Zensys, developer of the award-winning Z-Wave wireless home control standard, announced the Z/IP program to drive convergence of Z-Wave and TCP/IP while simultaneously beginning to license Z-Wave to other chip manufacturers. "Given the continued success and market adoption of interoperable Z-Wave solutions, we are launching the Z/IP program to take Z-Wave to the next level of worldwide adoption," said Tony Shakib, CEO of Zensys. "In order to accomplish this we are making two significant advances – converging Z-Wave with TCP/IP to embrace the larger user community, and licensing the Z-Wave protocol to other silicon manufacturers."
By converging Z-Wave with TCP/IP, Zensys will enable standard based end-to-end home control networks and applications from anywhere on the Internet all the way into sensor networks. It will allow for the use of TCP/IP technology and knowledge in new applications directly on low cost, low power devices.
As with all previous Z-Wave protocol advances, Z/IP will remain backwards compatible with existing Z-Wave products while adding compliant TCP/IP services to Z-Wave nodes and will allow the use of proven Z-Wave device and command classes in TCP/IP networks.
"We are witnessing a major shift in the home control space right now away from proprietary-only based home control solutions towards IP-based systems and those that interface with IP-based devices," stated Bill Ablondi, director of home systems research for Parks Associates. "Z-Wave is one of the recognized leaders in technology for wireless home control and this development will only add to its appeal for the companies around the world that will drive the next generation of home control systems."
For end users, a primary benefit of TCP/IP convergence with Z-Wave will be the transparent use of home control applications from any location using any device, gateway or network. Given the findings from the Z-Wave Alliance/Kelton Research study conducted earlier this year that 72 percent of Americans want to monitor their home while away, there is obviously a real demand for simplifying wireless home control and automation applications.
"The decision to connect Z-Wave with TCP/IP resulted from our growing partnership with leading consumer electronics manufacturers such as Cisco and Linksys," added Mr. Shakib.
Martin Manniche, senior director, connected home architecture group at Linksys, a Division of Cisco Systems, Inc., stated, "As an investor in Zensys, we are pleased to see the technology move towards an open standard approach. Using TCP/IP will help to accelerate the adoption of applications for multiple uses of Z-Wave around the home, as well as interoperability amongst multiple vendors."
Zensys' Z-Wave licensing program will include chip designs, stack software and APIs. Zensys will continue to drive innovation and the development of Z-Wave, but will open the technology to other chip manufacturers interested in entering the home control space. Additionally, Zensys will offer Z-Wave porting services to assure quality and accelerate developments. The industry leading device specifications of Z-Wave will be made available royalty free based on a RAND-Z model. Most importantly, the successful Z-Wave certification program will be extended to continue to ensure interoperability between all products.
"We're approaching this as entering the next phase in the development of Z-Wave," said Mark Walters, chairman of the Z-Wave Alliance. "We've already proven the success of the Z-Wave Alliance in building an ecosystem of interoperable, low cost Z-Wave products and based on the potential around adding the use of native TCP/IP protocols for sensor networks, we're confident that now is the time to bring Z-Wave to markets that have been closed to Z-Wave in the past. By licensing Z-Wave to other chip manufacturers, we're removing the key hurdle for Z-Wave in the marketplace while continuing to drive Z-Wave innovation."