The Z-Wave Summit is usually held only once each year in the USA and it is not to be missed. I’ll give a brief overview of what was discussed at the summit in the short post below. But if you didn’t attend in person, you missed the most valuable aspect of the summit which is the chance to meet and talk to other Z-Wave developers. This year the summit was hosted by Bulogics in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia PA. Bulogics is a Z-Wave certification house so they know everything about Z-Wave and how to have a good time!
The 700 series was officially “revealed” at the summit with many presentations talking about the new ARM based Z-Wave transceiver. The summit has over 140 attendees from 70 companies not including all the Silicon Labs and Alliance employees. This is the largest attendance of a summit to date and reflects the rapidly growing world of Z-Wave.
Matt Johnson, IoT Sr. VP, described the roadmap for multiprotocol chips which include Z-Wave, zigbee, BLE and Wifi as well as proprietary protocols. For the immediate term though the focus is on getting the 700 series shipping. The real key for Z-Wave is the interoperability and certification ensuring every Z-Wave device can communicate with every other device.
Z-Wave product manager Johan Pedersen presented the important improvements in the 700 series over the 500 series:
- ARM M4 32-bit CPU
- 150% RF range improvement in the US and more in EU/Asia
- Lower power and faster wakeup time making coin cell operation a reality
- Lower cost due to elimination of the external NVM & SAW
- Single HW build for all regions due to elimination of the SAW filter
- Longer battery life with 1.8-3.6V operation
- Serial debugging
By far my main interest as a developer is that we finally have a real CPU with an M4 and serial debugging so I can finally single step my code and figure out where I went wrong!
The next natural question of course is when will the 700 series be a reality? The answer is “soon”. Ugh. Developers kits are supposed to be available soon and the parts will be shipping in early 2019.
On the second day of the summit the groups are split between marketing and technical geeks like me. More presentations on things like the new Z-Wave Plus V2 requirements which will go into effect with the 700 series release. The V2 requirements significantly ups the bar for support for various command classes with the goal of making Z-Wave devices to fully inform the hub of their capabilities. There should be little or no custom coding to support most V2 devices – the device will tell you everything it can do.
The presentation by Alex Capecelatro, founder of Josh.ai, described the future of voice control which sounds amazing. Alex described just how hard voice control really is and has a long way to go before it really works the way we all want it to. I liked his quote from the New York Times: “We overestimate what technology can do in 3 years but underestimate what can be done in 10 years”. Z-Wave has come a long way in the dozen years it’s been around.
Configuration Command Class
I gave a presentation on Configuration Command Class Version 4 and all the wonderful things it can do. The most notable point is that 2/3rds of the Z-Wave Plus certified devices have at least one Configuration Parameter. Yet many hubs have no way of modifying or displaying to the user the current value of parameters. Z-Wave Plus V2 mandates support for Configuration Command Class V4 for both hubs and devices so you need to get busy! My presentation title is: “The Chicken vs Egg is over: Moving Your Product to Configuration Version 4” which can be downloaded from this link: Z-WaveAlliance2018EricRyherd.
Once again the band The Interoperables played at the evening get together at a local brewery. These guys are really good for having only practiced a couple of times!
DrZWave joins Silicon Labs
That’s right, I have officially joined Silicon Labs as an FAE covering the Eastern US. I can be contacted at drzwave@Silabs.com.