SmartThings joins Z-Wave board as IoT gets strategic

Samsung’s infiltration into the Internet of Things continues, with SmartThings – its recently-acquired home automation platform – now grabbing a spot on the Z-Wave Alliance board of directors. Z-Wave is one of the lingering wireless standards that still prevails among smart home devices, connecting things like remotely-controlled outlets, lamps, and thermostats, though while popular has nonetheless failed to dominate and thus unify the interconnectivity between automation devices. Given that SmartThings has proved that the smart home is worthy of big money, Z-Wave is now hoping some of that shine rubs off on it.

“The incredible growth [SmartThings] experienced in just over two years – culminating in their purchase by Samsung – is a testament to their understanding of the smart home market and a validation of their platform,” Mark Walters, Z-Wave Alliance chairman, said today. “This kind of market insight and technical expertise will prove instrumental in helping the Z-Wave Alliance guide the future of our industry-leading technology.”

Unlike WiFi, Z-Wave uses significantly less power, and so is suitable for long lasting battery-powered devices like remotes.

While SmartThings has a range of its own basic components, including connected outlets, motion sensors, and door and window sensors, its primary focus has been on pulling together the various devices third-party manufacturers offer.

So, the SmartThings hub can also connect to Philips’ hue bulbs, Schlage locks, and GE installable outlets and wall switches, relying on standards such as Z-Wave and ZigBee for their common language.

It’s easy to see why the company – and Samsung as its owner – might think having a guiding hand in the development of those standards is a good thing. Samsung is already a voting member of the ZigBee Alliance, for instance.

Meanwhile, SmartThings is working on its second-generation hub, which will include support for a backup battery so that, even if the power goes out, the system itself will still be active. There’ll also be a cellular option, just in case your DSL shuts down too.

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