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Silicon Labs and Z-Wave Alliance opening Z-Wave to silicon and stack suppliers


December 23, 2019
By SP&T Staff

AUSTIN, Texas — Semi-conducter firm Silicon Labs and the Z-Wave Alliance have announced plans to open the Z-Wave Specification as a ratified, multi-source wireless standard available to all silicon and stack vendors for development.

With this change, semiconductor and software suppliers will be able to join the Z-Wave ecosystem, contribute to future advancements of the smart home standard, and develop and supply sub-GHz Z-Wave radio devices and software stacks. The Z-Wave Alliance will expand to a standards development organization for the Z-Wave Specification and will continue to manage the Z-Wave certification program, which will include software and hardware.

Expected to be available in the second half of 2020, the opened Z-Wave specification will include the ITU.G9959 PHY/MAC radio specification, the application layer, the network layer and the host-device communication protocol. Instead of being a single-source specification, Z-Wave will become a multi-source, wireless smart home standard developed by collective working group members of the Z-Wave Alliance.

The Z-Wave Alliance will maintain the certification program and expand the offering to provide technology vendors with both hardware and stack certification and product manufacturers with application layer certification.

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“As a standards organization, the Z-Wave Alliance will help solve the interoperability challenges hindering the adoption of smart home devices,” said Mitch Klein, executive director for the Z-Wave Alliance, in a prepared statement. “Members will work together on a single sub-GHZ connectivity solution that guarantees the forward-and-backward compatibility, interoperability, security and robustness needed to grow the IoT. The Z-Wave Alliance will collectively advance a fully realized smart home standard.”

Both organizations say that by expanding access to Z-Wave as a standard supported by multiple vendors, the smart home ecosystem will benefit both from broader technology support as well as accelerated market adoption.

“Silicon Labs has worked to create positive alignment across the industry with the goal of advancing both security and compatibility in smart home devices,” said Jake Alamat, vice-president and general manager of IoT home and consumer products at Silicon Labs, also in a statement. “Future success for the smart home industry relies on ecosystems getting closer, not farther apart. The smart home market opportunity is tremendous, and we want to help drive its success. When the ecosystems work together toward a common goal, the entire industry including manufacturers, developers, retailers and consumers benefit from this open collaboration.”

Development on the opened Z-Wave specification will be managed by the new working groups in the Alliance in Q3 2020, and details on the silicon and stack platform certification program also will be announced in Q3.