Silicon Labs and Z-Wave Alliance expand smart home ecosystem

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas—Silicon Labs and the Z-Wave Alliance announced plans to open the Z-Wave Specification as a ratified, multi-source wireless standard, available to all silicon and stack vendors for development. Semiconductor and software suppliers will be able to join the Z-Wave ecosystem, contribute to future advancements of the smart home standard, and develop and supply sub-GHz Z-Wave radio devices and software stacks. The Z-Wave Alliance will expand to a standards development organization for this specification and will continue to manage their certification program which will include software and hardware. 

The open Z-Wave Specification is expected to be available in the second half of 2020 and will include the ITU.G9959 PHY/MAC radio specification, the application and network layers, and the host-device communication protocol, becoming a multi-source, wireless smart home standard developed collectively by Z-Wave Alliance working group members. 

Alliance members and smart home consumers will benefit from hallmark Z-Wave features including interoperability, backwards compatibility, the S2 security framework, installation with SmartStart, low-power functionality with a 10-year battery life and long-range with sub-GHz mesh. 

“As a standards organization, the Z-Wave Alliance will help solve the interoperability challenges hindering the adoption of smart home devices,” Mitch Klein, executive director for the Z-Wave Alliance, said in the announcement. “Members will work together on a single sub-GHz connectivity solution that guarantees the forward and backward compatibility, interoperability, security and robustness needed to grow the IoT. The Z-Wave Alliance will collectively advance a fully realized smart home standard.” 

Silicon Labs is committed to IoT standardization. By expanding access to Z-Wave as a standard supported by multiple vendors, the smart home ecosystem will benefit both from broader technology support as well as accelerated market adoption.

“Silicon Labs has worked to create positive alignment across the industry with the goal of advancing both security and compatibility in smart home devices,” Jake Alamat, vice president and general manager of IoT home and consumer products at Silicon Labs said. “Future success for the smart home industry relies on ecosystems getting closer, not farther apart. The smart home market opportunity is tremendous, and we want to help drive its success. When the ecosystems work together toward a common goal, the entire industry including manufacturers, developers, retailers and consumers benefit from this open collaboration.”

Silicon Labs will continue to invest in Z-Wave technology and contribute to its future growth, collaborating with new suppliers through the expanded Z-Wave Alliance. 

“As an early adopter of Z-Wave technology, we welcome this move by Silicon Labs,” George Land, Z-Wave Alliance board member and general manager of digital products, Trane, said. “Enabling an even broader ecosystem of interoperability will bolster both consumer and manufacturer confidence, driving overall growth of the industry.”