ZigBee Plots IR's Demise

The ZigBee Input Device standard vows to replace 30-year-old infrared (IR) technology with an RF solution. Like IR, the new short-range wireless standard targets advanced human-input devices (HIDs). Examples include mice, keyboards, wands, touchpads, and other input devices that are used with computers and consumer-electronics devices. With the new ZigBee standard, these devices gain non-line-of-sight operation, two-way communications, longer range, extended battery life, and a broader range of capabilities and features.

The ZigBee Input Device standard was specifically designed for the ZigBee RF4ce specification. It is built on the existing ZigBee Remote control standard. With the ZigBee Input Device standard, users can utilize hiDs from greater distances and even nearby rooms. Given their two-way communications capability, the devices also will support greater functionality. For example, ZigBee Input Device products will be able to define functions and performance beyond the standard behavior of a mouse, keyboard, or similar HID. The standard also supports operation with existing ZigBee-Remote-Control-equipped high-definition televisions (HDTVs), set-top boxes, and other devices as well as existing computers. For touchpad devices, the standard provides native support for popular multi-touch and gesture commands including pinch or rotation. With the inclusion of simple push-button pairing, ZigBee Input Device products should be easy to use. And new features can be added at any time, thanks to over-the-air updates and programmability options.

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