The zwave 800 chip has started shipping to manufacturers. It’s probably another year to 18 months before there’s anything consumers can buy and, yes, you’ll need a new hub, but very cool trajectory. They are really pushing this as a good fit for hotels and resorts, in part because of no interference from WiFi, which is interesting. No mention of Matter. Lots of discussion of the idea that this needs fewer individual devices than Zigbee/thread to cover large properties.
THE BIG ADVANTAGES OVER ZWAVE 700
Even less hackable: there’s an additional security structure called SecureVault to protect admin functions
Much longer range IF devices are using Zwave LR (which most aren’t, yet). Lots of discussion about “beyond the yard” range of up to 1.5 miles (but again, that will require zwave LR). Think parking lots, resort properties, outdoor lighting for multi acre complexes.
Way lower power consumption, down by 60% for receiving. Potential “10 year life” for coin cell batteries. Even if it’s 5, again, very appealing for the hospitality industry.
Smaller physical chip, so potentially smaller devices, helpful for light switch and outlet installations.
There’s some other improvements, too, but then we’re down into engineering details.
LONG TERM INDUSTRY IMPACT
Looks to me like this is the intended future of zwave: automation that can be deployed on really large properties with good security, lower maintenance costs, excellent range, and no interference from Wi-Fi. Hospitality, hospitals, some office complexes and some apartment buildings, but with the idea that individual residents would not be adding their own stuff to the system. I expect to see these packages sold with everything included, professionally installed, and with the option of professional ongoing maintenance.
Many people are not aware that Amazon has a commercial properties division that handles Hotels for their echo devices. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of Ring based security/lighting automation rolled out in a similar commercial package with a Z wave component. But a few years off.
Zwave’s biggest advantage long-term is that it’s not operating on the same frequencies as Wi-Fi. I don’t know if that’s enough to let it survive without matter support and shifting to an IP based architecture, but I think there are use cases where it makes sense.
I have no idea what this means for individual residential DIY systems. It can’t be a bad thing to have a reason to keep the protocol alive, though.