August 8, 2011 - Leading UK and European test house TRaC has announced that within days of the release of the latest version of the ZigBee wireless data standard for Smart Energy products, it has already concluded a comprehensive product test programme for a leading European manufacturer.

On 20th July 2011, the ZigBee Alliance formally made available version 1.1 of ZigBee Smart Energy – the only widely available Advanced Metering Infrastructure standard. The standard is based on the well-established ZigBee standard for self-organising (mesh) wireless data networking using the 2.4 GHz band. ZigBee Smart Energy overlays the protocols and services that will be needed to build the metering and control infrastructure for the much-discussed Smart Grid of the future. This latest, 1.1 version adds a number of key features including dynamic pricing enhancements and over-the-air updates; all requiring backward-compatibility with certified ZigBee Smart Energy products that conform to version 1.0.

Any of these features and services embodied in Smart Energy products must be fully tested for conformance before the product can be declared as ZigBee SE 1.1-Compliant. TRaC has a long-established policy of monitoring evolving standards, and immediately following the release of ZigBee SE 1.1, had a compliance-test suite in place. TRaC is currently the only test house in Europe ready and able to carry out this test programme – and one of only a select few sites world-wide.

Equally advanced with its programme for ZigBee SE 1.1 products is Danish manufacturer Develco Products; the company designs and produces communication systems for Automated Meter Reading, Advanced Metering Infrastructure, and Smart Metering combined with Home Automation. The company makes extensive use of wireless data protocols; as a Member of the ZigBee Alliance since its inception, Develco has always ensured rigorous adherence to ZigBee standards in all of its products.

With a new generation of Smart Metering products employing ZigBee SE 1.1 features, approaching release to market, Develco Products needed to be able to declare conformance to the Standard as soon as version 1.1 was formalised. Working closely with TRaC over a period of months, the two companies monitored the Standards process for any late changes. The end result of this was a particularly fast turnaround resulting in 7 different SE 1.1 certified products.

Henning Maerkedahl, Managing Director at Develco Products, commented, “This was the culmination of a carefully-planned programme we set up to ensure that we could place fully-certified ZigBee SE 1.1-based products in the marketplace at the earliest possible time. The co-operation Develco Products received from TRaC was second to none and we are delighted with the speed and quality of the service TRaC has provided.”

Paul Russell, Director at TRaC, added, “The new ZigBee SE 1.1 test service strongly complements our comprehensive test and regulation services for ZigBee technology devices. We were particularly pleased to be able to work with Develco to provide them with certification testing results for their range of products within – literally – hours of the Alliance making the formal announcement of the release of the version 1.1 certification route.”