There’s been a lot of talk about Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant at CES 2018, but one technology that has been a mainstay of the smart home industry for more than a decade is Z-Wave, and in Las Vegas, the technology is getting a major upgrade.
The company behind Z-Wave, Sigma Designs, is debuting a brand-new chip that will allow smart home devices to get more than 10 years of battery life out of a single coin-cell battery. That will be a major boost to installers, as it means users won’t need to have direct power to some Internet of Things devices, they’ll also not have to change the battery for at least 10 years.
This new technology should hopefully allow more types of IoT devices to launch, including embedded chips in just about everything – including furniture. That should hopefully give a central hub more information about the user, to allow the smart home to better serve the occupant. Imagine a world where the sofa can measure a user’s weight and send it to the fridge to order groceries that will help with a healthier diet, that’s the sort of thing that could be possible with this new chipset.
The new chip is known as the Z-Wave 700 Series and has 300 feet of range, meaning IoT devices can be placed either inside or outside the home. These chips likely won’t go in very complex IoT devices, however. Sigma thinks that they’ll most be used as sensors, so measuring anything from motion to pressure.
“Sigma’s Z-Wave 700-Series chip will completely reshape the meaning of smart home. It solves for many of today’s technological barriers, while being the most flexible, interoperable platform, bringing smart home functionality to a new level,” says Raoul Wijgergangs, VP of Sigma Designs’ Z-Wave Business Unit.
“700-Series opens opportunities for new classes of sensors that weren’t possible before, while making remarkable improvements to existing device categories. 700-Series is creating a path to full home installations, moving from tens of Z-Wave devices to hundreds of Z-Wave devices per home. Our new platform assures the environment that will take homes from smart to truly intelligent.”
As this product is launched by Sigma, it’s likely that the IoT devices using it will only be able to interact with the Z-Wave system. That locks it off from things such as Alexa and HomeKit, requiring users to purchase a hub to get everything talking. That’s not to say other manufacturers won’t achieve the same feat in the future, however.