Mark Walters, Chairman of Z-Wave Alliance shared his views toward smart home industry at CEDIA 2014.
Z-Wave is, no doubt, a leading wireless technology in North America. 9 out of 10 leading US security companies use Z-Wave technology. According to Z-Wave Alliance, over the last three years, 12 million alarm panels are installed with Z-Wave technology in North America. There are 28 million Z-Wave devices in circulation right now, including 12 million gateways. It is also a strong standard in Europe and South America. There are over 1,100 interoperable products in the world. The members exhibiting in the Z-Wave Alliance Pavilion included Aeon Labs, HomeSeer, Eaton Cooper Wiring, Enerwave, Fibaro, Linear, Kwikset, MCOHome, Schlage, Telguard, Yale and Enerwave. Smart locks, energy management solutions, sensors and security panels were on display. Walters thinks Z-Wave technology can be so successful due to its open standard instead of proprietary.
The US smart home market is growing rapidly. Schlage launched a TV commercial about remote control service of door locks around four to five years ago. New entrants like Nest Labs and Belkin are bringing new products to the market to help boost the market. Also, major retailers like Lowes, Home Depot and Staples enter the market. They help increase awareness in manufacturer and user communities. Consumers now think I can communicate with my devices with my smartphone even when I am not at home. The alarm companies in North America add services for home like remote door locks, thermostats and lighting now.
Interoperability is major issue to integrate those DIY products into a whole-home system. Walters said, _I want my door lock to tell my light to turn on, but they cant because they are made from different companies. Z-Wave protocol allows people to interoperate their productsî
Walters thinks DIY and installer markets are different. The latter is a bigger market. From the volume point, the installation market is larger than DIY market so far. Estimated 70 percent or more of Z-Wave products are distributed in the installed market. Walters believes the retail market is growing rapidly. Alarm companies, telecommunication and custom integrators are involved with professionally installed solutions. The DIY market is strong in the online retail market like Amazon. Hardware manufacturers sell their products directly online.
Walters indicated that remote management application dominates the market like adjusting thermostat, unlocking door and remotely interacting with their homes. Users can ensure that temperature is right, who unlock my door, when my kids come back home, when does my housekeeper come, and so on. Breaking down into product categories, door lock and thermostat are two most popular Z-Wave devices to date.
In terms of applications, home security is the biggest demand. Homeowners want to make sure their houses are secure and safe, knowing if their door or windows are locked. Energy management is not a critical issue in the US because the energy cost in the US is relatively low, not a big driver at present.