NEWSLETTER
OCT 2017
Fall Updates from the Z-Wave Alliance

by Mitchell Klein, Executive Director, Z-Wave Alliance
Fall is a busy season for us all - whether we're adjusting the kids to their school routine or preparing for the last quarter of the year at work, I think everyone feels the reality: Summer Is Over. 

Z-Wave had an exceptionally busy start in large part due to the two major tradeshows where Z-Wave Alliance members showcased dozens of new innovations to the U.S. and global markets. On the U.S. front, myself and our team joined over 20 members at CEDIA 2017 in San Diego, to talk to and hear from the professional integrator community. Two years ago when the Alliance launched our Z-Wave Integrator membership and certified training, we made a commitment to the CEDIA community that we would continue to offer them value and help them be successful as they look at implementing Z-Wave networks in their smart home projects. 

We recently began shipping the Z-Wave Certified Installer Toolkit, a health and diagnostics tool designed to make the setup, maintenance and troubleshooting of a Z-Wave system incredibly straightforward and simple. It also allows integrators to create an RMR opportunity by putting the Toolkit in a client's home and remotely servicing the system without rolling a truck. The innovation we put into the CIT was recognized by CEDIA; we were thrilled to be named a CEDIA Award winner for Best New Product in the hardware category - one of 10 out of hundreds of entrants. The CIT was also the winner of a Best of Show award from Residential Systems and was an EXCITE! Award winner.

The CIT is truly a powerful tool for manufacturers and service providers to give to their installers or technicians and for integrators, it represents the continued commitment the Z-Wave Alliance has for this community. 

Meanwhile, our friends at Z-Wave Europe were busy helping to facilitate the Z-Wave Pavilion at IFA 2017 in Berlin and had a massively successful show with a lot of excitement around some new devices and innovations from our members in Europe. 

We asked Mario Schubert, Marketing and PR at Z-Wave Europe to give us a summary of IFA and the success they had, he had this to say:

"IFA 2017 was a really inspiring event with another success for the Z-Wave technology. Z-Wave was the most strongly represented wireless technology within the Smart Home area. Alone at the Z-Wave Alliance joint booth, organized by Z-Wave Europe, more than 20 different companies presented products and services. The Interoperability Wall was a great way to showcase how Z-Wave devices can work together - manufacturer and application independent. 

During the whole show, the Z-Wave joint booth was the most frequented booth within the Smart Home area. Highlight products, displayed at the booth were the new Oomi portfolio with 'Tap&Touch' inclusion, the POPP Keypad for access control as well as the ultra-thin Sensative Strips for leakage alarm, temperature and light measuring."

We recently returned from the annual Z-Wave Summit U.S., where member companies networked and learned about Z-Wave certification, device security, retail and marketing, and more. We also have several other events in October, including the recent Smart Kitchen Summit, an exciting executive-facing event dedicated to looking at how technology is changing the cooking and the kitchen. We're looking forward to additional events coming up. 

Happy Fall. 

-Mitch Klein, Executive Director
UPCOMING EVENTS
October 16-17, 2017, Chicago, IL 
Media Partner - use code z15 to get 15% off tickets

October 23-24, New York City, NY, USA
Discount code: ZWAVE25 for 25% off 

October 25-26, London, UK
Discount code: QSHe2D15 for 15% off

October 31-November 2, 2017, Moscow, Russia
Member Pavilion Sponsored by Z-Wave.Me Russia

November 15-16, 2017, Palo Alto, CA, USA
Media Partner - Use code: z15 to get 15% off tickets

November 16-18, 2017, Bangkok, Thailand
November 29-30, 2017, Santa Clara, CA, USA
Media Partner - Use code ZWAVE20 to get 20% off tickets

November 30-December 1, 2017, Chicago, IL, USA
Media Partner - Use code 4847ZWV250 for 
$250 off registration

January 9-12, 2018, Las Vegas, NV, USA

February 6 - 9 2018, Amsterdam, Netherlands

TECH SPOTLIGHT
August Home Ships First S2 Product in Z-Wave Ecosystem
Z-Wave Alliance member August Home recently introduced their first consumer retail Z-Wave lock, also the first product in the Z-Wave ecosystem to ship with the new S2 framework.

The August Smart Lock Pro is a Z-Wave Plus smart lock and the only smart lock currently on the market that includes S2. Z-Wave Plus compatibility allows the lock to be used with popular Z-Wave alarm and control systems to control and monitor the door from any location and track who enters and exits via a mobile activity app. The Z-Wave Smart Lock Pro also works with Alexa, Siri and the Google Assistant.

