Yesterday at CES 2018 Sigma Designs announced and introduced its new chipset designed for the next wave of smart home products. This is the Z-Wave 700-Series and what is probably its headline feature is its efficiency. As according to Sigma Designs, the Z-Wave 700-Series chipset will be able to draw power for up to 10 years from a single coin-cell battery. Which could prove significant for upcoming smart home products as once this SoC is in place, in a smart home product, it could be good for power for the next decade.
This is, of course, designed for smaller and more lightweight smart home products such as sensors. So this is unlikely to be the type of chip that powers more demanding smart devices in the home. Although due to its emphasis on low power consumption, Sigma Designs does suggest that it could find a home in newer items that are currently less often thought of as ‘smart.’ Some of the examples given by Sigma Designs include “furniture, windows and even behind drywalls.” These are also likely to be good examples of why the extended battery life matters so much, as these are product areas where you might not want to swap out batteries for quite some time, if ever.
Besides the battery life, the Z-Wave 700-Series is also designed for improved long distance usage with the manufacturer stating the chipset is capable of covering a distance in excess of 300 feet. Therefore, in addition to being capable of spanning greater distances within a home (or building), Sigma Designs also suggests this could be an ideal option to bring more smart devices to the backyard. Of course, with this being a Z-Wave-based product it will be designed to work with the Z-Wave protocol (the actual tech underlying the connection and control of smart home products) and this does mean not all smart home products and sensors will be compatible with the chip. For example, while it will likely work with SmartThings-based devices, it likely won't work with devices that solely work off of ZigBee - at least not without some medium in between able to connect and convert. In either case, for the Z-Wave market, this latest IoT SoC series is designed to be a low cost, easy to implement, secure, and battery-life focused solution.