The German-based Z-Wave Europe GmbH is among the first to import Z-Wave products to Europe as a Value Added Reseller (VAR) in 2008. Currently, Z-Wave Europe has been a leading Value Added Distributor of Z-Wave home automation solutions, including controllers, switches and dimmers, sensors, locks, alarms, heating and climate control products.
The U.S. and Europe are the two largest home automation markets. Dr. Christian Paetz, CEO of Z-Wave Europe sees differences between the two markets.
Paetz said: “The U.S. and Europe are different markets. Generally, the U.S. is more open to new technologies; Europe is typically a bit more skeptical. Also the fragmentation of the European market in terms of legal standards and best practices. At the moment, we do see more adoption of smart homes by DIY in Europe compared to the U.S. that is way more driven by security installers.”
Z-Wave avoids the heavily congested RF2.4 GHz frequency band, but uses a regulated band is clearly an advantage. Besides, there are some reasons behind the success of Z-Wave’s adoption in Europe. Paetz explained: “The clear end-user expectation to interconnect devices from different vendors is decisive. Also, developers could make sure the investment today will not become irrelevant because of lack of support for certain standards in the future.” Z-Wave delivers on promise to provide interoperability which is the core of the technology. “10 years ago, Z-Wave had one profile; now, it still has only one profile. Z-Wave will keep this strategy and make sure all devices supporting Z-Wave can work together,” he added.
The main market driver in Europe is the increasing interest by end users,” Paetz said. “Europeans are more aware about environmental friendliness. They want to monitor their homes remotely, and have a safer and more comfortable living environment.” He found the biggest challenge lies within the uncertainty on the end user side caused by too many proprietary offerings in the market.
In addition, consumers tend to struggle between wired or wireless connectivity when it comes to choosing what to adopt for their smart home systems. Wireless connectivity provides more flexibility when installing new devices. Paetz indicated the wired solutions are limited to new buildings, and primarily distributed via electric wholesalers or electrical installers. He thinks that the wired system is just not well-suited to deploy new technologies.