How Can I Get Started Installing Z-Wave Smart Homes?

For many, getting started with a Z-Wave ecosystem smart home can feel daunting. With a plethora of technologies to choose from, open platforms, walled gardens, and standalone solutions, the role of the integrator is more important than ever.

The rise of DIY (do it yourself) is at an all-time high – and that bodes well for the pro integration channel. Findings from the Z-Wave 2022 State of the Ecosystem Report have revealed that DIY, or self-install, has become one of the dominant means of smart home technology installation.

This peak in DIY installation coincides with an increase in overall smart home awareness. Put simply, the smart home continues to gain traction and that means opportunities abound for installers.

As the DIY installation pace increases, dealers and installers are presented with an increasing opportunity to enhance those experiences. Where whole-home control systems offer pro installers attachment rate opportunities, the inverse is also true. Effective starter smart home systems can be built around a few key product categories.

The challenge, therein, lies in a custom integrator’s ability to create a system that unifies these categories for the end-user. By making it easy for their customers to control and operate their starter systems, installers lay the groundwork for future upgrades, and thus, additional business and revenue.

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For decades, interoperability and backward compatibility have served as pillars of the Z-Wave protocol. This has allowed the Z-Wave product ecosystem to flourish to nearly 4,000 devices that have been certified to work together.

Through this ecosystem, the professional channel has access to products from a wide variety of manufacturers that can be leveraged to create a cohesive, powerful, and functional starter smart home system. To help empower the channel, the categories below are an excellent starting point.

ATHOM Homey can act as a Z-Wave smart home hub.

Hub of the Z-Wave Ecosystem Smart Home

To expand a system beyond the confines of a single standalone solution, installers understand that a hub or gateway must be installed the serve as the center of the system.

The key component to look for here is a hub that supports the language of the smart home under construction.

To build a starter system powered by Z-Wave, all that is required to get started is a hub that supports the Z-Wave protocol. Installers needn’t look far, manufacturers such as Aeotec, Thinka, and ATHOM Homey are just a few that provide solutions to help end users and professionals get started.  

Light the Way with Smart Lights

No one likes to come home to a dark house, and with the right Z-Wave devices, an integrator can ensure this never happens again for their customer. Lighting is universally understood, making it an ideal system starting off point.

The professional channel has access to a myriad of intelligent solutions ranging from bulbs, switches, dimmers, plug-in modules, relays, and outlets that can be deployed, at scale, to add smart lighting to any environment. Once a customer has lived with a sample of what automated lighting can do for them, they are eager to enhance that experience with add-ons.

DEN’s SmartStrike is relatively new to Z-Wave.

Solutions from providers such as Jasco, HomeSeer, and Sengled can help pros build out a robust smart lighting system for customers seeking out a starter system.   

Unlock Opportunities with Smart Door Locks

Safety and security continue to be one of the prominent drivers of smart home technology adoption. Like smart lighting, smart door locks are intuitive and an easy-to-understand add-on for customers.

Smart door locks provide end users with peace of mind. The ability to lock or unlock a door from anywhere gives customers the ability to grant access to their home to authorized guests or, ensure their loved ones are safe while away.

To further build out a Z-Wave-based starter system and incorporate a smart locking solution, installers have plenty of options to choose from including Schlage, Kwikset, Yale and even new and innovative solutions from providers such as DEN.

Go with the Flow via Water Leak Detectors & Shut-off Valves

Across surveyed owners of smart home devices, the 2022 Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem Report revealed that smart water shut-off valves and flood and/or leak detectors were among the most popular Z-Wave devices owned.

For pros, this means that consumers are more aware than ever of technology-based solutions that solve real (and costly) problems within their home.

In the same fashion that motion sensors or security cameras provide users with alerts of unwanted intruders, smart water devices alert customers to the presence of water and can even be used to shut off the water to the house entirely, and thus mitigate costly repairs due to flooding or water damage.

Zooz’s Titan Water Valve Actuator.

These solutions represent an easy system add-on to professionals building a starter kit and can easily be found from manufacturers such as Zooz, Fibaro, and Dome.   

Smart & Scalable Starter Smart Home Systems

The rise in DIY means the likelihood that a potential customer already has some smart home technology in their lives has exponentially increased. This represents a major opportunity for installers to serve as the expert liaison between what their customer currently has, and what their system could become.

Savvy pros who help provide customers with simple starter smart home systems in turn, provide themselves with ample opportunities for add-on business, consulting, and services.

Integrators who are able to achieve this balance serve as a perfect example of how the professional channel benefits overall from the recent swell in smart home awareness that self-installation has helped inflate.

Additional findings on the state of the smart home including unique opportunities for growth for integrators can be found within the 2022 Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem Report – now available for download.    

Author Mitch Klein is Executive Director of the Z-Wave Alliance.

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