Towards the end of last year the Z-Wave Alliance announced a new Z-Wave Plus Certification program - Sigma Designs and Z-Wave Alliance Introduce New Z-Wave Plus Certification Program.
This program is based around the new Z-Wave 500 series chip-set and will certify that products meet the Z-Wave Plus Standard. Z-Wave Plus is an enhanced version of the Z-Wave standard providing “better range, extended battery life and an improved user experience.” It will be backwards-compatible with products supporting previous versions of the Z-Wave standard.
Z-Wave Plus is designed to be more “plug and play” than current versions of Z-Wave. What this means in practise is that new devices will be automatically identified by the Z-Wave controller and added to the system - no more 'adding' and 'including' devices.
This new program will also open up new markets for Z-Wave. It will be more easily integrated into appliances like set-top boxes, TVs and routers. This will make building your smart home and getting various types of appliances working together, much easier for all of us.
As I mentioned earlier, Z-Wave Plus is based on the new 500 series chip-set, which was launched last year. It will take a while for the device vendors to design new devices based on the new chips. Currently the vast majority of Z-Wave devices are based on the 300 series, recent new devices from the likes of Philio are using the 400 series chips.
Therefore, we'd expect to see the first Z-Wave Plus devices to be available towards the end of 2014.
This sounds like quite a way off, especially as we're only at the end of January, but time moves quickly and Z-Wave Plus devices will be here before you know it.
What this does mean is that Z-Wave will be adopted into wider areas of our life and be easier to use, Z-Wave will continue to be the best wireless home automation technology.