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Zensys Cuts Cost Of Wireless Home Automation

Zensys is bringing down the cost and power consumption of its Z-Wave mesh-network technology to drive the home-control technology further into the mass market.

Z-Wave is designed for retrofit installations of wireless home-control systems. The low-power, two-way, 9.6Kbps mesh-network protocol, when combined with wireless technology, delivers two-way wireless-remote control over lighting, appliances, garage-door openers, thermostats and other home systems from handheld or tabletop remotes located anywhere in the house.

A second-generation Zensys chipset is about half the price of the first-generation version and will help suppliers lower the price of finished products by up to a third, said Raoul Wijgergangs, U.S. business development VP. The ZW0201 chip, ready for volume production, is priced around $4, down from $7 to $8, and requires only 10 percent of the power of the first-generation chipset. As a result, battery-operated home control devices, including remote controls and sensors, can operate for 10 years on two AAA batteries, the company said.

The first-generation chip shipped in 2002 and currently appears in more than 40 wireless home control and automation products at prices starting at $35, the company said. Adopters include Leviton, Intermatic, Danfoss and UEI, the company said. The second-generation chipset is compatible with its predecessor

With the first-generation technology, Zensys was able to deliver wireless control over home lighting systems for as little as $750 in a 3,500-square-foot house, excluding installation. A wireless system based on proprietary technology could cost as much as $10,000, excluding installation, the company said last year.