September 2011

Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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Mark WaltersEMAIL INTERVIEWMark Walters and Ken Sinclair

Mark Walters, Chairman, Z-Wave Alliance 

Mark has over 20 years experience in all aspects of electronic product solutions.   He has a background in product design and development having served as chief engineer for a high-end audio company, a vehicular sensor and controls company and a manufacture of premise wiring solutions.  Additionally, he is a seasoned veteran in the building controls market including positions held with Alerton, Encelium Technologies and Leviton Manufacturing.  Currently Mark serves as the Chairman of the Z-Wave Alliance, an open consortium of leading global companies dedicated to establishing Z-Wave as the standard in wireless controls. Mark holds bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a MBA from City University, Seattle.

Z-Wave For Large Buildings

There are over 65,000 Z-Wave devices in this one hotel.  A key reason Z-Wave was chosen for this job was the simplicity of installation and commissioning.

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Sinclair:  I see Z-Wave being used in simple home automation applications, can it be used in large commercial buildings as well?

Walters:  While most manufacturers of Z-Wave products concentrate on residential applications the technology is not limited to simple home automation.  Z-Wave technology provides for the easy, secure creation of networks consisting of; sensors, energy meters, thermostats, lighting and window shade controls, door locks, keycard switches and user interfaces.  Z-Wave uses a true mesh networking topology providing for robust network coverage of large spaces.

Sinclair:  Can you give me an example where Z-Wave was used in a large commercial application?

Walters:  Sure, Z-Wave technology was used to automate the 2,716 room Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.  Each room is equipped with smart lighting, climate control, window shade control as well as integration with keycard entry and housekeeping.  There are over 65,000 Z-Wave devices in this one hotel.  A key reason Z-Wave was chosen for this job was the simplicity of installation and commissioning.

Sinclair:  We hear a lot about other RF technologies being used in automated buildings what makes Z-Wave a good choice for large building automation?

Walters:  A key benefit is Z-Wave uses the 900Mhz ISM band where most other technologies use the 2.4Ghz band.  The lower frequencies in the 900Mhz band provide for better wall and ceiling penetration and hence improved range and reliability.  In addition to the improved penetration and range, there is no chance of interference with other 2.4Ghz technologies such as WiFi and Bluetooth.  Another benefit is Z-Wave profiles fully support the products and functions needed in a large commercial building such as; smart-grid and DR interfaces, HVAC, lighting, window covering, security, IP communications and access.  Perhaps the key benefit is the proven interoperability of Z-Wave.  While other technologies advertize multi-vendor interoperability Z-Wave is the only technology that brings hundreds of products from many different manufacturers together with a standard plug-in play network.  This gives the integrator multiple choices of say gateways, thermostats or lighting controls where with other technologies there is often only one choice.

Sinclair:  How about integration of Z-Wave with other building systems?

Walters:  There are several gateway devices on the market that provide internet access to the Z-Wave network.  Some of these gateways support OpenADR and other regional demand response protocols.  For true M2M integration Z-Wave is supported by the Niagara Framework through a JACE interface.  If your building has a Niagara or BACNet front end it is easy to incorporate Z-Wave devices.

Sinclair:  How can someone get more information on Z-Wave products for large buildings.

Walters:  Developers interested in Z-Wave technology can visit:

Integrators interested in Z-Wave products can visit:

Sinclair:  Any last comments on Z-Wave for large buildings?

Walters:  Yes, in the end the power of Z-Wave is its user community and the ecosystem of over 500 certified, interoperable products.  This ecosystem and interoperability is fostered by the Z-Wave Alliance a global consortium of companies dedicated to the continued development and promotion of the Z-Wave Standard.   The Alliance holds regular advanced trainings and unplug fests and maintains an interoperability lab.

Readers can learn more about the Alliance at 



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