Z-Wave Alliance: Security, Sensors & Software Spark 2022 Smart Home Outlook

Device interoperability, backwards compatibility remains key Z-Wave goal as ecosystems & protocol options expand, including latest Matter protocol.

Mitch Klein

It is no secret that the smart home market continues to experience yearly growth thanks, in part, to demand from homeowners, builders, integrators and more. The real question is, and one the Z-Wave Alliance continues to examine, is how rapidly is it expanding?

Recent research from Mordor Intelligence has revealed that 30 million U.S. households are projected to add smart home technology in the near future. Common smart home devices and solutions growing in popularity and the ones most likely to be integrated include: smart locks, video doorbells and connected light bulbs.

However, when it comes to brand compatibility awareness, the industry continues to face challenges. With new adoption of connected devices, the need for product interoperability continues to be a top concern for consumers.

Since inception two decades ago, interoperability has been at the core of the Z-Wave protocol and a pillar of Z-Wave technology. The Z-Wave Alliance, and its dedicated members, have built, manufactured, and certified an abundance of devices and smart home solutions designed to help unify the smart home ecosystem.

As we welcome the Matter protocol to the smart home platform playground, the Z-Wave Alliance has exciting things coming in 2022 including new-generation silicon, hardware security and bridging, and software building blocks.

Z-Wave Alliance Forecasts Solutions Driving Personalization, Security to Stay Strong in 2022

With greater interoperability comes the prospect for new or previously overlooked categories to enter the smart home fold and become part of the overall ecosystem that functions in sync with the unique needs of each homeowner.

Looking forward, we can expect context aware technology to continue to become prominent as these types of devices and solutions work to provide homeowners with new levels of systematic and personalized experiences. If we can be clear on one thing, it is that smart home sensors and sensor-based systems will continue to play a critical role in the development of the contextually aware smart home.

The data collected by these deployed solutions will prove invaluable as systems advance and continuously rely on these signals to help make informed decisions – perhaps without the need for any user input – thus enhancing the overall smart home experience.

According to a report from industry research firm Parks Associates, 34% of U.S. broadband households own a home security system. As consumers put a larger emphasis on the safety and security of their homes and their families, the adoption of smart home security devices and sensors soared.

The security category will remain hot in 2022 as manufacturers introduce new surveillance technology that allows consumers to monitor the inside and outside of the home at a quick glance.

Along with physical security, system-level security will be a hot topic and a major concern for homeowners in 2022. The need for devices that will keep the network safe and protected is at an all-time high as users are adding more devices to a single network than ever before.

Challenges Include Chip Shortage; Parsing Smart Home Protocols

While the industry has seen significant impact from the chip shortage in 2021, we’re unsure about how these implications will continue to impact manufacturers in 2022.

We do know that nobody is immune to these challenges and that if they do continue to impact the smart home space, we can expect price increases across the board. Although these challenges may continue, it’s hard to get a pulse on how they will impact the future of the industry. The Z-Wave Alliance expects the smart home industry to continue to grow and succeed in 2022 despite the challenges it faces.

Lastly, the future of the connected home cannot be fully discussed without first examining the protocol building blocks the entire industry is built upon. There are more protocols playing on the smart home “playground” than ever before and whether you’re a consumer, smart home professional, systems integrator, or manufacturer of smart home devices, this should not be, and cannot be ignored.

2022 will be a pivotal year for the connected home as it will become essential to understand the changes and new capabilities of the protocols behind the smart home products entering the market as well as examining what they can (and cannot do), new updates and initiatives, and how they differ from one another.

As a champion of both interoperability and backwards compatibility for over 20 years, the Z-Wave Alliance welcomes these discussions, conversations, partnerships and more as the industry prepares to take giant strides toward unification.


Author Mitch Klein is Executive Director, Z-Wave Alliance & Director, Alliances Strategy, Silicon Labs.