope that's not the case. Hmmm...Not bad, Zigbee Alliance!
The trend pretty much follows in the footsteps of Bluetooth which formed the Bluetooth SIG in 1998 and didn't really catch on until about 2005 or 2006. I think it's about that time when I started noticing people seemingly talking to themselves with only a big-ass earbud in their ear and no wires hanging out. I also checked for Bluetooth on Google Trends, but unfortunately, it looks like their data only goes back to 2003. The search volume at that time was also fairly constant already, but if you look at the news references, it starts getting busier around 2006. Here's the chart:
To be fair, I also did a search for 6LowPAN and ULP Bluetooth. Both of them did not return enough search volume to generate a trend chart. This is understandable since they are both relatively new. The 6LowPAN RFCs didn't get published until last year and ULP Bluetooth also was Wibree up until about June of last year. By the way, here's a picture of the Wibree trend. Doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of information there, though.
This just goes to show that years of marketing does pay off.