If you’re looking at home automation applications, there have been a number of options when it comes to how the devices speak to each other and back to the central repository/hub. One that has been at the tipping point for some time is Z-Wave. It’s possible that that tipping point is now, well, tipping. With a series of announcements from Sigma Designs, the leader in Z-Wave technology, the required energy efficiency and RF performance is now available to design a “context-aware” smart home.
If you’re less familiar, Z-Wave is an open wireless standard (G.9959) that targets wireless home control. The Z-Wave Alliance contains more than 700 vendors, from which more than 2400 products are available.
Sigma Design’s 700-Series Z-Wave series is a powered by an ARM processor core and has a fair amount of on-chip memory. The long-range, low-power hardware platform also includes the software tools and building blocks to enable the sensor devices that are needed to automate the home. Note that this includes the coming wave of artificial-intelligence and machine-learning systems that can take in that sensor data make the home smarter, safer, and more connected. This includes potentially embedding sensors into places like furniture, windows, and behind walls.
Another big benefit comes in the reduced power consumption, which allows these devices to run on batteries. Sigma Designs claims that sensors can be powered by a coin cell and live for 10 years. With a range for more than 100 m, a full house (including multiple stories and average-size yard) can be covered. It also says that every 700-Series device will have the highest level of security available in the smart home and offers a simple install process with Z-Wave SmartStart.
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