Sigma Designs, owner of the Z-Wave home automation protocol, recently announced that they have made the interoperability layer of Z-Wave open to the public domain. This means that any company, business, or developer can download the software for free and test out Z-Wave integration with their products.
In addition, Sigma has also released the API specification for its Z/IP (Z-Wave over IP) and Z-Ware (Z-Wave middleware), as well as specifications for their new S2 security application framework. This will allow developers to create gateways for Z-Wave products to interact with popular cloud services, increasing compatibility between Z-Wave and other wireless devices and services.
Why Open Source Z-Wave is a Big Deal
This is huge news for Z-Wave users and the home automation industry in general. A major automation software is being freely shared with third-party companies, allowing them to test Z-Wave functionality with their current or future products. (Although it’s important to note that should a company wish to market their newly Z-Wave compatible products as Z-Wave certified, they will still need to join the Z-Wave Alliance and have their products reviewed and officially certified.)
Before, companies had to take numerous steps to gain access to Z-Wave development specs and to receive certifications for their products. They also had to join the Z-Wave Alliance, pay fees, and sign NDAs before they could begin creating new Z-Wave compatible devices.
Sigma Designs’ move to go open source with Z-Wave could be the first step towards opening up home automation to the general market. With more and more devices being developed with remote access features, more people are considering installing home automation. Opening up Z-Wave is likely to encourage more companies to experiment with Z-Wave, allowing them to produce new Z-Wave enabled products and potentially reach more consumers.
With Z-Wave’s easy installation, wide recognition, and newly open software, we could see more smart home products selling than ever before within the next few years.
For more information on why Z-Wave is so popular, check out the recent article “What is Z-Wave, and Why Is It So Popular?” You can also visit HomeControls.com for the best Z-Wave products, and continue visiting the Home Controls Blog for the latest news in home automation.