"Of course, we made some mistakes. We were ahead of the market. We over-engineered ZigBee and lost a large part of the home market to a simpler, cheaper technology (Z-Wave). And we failed to bring a marketing genius on board who might have been able to stimulate more demand. But the biggest problem was the absence of a “killer app”, what the spreadsheet was for the PC, a use case that a large number of consumers really cared about.
The apps that looked most promising were energy management and home automation/security. Industrial markets are fragmented and inherently slower to change. Seven years later, the smart home (encompassing automation, energy management, and security) is still the most promising market.
The learning from Ember was: few people feel a burning need for a smart home. Energy concerns come and go with energy prices, and since 2008 energy prices have been down and SUV sales are up. The ZigBee companies got a nice lift from smart meters around 2010, but that was mostly a regulator-driven initiative, versus consumer-driven. When the regulatory mandate was met, the market stalled.