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Zensys Gets Panasonic Backing

Fremont, Calif. — Panasonic invested an undisclosed sum in Z-Wave developer Zensys, underscoring the potential for Zensys’ Z-Wave RF-wireless home-control standard to replace directional IR in standard TV and home theater remotes, Zensys contends.

The two-way, low-power, interoperable mesh-network technology is used in more than 170 products offered by consumer brands in lighting, appliances, HVAC, entertainment centers and security systems. 

Zensys said it will use the funding to further its penetration into the home automation and control market. Other investors include Intel Capital, Cisco, Bessemer Venture Partners, Palamon Capital Partners and Sunstone Capital.

“Panasonic looks forward to working with Zensys to help consumers enjoy the benefits of the ‘smart home of the future’ today,” said Dr. Paul Liao, chief technical officer of Panasonic Corp. of North America.

The investment “is in recognition of the fact that Z-Wave is a leading technology with a demonstrated track record in wireless home control and which offers a price point that allows manufacturers to bring the technology to the mass market,” contended Dilip Sampath, a venture partner in Panasonic’s U.S. venture group.

Zensys CEO Tony Shakib said, “We are expecting to engage at multiple levels of partnership with this premier global leader.”

Z-Wave uses 800MHz and 900MHz RF to deliver two-way wireless control over lighting systems, garage-door openers, thermostats, and other home systems from handheld or tabletop remotes located anywhere in the house. The current-generation technology delivers control commands wirelessly at up to 40kbps, up from an original 9.6kbps.