Some home control devices may be getting a shot of caffeine thanks to the release of a new chipset for the Z-Wave wireless protocol.
Chipset maker Sigma Designs is taking the Z-Wave wireless protocol to the next level of web control and compatibility with the introduction of its new Next Gen Product Portfolio.
In addition to the new chipset, the release includes a software suite and reference designs that will enable manufacturers to quickly and inexpensively bring smartphone and tablet control to their home automation ssystems. Providers like ADT, Vivint, Verizon and other entry-level home automation providers are already doing this, having invested on their own to develop apps that allow for real-time control of their cameras, thermostats, security sensors, etc.
Any of the 55 Z-Wave manufacturers in the Z-Wave Alliance will be able to quickly emulate a similar type of remote control, according to Mary Miller, senior marketing director of the Z-Wave Alliance/Sigman Designs.
“There are a lot of players with end user devices without the know-how to build out the Internet side of the equation,” says Raoul Wijgergangs, VP of sales globally for Sigma Designs/Z-Wave Alliance. Specifically, the fully backward-compatible upgraded protocol is designed for OEMs and service providers interested in developing home control products and services. Wijgergangs says, in a nutshell, the new release brings together the “Z-Wave ecosystem of 700 devices already in the field and takes them to the Internet.”
The platform consists of:
Z-Ware: The middleware for home control that forms an intelligent Application Programming Interface (API) that provides capabilities such as Configuration, Scenes and Device Control, Schedules, and Statistics.
Apps: The fully customizable user interface reference designs that provide a consistent look and feel across multiple platforms. Miller estimates there are currently about two dozen Z-wave apps on the market.
Z/IP: The software engine that transforms IP protocol command to Z-Wave command and vice versa.
Gateway: A reference design for the production of a low-cost Z-Wave to Ethernet Bridge/Gateway.
Next Gen 500 Series chips and modules to support consumer hardware manufacturing with increased memory and better RF properties, allowing for more product features.
Wijgergangs expects to see new products in the market by July or August of this year with the 5.0 chipset. Upgrading legacy equipment will be simple, according to Miller, because the replacement chipset is a simple pin-to-pin connector.
“Quick and efficient deployment, cost reductions, and an improved customer experience are all goals that our partners strive to achieve,” says Gabi Hilevitz, vice president and general manger of home connectivity at Sigma Designs. “The Z-Wave Next Gen portfolio empowers developers through a flexible yet simplified solution that allows them to focus on consumer needs while significantly reducing their time to market.”
“Home control services are one of the fastest-growing technologies in the market, driven by consumer desire for enhanced security, home monitoring, energy management and convenience. With the proliferation of smart phones and tablets, there has been significant global growth in adoption of these services by security monitoring companies, telcos, MSOs and utilities. Sigma’s turnkey solution for deployment will contribute to the trajectory of this growing sector,” says Tom Kerber, director of research, Home Controls & Energy, Parks Associates.
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