Menu
Opening up Z-Wave code may help to make IoT hum

Opening up Z-Wave code may help to make IoT hum

Making the Z-Wave interoperability layer public could make smart homes easier to set up

Home IoT is still reaching for mainstream use. The main backer of Z-Wave, a widely used in-home networking standard, just did something that might help take it there.

On Wednesday, chip vendor Sigma Designs made the interoperability layer of Z-Wave available free to the public. This is the code that allows all Z-Wave products to work together. Now anyone can download the code, develop software with it, and give that code to others.

Like others in the fledgling IoT business, Z-Wave's backers want to get more devices working together. This latest move might help to make that happen, plus drive more manufacturers to pick Z-Wave over other IoT network options.

Putting together a smart home can create a cacophony of wireless signals, with some connected devices using Z-Wave, others ZigBee, others Thread or Bluetooth Low Energy, and still others Wi-Fi. This can force consumers to buy a multiprotocol gateway in addition to all the other IoT gear they’ve invested in.

Some users avoid this by having their broadband provider pick the gear (many of those companies use Z-Wave equipment). Then there are diverse application frameworks like AllJoyn and HomeKit to think about. For home IoT to get really big, consumers will have to be able to choose from a wide selection of devices and applications on their own. They want motion sensors and door locks to be able to tell lightbulbs and coffee makers what to do. If those products use different networks and application frameworks, that can be a challenge.

Sigma says it’s helping to clear a path to interoperability among all IoT products. By making parts of its code public (it’s also releasing some APIs and a Z-Wave security framework), Sigma hopes to get more developers writing software that bridges Z-Wave products with cloud-based platforms and services.

For example, developers will be able to write plug-ins that translate Z-Wave commands used on in-home networks to AllJoyn or HomeKit commands used in the cloud, he said. This could mean more applications and services can work with Z-Wave smart home gear.

The vast universe of IoT groups and vendors has been slowly taking steps to knit together an ecosystem that works. ZigBee has done work with Thread, for example. Earlier this year, companies that belong to several different industry initiatives formed the Open Connectivity Foundation to craft a common code base for tasks like device discovery and authentication. But confusion is likely to reign for some time before making a smart home work is like plugging in a toaster.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the leading customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the leading customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments