Future of Z-Wave and Zigbee

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
I came across two articles today discussing the future of the Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols, especially concerning with the new project CHIP (Connected Home over IP) standard coming out.
 
https://staceyoniot.com/should-you-be-concerned-about-the-future-of-zigbee-and-z-wave-due-to-project-chip/
 
https://www.twice.com/product/product-spotlight/smart-home/z-wave-alliance-announces-non-profit-incorporation-completed
 
A few statements in these articles that I did not realize.  One was 
 
As far as the Zigbee protocol used today, here’s what CHIP says about it in the future: “Yes, the Zigbee Alliance and its members are continuing to drive the development and growth of the Zigbee protocol, both today and after the launch of the Project’s protocol. Those developing Zigbee products today will continue with confidence.” 
Only time will tell if this is accurate, but CHIP isn’t exactly replacing Zigbee; instead it will replace the transport protocol of Zigbee with one over IP. Indeed, the answer to another FAQ says exactly that: “The Project uses Internet Protocol (IP) rather than the Zigbee transport and networking protocol. Project CHIP and Zigbee are two separate protocols.”
 
But as for Z-Wave, is it a bit unclear.
 
Stacey thinks that within five years, Z-Wave may be something different than it is today. Indeed, it’s changing now; at least organizationally.
Earlier this month, the Z-Wave Alliance ceased to exist as a for-profit group and is officially an SDO or Standards Development Organization. That doesn’t change the way Z-Wave products work today although it could in the future. However, I’d expect some modicum of backwards compatibility, given that Z-Wave has been around since 1999.
 
Also, not to sure what to make of Z-Wave announcing its completed incorporation as a solely independent non-profit organization.
 

ano

Senior Member
CHIP is dead. Long live Matter. (BSR, you must have slow Internet  :eek:  )
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matter_(standard)
 
No, just kidding, but I think Matter is important.  But you have to wonder, is Matter an acknowledgement that home automation, as we know it, has failed. I think so.
 
So here we are, with many walled-gardens, and a whole bunch of home automation hardware standards. And the sad part is, that is just never going to work going forward. Will this work, or is it too little too late, now that home automation is seen as a flop? I don't know.
 
If they did this 5 years ago I'd be encouraged, but today, I don't know. It may be too late.
 

NormandyHA

New Member
Matter 1.0 is officially here. However, I see that many are still pointing the need for a bridge, bridge between the different protocols.


As for my own home, I currently use Z-wave. The interoperability is much more solid at this point.
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
For sure. After so many ISY994 supporters of Insteon and Insteon getting real shaky over the last few years, so many were anxious to migrate to Zwave. However many using Zwave are now reporting it has been a rel let down and more problems than Insteon or X10 every were.

UDI, makers of ISY994, polisy, and now eISY has just released their ZMatter board in order to pre-empt whatever comes down the pipe using Matter using both Zwave and ZigBee hardware on it's ZMatter sub- board that plugs inside the polisy and can also USB dongle onto the newer eISY HA hub. Everybody is hoping for the best for Matter but it may just be protocol number 463b, like the rest on them.

Here's hoping for a protocol that most will get behind.
 

ano

Senior Member
Matter 1.0 is officially here. However, I see that many are still pointing the need for a bridge, bridge between the different protocols.


As for my own home, I currently use Z-wave. The interoperability is much more solid at this point.
Both bridges and hubs are not the way to go. Echos, Homepods, Smarthings, Hubitate and others all enable Zigbee and/or Z-Wave (a hub) but look on Amazon and you will see 95% of "home automation" technology don't use Z-wave or Zigbee, they use WiFi. WiFi is a terrible home automation technology, but it has one benefit, no hub or bridge needed. So at this point, something needs to change. Zigbee, Bluetoooth, and WiFi are all widely used outside of home automation, which is a big plus, and as we have seen, "walled gardens" will not work. So things ARE moving in the right direction, but it might be a few years before all is known.
 

pete_c

Guru
My two children (in their 30's and addicted to their smart phones) are using WiFi for automation to their Google and Amazon devices and smart phones. Easy Button automation.

Personally testing and using WiFi Tasmota devices (not in the cloud) and they work fine for me for local automation connectivity to software or even by themselves today.
 

