ZenSys: An Open Standard for
Wireless Home Control
The notion of a talking refrigerator may have haunted some of us for many years.
Indeed, the thought of your home being an intelligent entity can only induce a fear
of the unknown. Equally, it has to be somewhat unnerving when your fridge informs
you that youre out of milk. It clearly knows more than you do and paranoia surely
sets in. You become increasingly aware that your home equipment is having a secret
conversation – you begin to make eye contact with your equipment; visually interro-
gating it, and then can only speculate on the conversation. Moreover, you feel a pair
of electronic eyes watching your every move, just like the photograph of your mother-
in-law above the fireplace. Perhaps we are being a little hysterical! Admittedly, the
photograph of your mother-in-law indeed follows you around the room, but as for
your white goods and other home equipment developing a Freud-like “Id,” void of ego,
that’s a long way off. On a more serious and relevant theme, the reality indicates that
there is a growing demand from consumers to equip their new homes with some sort
of home automation. In fact, the high-end property market is being fitted with such
systems as standard. Home security, comfort and control, within and away from the
home, are a number of escalating factors that have founded the way in an increased
demand for such systems within the home environment.
We can easily imagine the high-end property market enjoying the benefits of
home automation, as the property price often reflects the value-added benefits. But to
achieve global market penetration for more modest homes would require a technology
that was low-cost. Equally as important, is low-power, as most homes would not want
to see a significant increase in their utility and service bills. Moreover, you dont neces-
sarily want the encumbrance of continually repairing your home automation equipment;
therefore you can envisage utilizing a self-repair mechanism which, naturally, would
prove to be advantageous.
96 Developing Practical Wireless Applications
Does this sound like science fiction? No. In fact, to accommodate this growing
demand, ZenSys (www.zen-sys.com) have created a wireless home control system that
assures us of nothing more than a safe and secure environment, in essence matching the
core foundation for the key factors we have already identified. What’s more, they have
developed a low-cost, low-power and self-healing solution with their Z-Wave silicon
and protocol products, see Figure 7.1 and Figure 7.2. There are no talking refrigerators
Figure 7.2
The Z-Wave
protocol stack
where the complete
system can be
combined with the
offering between
8KB and 18KB of
application source.
Figure 7.1 The Z-Wave module has been designed for applications such as home control and comprises a complete
hardware and software platform to include a microprocessor, memory, RF circuitry and a software protocol.

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