Recently, CE Pro had the opportunity to virtually meet with Mitch Klein, executive director, Z-Wave Alliance, to discuss what he views as this year’s smart home trends to keep an eye on, how the new Z-Wave 800 chipset will impact integration projects, and much more.
CE Pro: What smart home trends do you think could shape 2022?
Mitch Klein: Our recently released State of the Ecosystem report has some very interesting insights on the smart home landscape. The report found that DIY installation has become a dominant means of installation among consumers across many device categories. While this may seem like bad news for integrators, the news is quite the opposite! Not only does this drive awareness; at some point consumers want to add more capabilities than they can handle, time-wise and learning curve. That is where I see continued opportunity for the “do-it-with-me” category.
In this model, integrators can serve as a professional resource to help clients build out their smart home ecosystem and become their IT expert (savior?).
The Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem report found 64% of consumers who had a company professionally install their home security or home control system have had that company back to install more devices. It’s a good reminder for integrators to take their time in the discovery phase of a project. What started out as a simple security system could morph into a much bigger project.
CE Pro: How will the newly introduced Z-Wave 800 chipset make an impact?
Mitch Klein: The 800 chipset opens up new opportunities providing longer range, improved battery life and the ability to support up to 4,000 devices. Longer range enables devices beyond the home’s perimeter to the edge of the property and beyond, such as out buildings, pools, long driveways, and rural mailboxes. These improvements are also a significant step to expanding and scaling the capabilities of the smart home beyond a single home to multi-dwelling units and hospitality applications.
CE Pro: What makes Z-Wave attractive to new Alliance members?
Mitch Klein: Joining Z-Wave instantly connects members to a network of experts as well as a massive, available ecosystem. The opportunities for partnership with alliance members are tremendous and they know they are building on a secure platform that has never been hacked outside of a lab. In short, there are a lot of upsides to joining an organization that has been a leader in the smart home category for the past 20 years.
CE Pro: How important are improvements Z-Wave made in increasing IoT battery life and wireless distance?
Mitch Klein: You’ve hit on two of the most important features of this new chipset that are key to advancing Z-Wave. Take sensors, for example. Our ability to offer enhanced battery life in a smaller overall form factor allows companies to go beyond current parameters for placement. This enables us to place sensors in hard-to-reach locations — within walls, under floorboards, in the attic, under and behind heavy appliances — which can collect and provide valuable data to move beyond “connected” and get us closer to the “contextually aware” home.
CE Pro: Do high-profile Z-Wave Alliance members like Alarm.com, ADT, Leviton, Vivint, etc., help to increase the awareness and viability of the platform?
Mitch Klein: They’ve been long supporters and we can’t discount the impact they have had. That’s the exciting thing about the technology industry, you never know who the next “big name” may be.
Looking at the members who participated with Z-Wave at CES 2022, there are certainly some game-changers making waves. DEN, for example, has a unique value proposition with their discreet smart door strike; Zooz is providing product solutions specific to the integrator space; and Masonite is showing leadership with the first Smart Door.
CE Pro: How does Z-Wave define the smart home market today?
Mitch Klein: The smart home gained significant visibility over the past two years as we all hunkered down. Consumers are starting to fully realize the benefits and there is still room to learn more. Homeowners, builders and architects are finding the smart home is more accessible than ever — there are smart home products and systems to suit every price point and use case. With the right products and the right integrator, the promise of a well-connected and intuitive home is available today.
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