Z-Wave is designed to meet the demands of the future smart home, where increasing needs for more sensors and battery-operated devices require both long range and low power. Context-aware environments are the next evolution in the smart home market, and they require technologies that have been optimized specifically for these applications.
In next-generation smart environments, new types of sensors will be embedded within walls, furniture, around plumbing and other stationary settings, as well as in standalone devices. For sensor applications, battery life is key. Z-Wave 700 brings sub microAmp sleep power, low power communication and automatic power management, ensuring long battery life in any device. Coin cell operation is now possible, providing small-footprint sensors to be embedded virtually anywhere in smart environments, with no battery maintenance needed for a decade. Security should not compromise battery life, which is why secure S2 key exchange is done in less than 1s.
Door lock, battery powered window shades etc. enjoy long battery lifetime due to the FLiRS (frequently listening routing slave) technology, minimizing power draw while providing instantaneous wake and response times. With FLiRS, Z-Wave devices continually listen for a low-power wake up beam before consuming full operational power. This extends the battery life of motorized devices like smart locks and shades by maximizing sleep time and minimizing energy draw other than for events and status.
Opportunities for today's smart environments extend beyond single homes into multi-dwelling units, commercial buildings and institutional facilities. Physical distances in these applications create challenges for RF transmission range and stability. The 700 platform provides enough TX-RX power for multiple story buildings and complete coverage into outdoor yard space. A sensitivity gain extends Z-Wave's direct range to 100 meters, and mesh network range has been extended to 400 meters. The 700's increased transmission power means fewer hops between devices and fewer repeaters needed, improving the energy efficiency of the entire mesh network. The 700 platform increases direct range by 150% over the 500 series in the US, and 250% for European and Asian markets, with no SAW filter needed.
The context aware smart home places new demands on local devices and their ability to perform edge computing. Machine learning and AI will drive many of these new applications, and the 700 Platform has the power and flexibility to provide true intelligence at the local level, in advance of the cloud. A powerful ARM® Cortex-M CPU is accompanied by 64 kB of application flash memory, allowing for robust applications without the need for a co-processor. Multiple sensor interfaces and peripherals enable complete flexibility at the edge, with fast, energy efficient computation and secure inclusion in less than one second. Industry-leading S2 security protects both devices and cloud for virtually hacker-proof deployments.
The Z-Wave 700 platform speeds development and time to market, with low cost developer kits, powerful development tools and ready-made certified reference code that ensures the minimum time from prototype to certified product. These pre-certified building blocks address 90% of development needs. Simplicity Studio tools further speeds development with source-level debugging and a real-time energy profiler that allows developers to pinpoint which part of their code is going affect battery draw. No SAW is required for the 700 platform, allowing a single SKU to serve multiple regions. No OTA external memory, EEPROM or extra MCUs are needed, resulting in lower BOMs. The 700 platform dramatically eases product development and cost, and allows new offerings to come from drawing board to market in a matter of months.
The 700's ease of experience follows through from development into deployment with SmartStart. This feature allows QR-code pre-configuration of Z-Wave devices and networks for instant installation success. With SmartStart, device inclusion can be initiated automatically by simply powering on the device. The Z-Wave gateway then performs the inclusion process in the background, without the need for user interaction. By moving this process into the manufacturing, distribution or reseller domain, the end user only needs to power up the devices for secure inclusion. This enables a simplified user experience for both professional and DIY installers, with devices that are genuinely ready to use, right out of the box.
The Z-Wave certification program is designed to ensure 100% interoperability and backwards compatibility between products from all vendors. The certification process provides clear specifications for Z-Wave products and services and high quality test tools that let developers build on Z-Wave's renowned ease of use and hack-proof security. The Z-Wave certification process also ensures faster time to market by allowing manufacturers to upgrade quickly to new Z-Wave features, benefitting from the scalability of the Z-Wave ecosystem. In fact, all certified Z-Wave products are future-proof, with the ability to update firmware. As the sensor category will be a key enabler of the context-aware smart home, Z-Wave certification mandates support of sensors in all universal controllers, with Life & Safety sensor groupings are now possible.