What is The Z-Wave Alliance? – Everything You Need to Know

Z-Wave Alliance

What makes Z-Wave technology stand out from among an increasingly diverse, creative, and competitive home automation market is its accessibility. There are so many products that are already Z-Wave compatible that it makes sense to most home owners to stick with what's secure and what just works. This is all possible because of the Z-Wave Alliance.

The History of the Z-Wave Alliance

As a result, Z-Wave continues to dominate its share of the home automation market, where it holds nearly 70% of the market.

Companies that have become a part of the Z-Wave Alliance include ADT Corporation, Samsung, Black and Decker, LG, Bosch, Schlage, Verizon, Sharp, and even Z-Wave Zone.

Their efforts in creating an interoperable system were a massive success. Today, the Z-Wave alliance boasts a membership of over 450 companies and Z-Wave is compatible in over 2100 products. The Alliance announced in mid- 2017 that they had shattered records with 60% growth in membership. 

In 2013, the Z-Wave Alliance and Sigma Designs (who had previously purchased Z-Wave from the original company Zensys) came together to announce the launch of Z-Wave Plus. Z-Wave Plus offered greater interoperability, allowing even more companies to use Z-Wave technology. Although hubs are still compatible with Z-Wave, Z-Wave Plus took the technology to a new level with all of the latest features and enhancements.

In an attempt to unify a fragmented and incompatible home automation market, five companies banded together as the Z-Wave Alliance and started to recruit other companies as well. Intermatic, Leviton, Wayne Dalton, Danfoss, and Universal Electronics, the founding companies, wanted to create a cohesive smart home system to reduce costs for manufacturers as well as attract consumers to their products.

Z-Wave technology was invented in 2001 in Denmark. Starting initially with lightbulbs, it wasn’t until Z-Wave reached America in 2005 that companies started to come together to make their devices Z-Wave compatible. They called themselves the Z-Wave Alliance.

What Does the Z-Wave Alliance Do?

The Z-Wave Alliance is the resource companies and manufacturers turn to in order to set up their devices to be compatible with Z-Wave technology. The Alliance offers incentives and benefits for companies to join, such as access to Z-Wave device class specifications, being able to advertise as Z-Wave Certified, participation in work groups, access to installation training and participation in Z-Wave marketing events.

The benefits of becoming a part of the Z-Wave Alliance give companies and manufacturers incentive to comply with the Z-Wave standards that they put forth.  In order to become a part of the Alliance, companies are required to take certain steps to certify that their products are Z-Wave compatible.

As a result, the Alliance has managed to create a homogeneous home automation system that can be used across all platforms. Whether air conditioning, lights, alarm systems, energy-saving devices, sprinkler systems, or music, Z-Wave can cover almost all home automation needs. Although these companies are all different from one another, they can still provide a consistent level of Z-Wave compatibility. 

The Z-Wave Alliance also protects the safety and reputation of Z-Wave products and provides mandates. In fact, at the end of 2016, after high profile internet hacks over the course of the year, the Alliance voted to mandate certain safety measures in all Z-Wave products. 

This included mandatory implementation of Security 2 framework, also called S2. The most sophisticated security for smart homes to date, the Z-Wave Alliance ensured that it was implemented quickly across all Z-Wave mediums.

Despite the high competition and sometimes treacherous security hazards that come with the home automation market, the Z-Wave Alliance has continued to make Z-Wave the leader in the technological market.

What the Z-Wave Alliance Means to You

When looking at the home automation market, Z-Wave stands out because of the Z-Wave Alliance. It’s ability to attract numerous companies and thousands of products make it an attractive choice for any consumer, whether for business or personal use. 

The wide range of choices on any given product means that no matter what the consumer wants, there are multiple options to choose. For example, if you would like to have a Z-Wave compatible lock for your door, you can choose from Kwikset, Baldwin, Yale, Schlage, and the newly joined August Home and Rently Keyless. It is also the same with IR controllers, lights, security devices, and sprinkler systems, just to name a few: there are a wide range of choices depending on your style. Z-Wave fits all budgets, priorities, and brand loyalties because of the large Z-Wave Alliance membership.

Continuity across all products is also a benefit of the Z-Wave Alliance. The Alliance is continuously offering certification programs, access to Z-Wave documents, and use of Z-Wave tools. This means that whatever device you need, it will meet the same standard if it is a part of the Z-Wave Alliance.

Another benefit of the Z-Wave Alliance for the consumer is security. The strict new safety protocol for all Z-Wave products was only able to be implemented so quickly and unanimously because of the Alliance. Information, products, and mandates can swiftly move across all products no matter how diverse.

The past couple years has been marked by a lack of safety by some of the very companies and products that many consumers put their trust (and personal information) in previously. With such high-profile hackings and data-stealing, consumers need to see safety measures improved before putting the security of their homes in anyone’s hands. The Z-Wave Alliance has managed to do that with their sweeping S2 protocol and security measures.

By seeing the Z-Wave emblem, you can know that you are getting the most up-to-date and safe Z-Wave product no matter what device it is. The Z-Wave Alliance has helped streamline and simplify a confusing and diverse market. 

Conclusion

The success of Z-Wave technology is largely owed to the Z-Wave Alliance. From its humble start in 2005 with just five companies, the Z-Wave Alliance has become the top innovator in the market and made home automation possible for all.

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