NormandyHA

New Member
For sure. After so many ISY994 supporters of Insteon and Insteon getting real shaky over the last few years, so many were anxious to migrate to Zwave. However many using Zwave are now reporting it has been a rel let down and more problems than Insteon or X10 every were.

UDI, makers of ISY994, polisy, and now eISY has just released their ZMatter board in order to pre-empt whatever comes down the pipe using Matter using both Zwave and ZigBee hardware on it's ZMatter sub- board that plugs inside the polisy and can also USB dongle onto the newer eISY HA hub. Everybody is hoping for the best for Matter but it may just be protocol number 463b, like the rest on them.

Here's hoping for a protocol that most will get behind.
I ended up going with Homeseer's HomeTroller Pi G3 because there are no UDI Polisy hardware available at this time (unless used stock someone resells). In fact because of supply chain issues, it may never come back in stock. UDI is pivoting to eISY, but that alone is also not available at this time nor is compatible with the sub-board that plugs into the Polisy.

I actually am rooting for UDI, as their ISY994 had been so solid for some many. I'd have gone that way but UDI advised against it, despite not having current hardware for sale.

I suspect that future USB, when available from UDI, will end up being supported on several platforms.
 

NormandyHA

New Member
Both bridges and hubs are not the way to go. Echos, Homepods, Smarthings, Hubitate and others all enable Zigbee and/or Z-Wave (a hub) but look on Amazon and you will see 95% of "home automation" technology don't use Z-wave or Zigbee, they use WiFi. WiFi is a terrible home automation technology, but it has one benefit, no hub or bridge needed. So at this point, something needs to change. Zigbee, Bluetoooth, and WiFi are all widely used outside of home automation, which is a big plus, and as we have seen, "walled gardens" will not work. So things ARE moving in the right direction, but it might be a few years before all is known.
WiFi has one significant disadvantage to Insteon, Z-Wave or Zigbee. Namely it must access the cloud as it's controlled by a cloud app. If the internet were to be offline, you'd be unable to operate your WiFi switch as the Amazon Echo tells you that it cannot operate at this time.

Insteon, fortunately back in business, also showed the disadvantage of Hubs that rely on Cloud connectivity when they all when dark 6 months ago. Those that used PLC's or ISY994i could continue to utilize Insteon despite the failure of that company for a time.

I see a benefit to "locally automated" tech, similar to my hardwired alarm setup. It'll still work if the internet is offline, and with dual path communications tech, can still reach the monitoring service even if the internet is down and the landline is cut.
 

NormandyHA

New Member
Also, adding IP to devices that are likely not updated and provided a secure protocol stack can lead to all kinds of unforeseen complications.

Matter? If not properly secured, and patched when exploits or code issues are encountered, these devices can easily become members of the next large IoT botnet. What's happening with the existing the 'non-matter" WifI home automation products? "More than 1 billion IoT security attacks took place in 2021, nearly 62 million of which were IoT-related DDoS attacks." Source - https://threatpost.com/ddos-attacks-prepared/180273/

I for one don't want my home to be part of someones botnet. Perhaps my singular HS4 could get hacked, but all the connected Z-wave switches and other non-IP based products are not going to contribute to the Botnet power.
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
WiFi has one significant disadvantage to Insteon, Z-Wave or Zigbee. Namely it must access the cloud as it's controlled by a cloud app. If the internet were to be offline, you'd be unable to operate your WiFi switch as the Amazon Echo tells you that it cannot operate at this time.

<snipped>

My WiFi light bulbs do not require any cloud services and operate only via my LAN and router equipment for home automation sequences.

I don't know why so many people think that all WiFi devices are dependent on cloud servers. The two items are not related.

Of course using Alexa requires a cloud server for anything wanted.
 
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Guy Lavoie

Active Member
Of course using Alexa requires a cloud server for anything wanted.

