In 2001, a wireless protocol called Z-Wave was first introduced by Danish company Zensys. The first Z-Wave 100 Series Chipset followed just a few years later. The rest, as they say, is history.

Z-Wave was built specifically for the smart home before anyone was calling it that. Home control enthusiasts and developers knew that to succeed, a standard had to not only use low amounts of power and not interfere with other household electronics, but also grow stronger as devices were added to a system. 

Now, 20 years later, Z-Wave’s legacy as one of the original mesh technologies continues on. Every Z-Wave manufacturer, developer, integrator and end-user has had a stake in making Z-Wave what it is today. With a growing certified product ecosystem, new and fast-evolving technology capabilities, and a membership including some of the most influential companies in the smart home today, Z-Wave and the Z-Wave Alliance continue to flourish, while leveraging two decades of knowledge and innovation. 

Last month, Mitch Klein, director of strategic partnerships - IoT, Silicon Labs/executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance, and four representatives from various BoD member companies were interviewed by Moor Insights & Strategy to celebrate “20 Years of Z-Wave!”

During the interview, the hosts asked the guests various questions about Z-Wave through the years, but when asked what they were most excited about for the future of Z-Wave, here’s what they had to say:

“Z-Wave Long Range is really just the tip of the iceberg for where Z-Wave is headed. We are constantly looking at ways to increase the range and while the current testing shows that Z-Wave LR can cover a little over one mile, the theoretical limit is actually over four miles. When we evaluate the distance and volume capabilities of Long Range, we’re realizing that it will significantly help in lowering the costs of devices, especially as we take Z-Wave further than the home and into MDU, hospitality, and even agriculture applications.” - Mitch Klein, director of strategic partnerships – IoT, Silicon Labs/executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance

“At STRATIS, we’re finally connecting to the utilities which has been a long and hard battle for us. While there was an incumbent there for a variety of reasons, we’re finally implementing OpenADR and are actively creating demand response savings opportunities for multifamily residents and owners for the first time. I’m so thrilled that Z-Wave is our leader there.” - Felicite Moorman, Founder, STRATIS IoT 

“What I’m looking forward to is the continued push by Z-Wave to drive the consumer experience. From the door lock manufacturing perspective, we’re in a unique position because we develop battery-powered devices. Throughout each generation of Z-Wave, from the 300 to the 500, and now with the 700 series, we’re able to continuously improve the battery life of our products which is something the end-user really appreciates. Range is also important to the consumer experience. Z-Wave Long Range plays a big role as we start talking about multi-family housing and other commercial applications. But even from a single-family perspective, it’s important that our locks, which are primarily found on the outside of the buildings, can seamlessly connect to a device or a hub somewhere on the interior. That’s why the longer the range, the better connectivity and more reliability we’re going to have.” - Jason Williams, president, ASSA ABLOY 

“Z-Wave Long Range is super important to all of us for many reasons, but one thing I’m excited about is how it will enable multiple silicon providers to incorporate the technology into their devices which will drive the prices down significantly.” - Mariusz Malkowski, director of customer success and integration, 

"As we move forward, we are focused on interoperability and the user experience. For example, when I leave my house in the morning, I receive a message notifying me that my smartphone has left the geofence and with the press of a single button my front door locks, my thermostat adjusts, my lights and appliances turn off, my garage door closes, and my security system arms. Now my home is safer and more energy-efficient. This interconnectivity, much of which is enabled by Z-Wave, results in massive savings and a delightful experience for the end-user.” - Jeremy McLerran, director, global security and smart building marketing, Qolsys/Johnson Controls

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Z-Wave Alliance Has Been Certifying Devices to Protect All Devices in the Network for Nearly Five Years. What’s Taking Everyone Else so Long? 

Over the past year, the amount of smart home and IoT devices on a single network has increased as business owners and consumers continue to adopt smart home technology to make improvements to the home and work environments. The increased adoption of technology has reinforced the importance of network protection and security. The Z-Wave Alliance continues to certify devices to protect the entire network, but smart home device manufacturers are often thinking about the security of their devices rather than the network as a whole. I think it's time for the industry to mandate minimum levels of security measures to protect against cyber intrusions. 

The Z-Wave Security 2 (S2) framework gives smart home and IoT adopters and manufacturers optimal network security. The S2 security framework requires a high level of security on all certified devices for the smart home, removing the risk of devices being hacked while they are included in the network and making common hacks virtually powerless. With security implementations like Z-Wave S2, the Z-Wave Alliance continues to certify devices that will remain protected in the network. 

With more companies entering the market, and with an increased demand for smart home and IoT devices, it’s more important than ever before to have a mandated and certified protocol that ensures security is maintained among different products in an interoperable ecosystem. At a time when the industry is seeing increased adoption of technical devices, the Z-Wave Alliance stands firmly behind our mandate to ensure that security on the Z-Wave network is not compromised by incompatible manufacturer implementations.

- Mitchell Klein

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