The S2 framework is the most advanced security for smart home devices and controllers, gateways and hubs in the market today. Z-Wave devices certified after April 2017 must include S2, which is backwards compatible with existing products in the market. Common hacks such as man in the middle and brute force are virtually powerless against the S2 framework through the implementation of the industry-wide accepted secure key exchange. Including S2 in Z-Wave certified smart home devices ensures that consumers have the safest, most secure product available. 
CONSUMER CORNER
3 Ways to Leverage Social Media to Increase Product Awareness

by Alex Gil, Caster Communications

The smart home product ecosystem is continuously evolving with new products being launched every week. With all the noise, it can be hard to make your products and brand stand out amongst the rest. One great way to help gain exposure? Leveraging social media, either paid or native, to broadcast your product and brand messages.

Here are three ways you can get started with social media today, with a focus on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Engage with your audience using Twitter chats, Facebook Live and other tools

 

If you're currently posting to Facebook and/or Twitter for your business, you're off to a great start. But posting a few updates a day should be the minimum - blasting out news and information about your product only goes so far. Engaging on both platforms means that you're not just throwing your company message at users, you're joining the bigger conversation and starting new ones. One great tool for engagement is Twitter chats where users reply to conversations generated from a central user around a central hashtag. You have the option of either joining a conversation (in the case of Z-Wave, could be one around the smart home) or starting a Twitter chat of your own around a topic you want to discuss. Another tool is Facebook Live - say you're at a tradeshow and are hosting a demonstration of your product. Livestream the demo to your followers and answer questions about the product in real-time.

 

Try using Facebook Advertising

 

In addition to regular social posts (daily or 3-4 times a week if you can) try running Facebook ads to promote your brand and product. There are lots of different ways you can utilize Facebook advertising, depending on your goals. If you want to drive traffic to a specific product buy page, try running ads with a campaign goal of increasing link clicks. If you want to amplify your presence on Facebook, try running ads with a campaign goal of boosting a post or page likes. There are lots of great resources out there (including on the Caster Communications blog!) if you're interested in getting started with social advertising.

 

Utilize a variety of images

 

Your Twitter or Facebook feed should never look like a sea of text. Users like their social feeds to be visually engaging and interesting to look at - otherwise they get bored easily and move on. Be sure to share photos along with your posts as often as possible. If you don't have a graphic designer on your team, you can utilize free programs like Canva to help you create design-friendly social graphics that are already laid out and ready for you to add your own photos to. 
MARKETING MATTERS

Z-Wave Summit 2017: Looking at the smart home market in 2027


We just recently came back from the Z-Wave Summit here in the U.S. and I was once again reminded of all of the exciting work Alliance members are doing and all the opportunity that exists for the future of this ecosystem. One thing that stood out in discussions - both formally on panels and informally during the breaks - was the growing challenges of creating, marketing and selling the "smart home" as the opportunity gets bigger and more complex. It's not enough to build products for right now; companies must be constantly thinking about the future consumers; the next generation of home dwellers and what technologies and cultural influences are going to impact their needs and norms.
The first day, I led a panel discussion that tried to look at this exact topic - joining me were Bob O'Donnell, chief analyst from TECHnalysis, John Feland, Founder of Argus Insights and Brad Russell, Analyst at Parks Associates and we started by exploring the current challenges around DIY versus installed smart home devices. It was clear from some of the chatter earlier in the day and from our keynote panels that even in the total DIY space there was still a need for better brand support and installation help for end users.

With traditional retail struggling to deliver that support - both pre-sales and after - we talked about who would emerge to help consumers. It was agreed that telcos and other service providers who have an installer base already would be well poised to come and help with initial setup but the likelihood that the "do it with me" consumer was only going to become more prevalent.

While single device adoption has increased, consumers clearly have a desire to do more and voice control is a huge driver of that. Bob O'Donnell pointed out that ¼ US households have smart home devices, with the top five devices being smart speakers, smart thermostats, light bulbs, indoor security cameras and garage door openers. Interestingly, 60% of people who owned smart speakers reported buying them in the last 6 months, showing the huge influence that big players like Amazon and Google are having in the market.

The conversations around retail and how to make the shopping experience for smart home at physical stores better for consumers was prevalent not just on the panel dedicated to the topic but throughout the summit. As more retailers carry these devices and more big companies and brands get into the space, the more awareness there is - which is great! But what happens when someone walks into a store to try to make their home a smart one? They'll likely experience poor in store support and a lackluster display and general confusion about where to begin. It's clear there's a lot of work to do - the good news is that Z-Wave has a lot in the pipeline to help retailers and Z-Wave.com, an e-commerce and education site managed by the Z-Wave team, is going to be launching new smart guides soon to help consumers make purchases easily.