Well, not exactly. Philips Hue bulbs are controlled by Alexa using the local API, and Alexa can still control the bulbs without any internet access. I'm using the BWS Systems HA Bridge (which emulates a Philips bridge) and it works fine with Alexa in local mode. I control X10 devices, my Ocelot, etc through it. I can even control actual Hue bulbs from the Ocelot.
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
Well, not exactly. Philips Hue bulbs are controlled by Alexa using the local API, and Alexa can still control the bulbs without any internet access. I'm using the BWS Systems HA Bridge (which emulates a Philips bridge) and it works fine with Alexa in local mode. I control X10 devices, my Ocelot, etc through it. I can even control actual Hue bulbs from the Ocelot.
Yeah true but I was referring to the cloud server to interpret the vocals into digital data first. When the cloud is down there is no Alexa function at all to control the LAN locals. I don't think there is any full local function processing in those speakers to do anything except digitize sounds.
 

pete_c

Guru
I don't know why so many people think that all WiFi devices are dependent on cloud servers. The two items are not related.

My brother in law asked last week how I am automating using WiFi switches. He is not an IT person and assumes that all WiFi advertised switches are on the Internet.

WiFi in general is always mentioned as a means to get to the Internet.

That said all of the descriptions of any WiFi switch sold on Amazon mention programming or configuring the switch via your smartphone. They are all the same going to AP mode, attaching the switch to your WiFi network then on to the cloud then managing the switch via the cloud.

Same goes for any WiFi switch sold today at any big box store in general.

I mentioned the non cloud Tasmota firmware being utilized which he did not understand.

What is TASMOTA?

TASMOTA is actually an acronym for Theo Arends Sonoff MQTT OTA back when the project started for the original iTead Sonoff devices such as the famous Sonoff Basic. The TASMOTA firmware is an open source project maintained by several developers on Github. This software is written to the Espressif chips in many different pieces of hardware from light bulbs, light switches, electrical plugs, etc. There are several variants from ESP32, ESP8266, ESP32-C3 etc that manufacturers utilize to create low cost devices in the world of the Internet of Things IOT. The one big issue with this is the dependency of the internet to use your own devices in your home. The TASMOTA project unlocks the devices allowing them to be used locally without the internet while adding many features, enhancing security/privacy, etc.

I see the mention of Magic Home RGB WiFi switches above. I utilize modded Magic Home Controllers for my Kitchen counter Illumination (just one channel). It has been a couple of years now and working fine. These 12VDC powered LED lamps work fine with or without the Magic Home controller.

Here continue to utilize X10, UPB, Zigbee , ZWave and now adding WiFi Tasmota modded devices. Recently testing Powerline Ethernet and noticed that it does not affect my X10 / UPB power line stuff which is a good thing.

Recently did a bulk purchase of WiFi multifunctional dimmer switches and converted them all to Tasmota. These were bulk purchased as low as $13.00 USD. These are generically no name labeled switches originally made for Smartphone cloud use.
 
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LarrylLix

Senior Member
I don't know why so many people think that all WiFi devices are dependent on cloud servers. The two items are not related.

My brother in law asked last week how I am automating using WiFi switches. He is not an IT person and assumes that all WiFi advertised switches are on the Internet.

WiFi in general is always mentioned as a means to get to the Internet.

That said all of the descriptions of any WiFi switch sold on Amazon mention programming or configuring the switch via your smartphone. They are all the same going to AP mode, attaching the switch to your WiFi network then on to the cloud then managing the switch via the cloud.

Same goes for any WiFi switch sold today at any big box store in general.

I mentioned the non cloud Tasmota firmware being utilized which he did not understand.



I see the mention of Magic Home RGB WiFi switches above. I utilize modded Magic Home Controllers for my Kitchen counter Illumination (just one channel). It has been a couple of years now and working fine. These 12VDC powered LED lamps work fine with or without the Magic Home controller.

Here continue to utilize X10, UPB, Zigbee , ZWave and now adding WiFi Tasmota modded devices. Recently testing Powerline Ethernet and noticed that it does not affect my X10 / UPB power line stuff which is a good thing.

Recently did a bulk purchase of WiFi multifunctional dimmer switches and converted them all to Tasmota. These were bulk purchased as low as $13.00 USD. These are generically no name labeled switches originally made for Smartphone cloud use.
Bit of a side trip here but what is a Magic Home Controller? I have a few that came with some of my bulbs but they use BT.

BTW: I have written an extensive bridge software (python3) to control my RGBW, RGBCW and WW/CW bulbs to make my ISY / polisy work with these devices, if you are interested in any information along those avenues.

Strangely enough the CW/WW lamps use a completely different protocol and technique to set levels. Meanwhile all the interrogation, On, and Off protocols are exactly the same.
 
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