106 Developing Practical Wireless Applications
home control products. It’s a proprietary solution, enabling would-be developers to
develop and create products now! A final thought though should be given to
the ZigBee Alliance (and others): while these collective companies strive for similar
aspirations, ZenSys will ultimately need to stay one step ahead. Collaboration with
many other companies and having the ability to demonstrate that their solution does
work and indeed is already installed in many homes will surely help in distinguishing
them from any competitor, as ZigBee is relatively still in its infancy. And, inevitably,
the process of empowering many manufactures with Z-Wave technology will
undoubtedly lead to a more formal, perhaps slower, process of creating Z-Wave tech-
nology enabled products, as each product will need to interoperate successfully.
Additionally, ZenSys will need to prepare a host of added value benefits and services
that will, in time, brandish the technology of its nearest competitor as dilapidated and
The notion of your home being an intelligent entity is increasingly becoming a
The high-end property market enjoys the benefits of home automation, as the
property price often reflects the value-added benefits.
To achieve global market penetration for more modest homes would require a
technology that was low-cost.
Low-power is an important consideration, as most homes would not want to see
a significant increase in their utility and service bills.
Additionally, you don’t necessarily want the inconvenience of continually repairing
your home automation equipment.
ZenSys have created a wireless home control system that assures us of nothing
more than a safe and secure environment.
ZenSys have developed a low-cost, low-power and self-healing solution with their
Z-Wave silicon and protocol products.
ZenSys’ Z-Wave is an RF based system that supports bi-directional communica-
tion and enjoys the benefit of mesh networking.
ZenSys was founded in 1999 and supports two headquarters across two continents:
in Europe (Denmark) and the United States.
Z-Wave is attempting to establish itself as the de facto standard for wireless home
control and has already secured $14 million in funding.
ZenSys have formed a coalition, namely the Z-Wave Alliance, comprising approxi-
mately seventy-five members.
ZenSys: An Open Standard for Wireless Home Control 107
With such a significant number of member alliances as strategic supporters will
ultimately found the technology as a standard means for wireless home control.
We’ve undoubtedly experienced or have come across citations to the SmartHome
It’s not a new concept; it’s merely about belief, cost and greater simplicity.
The 80s and 90s witnessed an elite members’ club of homeowners who could
afford such technologies.
Although, this doesn’t necessarily bode well with a company’s success and financial
To succeed in the wider market and to achieve greater market penetration a more
cost effective affordable solution that is open to all is needed.
ZenSys is not alone in wanting to succeed with this global vision; other companies
and/or standards, such as Cypress’ WirelessUSB and ZigBee are offering and
developing new alternative technologies.
Home owners don’t necessarily want to undertake a four-year degree programme
in technology to enable them to understand and use their homes.
The ability to intelligently interact with your home equipment is paramount in
its success and longevity.
ZenSys is primarily a company that provides a technology that affords its adopters
to use its solution to develop home automation products.
Adopters may provide an installation, deployment and support structure that
allows homeowners to purchase a solution that matches their requirements.
The Z-Wave chip operates within two frequency ranges, namely 868.42MHz for
Europe and the ISM 908.42 band for the United States.
These two bands are well established within the industry assuring us of reliability
and offering a good radio range and, equally as important, affordability.
The Z-Wave transceiver uses the FSK modulation spectrum shaping method.
This particular method transforms two analog waveforms into the two binary states.
The foundation upon which the Z-Wave topology finds itself is primarily based
on a mesh network.
A mesh is a web or lattice structure that is interconnected.
The advantage prescribed by such a structure is that there is no server or host
If a node becomes unstable or dies within the mesh, then the entire system does
The exposure covered by Z-Wave, logistically exceeds most personal-area