First Alert Debuts Z-Wave Smoke Detector

The upcoming device can trigger alerts and home automation events, such as shutting off a house fan.

There are hundreds of Z-Wave products on the market, but until now, we could not find a smoke detector with the wireless home automation protocol built in. Now BRK, the maker of First Alert-branded products, is launching the ZSmoke, which is apparently the first Z-Wave smoke alarm available to U.S. consumers.

“We have had other [Z-Wave] smoke alarms, but none available direct to consumers until this one,” says Mary Miller, senior director corporate marketing for Sigma Designs, the chip-maker that acquired Z-Wave developer Zensys in 2008.

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There is a product in Europe that comes from a Taiwanese factory called Vision Security. The company makes the ZS 6101 smoke detector, available online for about €54 ($73). The company also sells a Z-Wave CO detector in Europe. OEM samples are available for the U.S. market, but no company has picked it up yet.

Another Taiwanese OEM Everspring offers the SF812 Wireless Smoke Detector, but again it has yet to be deployed as a consumer product.

So it appears that First Alert is the first in the U.S. The new ZSmoke can be tied into virtually any Z-Wave-enabled home automation system (like the new $200 HomeTroller Zee from HomeSeer) to trigger events such as shutting off the house fan if smoke is detected.

Tied into a home-control system, the ZSmoke (like any Z-Wave device) can send alerts to the homeowner, who in turn can take appropriate action. It could flash the lights in the house upon smoke detection — for the benefit of neighbors or occupants who might be hard of hearing. It could sound an outdoor siren. It could unlock the front door — but only when the residents are away — for when help arrives.

First Alert product manager Sara DeLuca says the company has a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm in the works and “we look forward to developing more products that utilize Z-Wave technology.”

The ZSmoke is the 900th product certified by the Z-Wave Alliance. It’s available now, with an MSRP of $29.97.

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