Why has Nordic Semiconductor joined the ZBOSS Open Initiative?

By Pär Håkansson May 20, 2020

open software development

Nordic Semiconductor joins the ZBOSS Open Initiative. How does that benefit our customers?

The ZBOSS Open Initiative (ZOI) is a community of companies working on a common Zigbee® PRO software platform. Although built upon a membership model, the ZBOSS Open Initiative relies on the dynamics of open source software projects. As a core member, Nordic Semiconductor will closely collaborate with other companies on the ZBOSS stack we use for our nRF52 and nRF53 Series of devices. These joined forces are essential to solve the challenges with interoperability and security for our customers in the IoT market.

What is ZBOSS Open Initiative (ZOI)

ZOI is a community of companies aiming to overcome, together, the challenges around interoperability, security, testing, and optimization of Zigbee®-enabled products and solutions. At the core of ZOI is the ZBOSS stack, a Zigbee Alliance certified, hardware agnostic, cross-platform, high-performance Zigbee® software protocol stack developed by DSR Corporation. The ZBOSS stack is developed and maintained by DSR Corporation. It’s been used in many certified Zigbee 3.0 products for years, by Nordics customers as well as others.

Read more: Introducing Zigbee All Hubs

Through a membership license, participating companies can enter ZOI at different tiers, always with access to the source code, continuous integration testing tools, and the modern collaboration tools to be able to contribute to and benefit from the ZBOSS code base. All this to create a creative collaboration between all participating companies.

Why did Nordic join the ZBOSS Open Initiative?

With this strategic move, we are hands-on collaborating on the Zigbee PRO stack used by our customers on our SoCs. This has considerable benefits to our customers, even though they may not be members.

Being able to contribute to the ZBOSS stack, we can optimize the platform integration of our own SoCs. We can thus take advantage of all the hardware features of the Nordic devices and optimize power consumption, i.e., making sure the ZBOSS stack works optimally on our devices.

Furthermore, by being a member, we can prioritize new features and provide the code for the implementation. By making pull requests, these features will be implemented a lot faster and thus benefit our customers.

Bug fixing is another vital benefit as we can provide solutions for them as they are detected by our customers, by us or by any other participating company. Again, the tempo of implementation is superior to that of everyone implementing by themselves, consequently, reducing cost and time to market for Zigbee products.

It is also our belief that having multiple companies collaborating on the codebase will further improve quality and provide faster response to security vulnerabilities.

As a core member, we are in proximity to the development of the platform itself. We participate in the steering committee, where we influence the roadmap of the ZBOSS stack by voting and prioritizing new features from the community members.

Benefits for Nordic’s customers

First of all, we need to clarify that Nordic will supply libraries in our SDK as we have done before, with no obligation to join as a member or pay for a license. Even as a non-member, our customers will benefit significantly from Nordics membership in the ZBOSS Open Initiative. To sublicense the ZBOSS libraries, we enable Nordic’s customers to create products from our SDK without any additional license costs as long as they are using it on a Nordic device.

Furthermore, our influence on roadmap and bugfixes is fueled by the dialogue and input from our customers using our SoCs.

When we encourage our customers to join ZOI at a preferred tier, it’s because we acknowledge how they can add benefits:

  • Ability to troubleshoot via source code of the stack
  • Customize and contribute to features
  • Influence the roadmap of ZBOSS
  • Get early access to development work of not yet released version of the Zigbee specification

For more information on the ZBOSS Open Initiative, please refer to the ZBOSS homepage.

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Topics: zigbee

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By: Pär Håkansson

Pär Håkansson holds an M.Sc. EE and a Technical Licentiate degree in communication electronics from Linköping University. Pär has extensive engineering experience starting as a RF Application Engineer. He spent the last decade in the low power wireless industry, holding positions in both research and business/marketing. Pär Håkansson joined Nordic Semiconductor in 2015 and currently works as a Strategic marketing manager. He also serves as a board member for the Thread Group.

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