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Linux dev kit brings ZigBee data to industrial apps

Oct 29, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 13 views

[Updated Oct. 29, 2004] — Arcom has partnered with wireless chip-maker Ember on a Linux development kit that aims to integrate ZigBee wireless network data with business applications using IBM WebSphere middleware. The kit includes an XScale-based PC/104 board with ZigBee transceiver, an embedded Linux environment with J2ME, and tools. It targets industrial applications such as pipeline monitoring, automation, and cargo tracking.

(Click for larger view of Arcom/Ember Zigbee box)

ZigBee is a low-cost, low-power, low-data-rate wireless networking standard designed for monitoring and control applications in both industrial and home markets. It offers much lower power requirements than Bluetooth, leading to great battery life. The ZigBee market was recently called a “sleeping giant” by market research firm ABI, which expects 80 million ZigBee deployments before 2007.

The Arcom/Ember ZigBee development kit includes an Arcom Viper, a venerable XScale PXA25x based PC/104 board that was first launched in September of 2002, and which is also available as part of a general-purpose Linux development kit. The kit also includes the Ember EM2420, a chip described as “the first wireless platform to combine a 2.4 GHz radio transceiver chip with an embedded ZigBee-ready networking stack and development environment.”

On the software side, the ZigBee development kit includes embedded Linux, IBM's J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition), and WebSphere WQTT telemetry middleware. Arcom claims the kit provides an “end-to-end telemetry communications gateway” that pumps ZigBee network data from remote sensor devices to IBM's publish and subscribe information broker, WebSphere MQ Integrator (WMQI). From the broker, information can be distributed on a “one-to-many” basis using MQSeries messaging middleware to applications such as SAP-based ERP (enterprise resource planning), billing, scheduling, or trading floor applications.

“Bringing information from the field back to the enterprise through ZigBee networks will transform the way many industries do business. Ember's solution best addresses the low cost, low-power, and standardization requirements necessary for this technology to take off across the industrial world,” said Arcom's president, Arlen Nipper.

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