Home automation systems are so designed to control the climate, entertainment systems, all the light, and the appliances in a home. Most home automation systems feature home security. Homes with this level of automation are called smart homes. You may be thinking of transforming your home to a smart home, but you are not sure what technology to use. This article will examine the functions and benefits of one major contender in the world of home automation, Z-Wave.
The ground-breaking technology called Z-Wave was introduced by Zensys, a Danish company, in 1999. According to the reviewneeds, Z-Wave is similar to Zigbee in that it is based on wireless protocols that facilitate connectivity in a smart home. This technology is used by many enterprises to develop wireless sensors and other smart home devices.
Z-Wave is somewhat like Wi-Fi, but for the automation of your home. This technology is managed by the Z-Wave Alliance. This is a worldwide conglomerate of more than 300 companies who develop products and services that work with Z-Wave. It has been reported that there are more than 100 million Z-Wave based products on the market. When it comes to smart homes, Z-Wave is a cut above Wi-Fi with regards to home automation.
The difference in the functionality of Z-Wave when compared to Wi-Fi are to be noted. Z-Wave devices all link to form what is called a mesh network while Wi-Fi devices must connect to a central point such as a router. The full technical name for the mesh network is Source-routed Mesh Network Topology. It works by having one central hub that is not connected to the internet but to the devices. Signals jump from device to device in order to maintain a connection with the hub.
In recent years, smart homeowners would have begun to realize that they are now seeing a sticker that says “Z-Wave Plus” on their home automation products. What is the Z-Wave Plus? The Z-Wave Plus, which is also called the Z-Wave 500 series, is an upgrade from the previously launched Z-Wave. It features an increase in range, longer battery life, enhanced OTA, and RF channels. The Z-Wave Plus was released in March 2013.
The Z-Plus upgrade was well welcomed by the company’s customers; however, the technology is being constantly upgraded. In 2019, the Z-Wave Alliance made known its plans to make accessible the Z-Wave Specification as a multi-source wireless standard. This move would give other brands an opportunity to become a part of the ecosystem. This shift was announced to be accomplished by late 2020.
The Z-Wave systems on a chip can be placed within furniture and walls. This can be done to make the mesh network much stronger. One of the great things about technology is that it is backward compatible. This means that older devices that were originally made for the first generation of Z-Wave will be able to work with the newest upgrade.
The system of the Z-Wave functions over three levels:
The devices on the platform communicate on the application level. The seamless way in which these layers or levels work together makes the technology extremely reliable.
There are three categories of Z-Wave devices. These are:
- Actuators: These are controlled devices that are used to switch signals
- Controllers: This is the method of control for all the Z-Wave devices
- Sensors: These report the devices that are using digital and analog signals to communicate.
The Z-Wave functions with a greatly secure and reliable mesh network. With a number of devices on your mesh network, you will want a way to control these devices. Here are some options:
- Smart Phone
- Key Fob
- Physical Controls
Benefits of Z-Wave
When you are considering a home automation system, you need to be sure that you are getting your money’s worth. The Z-Wave has several benefits for its users. Let us explore a few.
The Z-Wave gives you the opportunity to have 232 nodes on the mesh network. This means that you can have up to 232 devices connected to the Z-Wave platform simultaneously. Coupled with a large number of available nodes in the range of the connection. The latest Z-Wave technology features a 100m range for point-to-point connection. It also operates at an extremely low level of power. Also, note that the Z-Wave has been dubbed as the globe’s safest and most secure ecosystem for smart homes.
Another major advantage of the Z-Wave is that it does not operate on the same band as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This means that you will not have to worry about clashing signals. It also secures a great range for itself in the home. It also means that no matter how much load your Wi-Fi is handling, your Z-Wave will be undisturbed. Some additional benefits of Z-Wave are:
- The long-range that you benefit from with the Z-Wave means that its reach is extended even to the outdoors.
- There is a considerable amount of manufactures of Z-Wave products. The Z-Wave Alliance ensures uniformity; therefore, you will have many options when selecting devices for home automation.
- Another benefit of the mesh network system is that you will not have a dead spot in your smart home
- The technology is incredibly inexpensive. The design of the technology makes available the option to start with a small ecosystem. The owner can slowly build on this system.
- The installation of the Z-Wave is simple. It will not require you to hire an electrician to rewire your entire house. This benefit makes Z-Wave very renter-friendly.
As technology evolves rapidly and becomes much more sophisticated, more homes will become automated. Berg Insight, Swedish researchers, suggest that by at least 2022, 63 million properties will be classified as smart homes. Americans will be able to control their lighting, their security cameras, and monitor their pets and other property from greatly remote locations. The Swedish researches report that there were about 130 million residents in America as of 2018. Based on the projection of Berg Insight, almost 50% of American homes will be smart homes by 2022. The examination of the state of Z-Wave shows that it is a major player in making this projection a reality.
It is clear that Z-Wave is an excellent idea for home automation. From the availability of nodes, the long and undisturbed range, the existence of more than 300 developers of devices to the use of little power, the Z-Wave is a crowd-pleaser. Those seeking to transform their homes to a smart home should seriously consider the Z-Wave.