Unlocking New Market Opportunities - A Fast Track to Certification

By: Daniel Moneta, CMO & VP Corporate Development, MMB Networks // Board Member and Marketing Working Group Chair, Zigbee Alliance

Earlier this year, the Zigbee Alliance launched the Certification Transfer Program. This program enables both member companies and, for the first time, non-member companies to market and sell Certified Products from a different member company while maintaining that product’s certified status under their own brand. The team here at MMB Networks is excited for what this new program is poised to accomplish for the industry, and our customers.

The program includes the flexibility to make reasonable modifications to the product such as designing a new enclosure, changing product packaging, or altering the user interface. This means that a single member’s Certified Product can be redesigned and remarketed to meet the needs of many different users, aesthetics, or price points.

Creating innovation in the interoperability space is what gets our team out of bed in the morning. So, needless to say, we’re already looking for opportunities to leverage this program to the fullest.

More importantly though, why should you care?

  • Vendors of Zigbee products that need to fill a gap in their portfolio can now do so while maintaining consistency across their offerings.

  • New companies wanting to enter the IoT market can now quickly and easily do so without needing the expertise to design their own devices. 

  • Ecosystem developers can not only choose from hundreds of Zigbee Certified products, but can now choose to market those products under their own cohesive brand.

  • Solutions providers can now develop and certify designs that enable hundreds of new and innovative devices, while ensuring performance and interoperability.

Creating all-encompassing paths to certification with the new Certification Transfer Program

Traditionally, there have been two paths that the Alliance offered to member companies wanting to certify products.

  1. Certification for New Products: This path requires products to be put through a rigorous testing phase carried about by authorized testing service providers to ensure products are designed to Zigbee specifications. This path is required for all new product entries seeking certified status.

  2. Certification by Similarity: This path allows members to certify a product based on its similarity to a product that the same member has already certified (an important distinction that will make sense in a moment). This is a nice way for derivative products to get to market faster by piggybacking on the certification of original products that are the same in functionality and makeup, while allowing minor changes.

Having just these two paths was somewhat restrictive as there was no way for a company to market and sell another company’s Certified Product under their own brand. There was certainly no way to do that if you were a company that wasn’t a member of the Alliance.

This is where the brand-new Certification Transfer Program comes in. Borrowing from the criteria that outline the Certification by Similarity path, the new Certification Transfer Program uses this common-sense methodology to allow certification transfers between companies. The original vendor (a Participant- or Promoter-level Zigbee Alliance Member) simply registers their Certified Product with the program, and their customers (other members or new companies entering the market) may apply to receive a Certification Transfer. It really is that simple.

Why this matters

If you are a Promoter- or Participant-level member this matters. A lot. By enrolling your products in the Certification Transfer Program, you can offer new and existing customers considerably more value by allowing them to leverage the trusted Zigbee Alliance Certified product logos under their own brand, and get those products to market much faster.

For Adopter members and new companies this also matters. A lot. It means the ability to easily enter the IoT space with new products without needing the expertise to design and implement devices on your own. This dramatically reduces known barriers to entry, time and cost to market, and affords you more time to focus on tailoring products to your end users (the fun stuff) and less time messing around with networking functionality (the stuff we actually find fun).

It also means your products can easily enter the Zigbee Alliance Certified ecosystem of more than half a billion products across the globe.  You read that right, half a billion.

How to participate in the Certification Transfer Program

Only Promoter and Participant members can enroll products in the Certification Transfer program (to see what products qualify, click here). Any member in good standing (Adopters, Participants, or Promoters) can then receive transferred certifications for derivative products from a different company through the program.

Non-member companies are also eligible to receive a Certification Transfer (maximum of 10 per year) provided they agree to the terms of use of the Zigbee Certified product markings and logos, and have never been an Alliance member.

The Alliance has made it simple to get started. Promoter and Participant member companies can go online through the Alliance Certification Portaland enable the eligibility of their products for the program. They, as well as Adopters, can then apply for Certification Transfers from different companies within the same portal.

Non-member companies have a separate, easy-to-use online portal for submitting applications. For more details on the program process, rules around participation, benefits, and more, visit this link.

Cultivating innovation

Overall, the Certification Transfer Program plays directly into the Alliance’s mission to ignite creativity and collaboration in the Internet of Things, by creating, evolving, and promoting universal open standards that enable all objects to connect and interact. As smart home ecosystems expand with growing consumer adoption, we see this program cultivating innovation in the IoT at a rapid pace, and more importantly creating new revenue streams for both new and existing players in the IoT marketspace. Two things that our team constantly strives to provide our customers and the industry as a whole.

To learn more about the process and benefits of the program, visit the webpage, or contact certification@zigbee.org. The public is also invited the Zigbee Alliance’s upcoming webinar on the program, which will take place Wednesday, August 22, at 7am PDT. Register here.

This post originally appeared on the Zigbee Alliance website. To view it click here