It's clear from the Z-Wave Summit that we're passed the point of basic education for consumers on smart home and onto fully helping them realize its potential. The best way to do that is to keep working on simplicity and delight - giving people a reason to love their connected devices (because they do something awesome for them or entertain them or make life better) and making it easy to get it all working. 
IN THE FIELD
CEDIA 2017: Perspective and Insight From a 20-year Show Veteran
by Brian Esarove, A.I. Home Automation
Brian Esarove is a Senior Design Engineer for A.I. Home Automation, one of the many integrators that make up the Z-Wave Alliance membership. We reached out to our integrator community for this month's In the Field column to ask for thoughts and perspective on the most recent CEDIA show, as well as past shows and why events like CEDIA are important for the smart home integrator community.
 
Brian shares his thoughts, below.
 
You participated in CEDIA 2017 this year, did you notice any trends among the integrator community presence at the show?
 
This year I noticed that there were a lot more of Z-Wave products, particularly Z-Wave Plus, as well as more of an understanding that this is a show specifically for integrators. In the past, I think that many companies have shown up with new products, but with no intention of integrating their products with any of the control systems present, which seemed like a waste of time for all involved.
 
I also noticed a lot more low-voltage lighting companies this year. As a dealer that is low voltage, but not high-voltage licensed, it gives us an additional revenue source without adding additional clients. It will also give us inroads into new clients that are interested in whole-home low-voltage lighting but may not have initially been thinking about other home automation products, so it's a great opportunity to introduce them to the market.
 
What do think shows like CEDIA offer the integrator community specifically?
 
I think shows like CEDIA offer integrators almost a one stop shop - they get to see new products in action and meet with the manufacturers of those products to get an idea of how they see them being implemented in the field. It also gives dealers the ability to suggest improvements to existing products that can make them more suited to our needs.
 
How would you say the show differs from 20 years ago?
 
This year marked my 20th in attendance at CEDIA, so I've had the opportunity to experience the show as it has evolved and changed significantly. I see two major differences - the products and the attendees. I noticed that the days of big bulky CRT Projectors are long gone, and more from control companies that offer varying degrees of customization like Control4, URC, RTI and Savant. It seems is if the industry has gone away from the original "open programming" platforms to a more "drag and drop" programming methodology.
 
Attendees are also different now versus 20 years ago. The show seems to be much more professional and business-minded, with a much larger presence of actual custom installers versus people who only own independent audio/video stores.
 
Predictions on what it will look like 10 years from now?
 
I think that there will be a more "computerized" solution with companies like Intel now getting into the microcontroller business versus a manufactured semi closed loop system for control like we have now. I think that we will continue to see the expansion of wireless technology that is both more reliable and able to handle more devices as clients would much rather spend money on devices then wiring to make those devices connect. We will see a better solution for powering those devise such as longer life batteries as well as the ability to recharge those batteries wirelessly while still located in the device. I also think that communication protocols will continue to evolve as the need to control growing networks becomes more relevant. 
Z-WAVE NEWS
Sigma Designs Announces the Availability of Z-Wave SmartStart
At the end of September, Sigma Designs announced the availability of Z-Wave SmartStart, a protocol and gateway that combines and accelerates the product installation process, and makes out-of-the-box set-up of Z-Wave devices possible.

Prior to entering the home, SmartStart can pre-configure devices to the network, greatly reducing installation time. This makes the connection process more efficient, lowers costs for installers and maximizes their return on investment (ROI). SmartStart also simplifies DIY setups for homeowners making them more accessible and user-friendly.

Before, smart home install technicians had to spend hours integrating products and composing scenes and rules before an installation. Now with SmartStart, technicians simply hook up and start the products to establish the network. This allows for shorter jobs and identical setups regardless of brand, application or product type.

SmartStart comes as a solution to many of the industry's adoption barriers including user error, integration complexity, and product returns due to faulty install. "Studies have shown the primary reason that consumers return a smart home device is due to setup difficulty. We're removing that barrier to adoption with Z-Wave SmartStart, so that any combination of devices and brands from the Z-Wave ecosystem for an experience of consistent installation quality, using pre-configuration for instant, uniform integration, whether they're doing it themselves or relying on the expertise of their service provider," said Raoul Wijgergangs, vice president Z-Wave Business Unit for Sigma Designs.

SmartStart utilizes Z-Wave's best-in-class Security 2 (S2) framework, providing the most advanced security for smart home products. S2 not only allows service providers to offer the most secure smart home packages available, but also completely removes the risk of devices being hacked while they are operating within the network.

Z-Wave SmartStart expedites smart home adoption, streamlines installations and provides consumers with a secure network for a safer and smarter home. For more information, please visit: www.sigmadesigns.com.  
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