How the Z-Wave Alliance is building IoT device standards

Mitchell Klein, executive director of Z-Wave Alliance, explains how better IoT standards mean more choice for companies and smart office workers.

Mitchell Klein, executive director, Z-Wave Alliance spoke with TechRepublic's Dan Patterson about the company's efforts to create IoT device standards. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

"Z-Wave is actually the dominant platform for the smart home devices," Klein said. "That's really where our focus had been for the last 15 years."

Dan Patterson: Mitchell, tell me a little bit about the Z-Wave Alliance and the way you work with vendors and IOT companies to help create smart office, smart home experiences.

Mitchell Klein: Yeah. Z-Wave is actually the dominant platform for the smart home devices. That's really where our focus had been for the last 15 years. You're seeing it in door locks, thermostats, security panels, sensors, lighting devices. The natural extension is to move it over into the office, but I'll get to that in a second.

We currently have over 700 member companies that are actually developing, reselling, installing, maintaining and are in some way involved with the Z-Wave Alliance. Excuse me. What makes it unique, in terms of all the competing platforms out there, is a mandate for interoperability. If you develop with Z-Wave, whatever that device happens to be, even just talking about a dimmer or a sensor, you must go through a certification process that ensures that at the application layer, it's interoperable with all the other devices.

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So what does that mean to the office? What does that mean to the home? It means you have choice. It means you're not locked into a particular brand or a particular platform. That you can actually utilize the appropriate door lock, the appropriate sensor or whatever that device happens to be.

In terms of moving into the smart office, this is where sensor technology is really going to drive everything. So yeah, it's wonderful to be able to develop your hardware, whether again you talk about printers or computers or actually using devices, but it goes way beyond that in terms of your environment. It's about heating and cooling and humidity and light and occupancy and positioning, how many people are in the room. There's a lot of things that could be done with sensor technology.

For me, one of the exciting things is when you're sitting in a conference room. As you know, when you fill up a conference room with a lot of people, it can get too hot or get too cold. What happens when it gets too hot of course, people tend to fall asleep. With the appropriate sensing technology, you're not having to run over and constantly readjust thermostats. These things are going to automatically adjust themselves based on how many people are in the room, the time of day, whether the sun is coming in, what's the temperature outside. That's really where it's all headed, in terms of the smart office.

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About Dan Patterson

Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.

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