[Secutech2014] SMAhome Int'l Conference: Z-Wave an ecosystem, not just a standard

[Secutech2014] SMAhome Int'l Conference: Z-Wave an ecosystem, not just a standard

Z-Wave Evangelist in Asia C.K. Sze presented the benefits of Z-Wave at Secutech 2014's SMAhome International conference. His talk covered why Z-Wave's technology is an optimal choice for smart home solutions, as well as Z-Wave's implications for security, hospitality and residential markets.

While home automation is nothing new, the past 30 years have seen solutions opt for wired transmission. Wired transmission is inherently superior to its airborne counterpart, what with its mature technology, abundant bandwidth and resistance to interfering signals. The problem is that it is expensive.

Sze says that the Internet of Things will inevitably push the capabilities of home automation to even households with average incomes, and wireless transmission helps bring costs down significantly. Sze believes that wireless transmission for the smart home will see a process similar to the shift from landline phones to mobile phones, where the reliability of landline phones eventually gave way to the ubiquity and convenience of mobile phones. Wireless technologies will dominate the retrofit smart home market because wires are impractical in many situations.

Leading global smart home product and service providers have adopted Z-Wave as their protocol of choice, such as the tier-1 US telcos Verizon and AT&T, as well as other big brands like ADT, Alarm.com, Honeywell, Kwikset, Vivint and more. But what makes Z-Wave an optimal choice? According to Sze, Z-Wave is the only wireless transmission technology to feature all of the following characteristics that are essential to a practical smart home solution:

- Reliable transmission through a mesh network
- Secure, encrypted communication between devices
- Low power consumption and minimal electromagnetic radiation
- Easy to use, plug-and-play
- Guaranteed interoperability and backward compatibility

Sze admits that the smart home concept is a hard sell. Most devices are not must-haves, which is why the entry point for the smart home should begin with security systems, lighting and energy management.

He added that the five-star hotel Wynn Las Vegas installed 65,000 wave devices in 2011. The installation significantly saved it time and money, while causing negligible destruction to its original decor. As a result, visitors have a greater stay, can control their whole room via a single UI, and the hotel's security team can easily monitor 2,716 rooms for any anomalies. And the new system saves the hotel 40% on energy bills.

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