An announcement by the Z-Wave Alliance, a consortium of companies utilizing Z Wave wireless mesh networking technology in their products, disclosed that there are currently around 600 products comprising the Z-Wave technology which is available in the US. At first glance, this really is pretty dull tech news. The spread of the Z-Wace technology and its implication are very interesting as it has undergone a rapid production and democratization of the “smart home” or “home automation” goods and new uses for those products. It has potential health benefits which will be discussed below.

As a technology, Z-Wave has existed since 2001, as it was made in Denmark by a few engineers in Nokia and Erikson. Back in North America, it didn’t really begin to take off until about 2005, when suddenly five big firms adopted Z-Wave at the exact same time, and also the Z-Wave Alliance was born. Its objective, based on Z-Wave Alliance chairman Mark Walters, will be to foster using Z-Wave technology and its use in home controls. The key and most important factor is that these products be interoperable with each other. The notion is that you could purchase a product from one company, and it would work using a product from a different Z-Wave company.

In 2005, about six goods on the marketplace used Z-Wave. By mid-2010 that number was 500, and at the previous six months it has jumped again to 600. Part of that jump is due to the adoption of this technology by large service providers such as Verizon, which is currently using Z-Wave goods to offer home tracking to its own customers. Verizon customer can sign up for between $75 and $200, get “smart” light switches, thermostats and, even if they prefer, controls for other home appliances and electronics, and then pay $10 a month for tracking services from Verizon which will enable them to remotely track energy use, turn the lights or thermostat off or on, and also program the lights and thermostat to turn off and on at particular times of the day.

Now home automation is getting more democratized, aided in part by the proliferation of Z-Wave. However, house automation isn’t just about saving money or energy, improving home security, or performing cool tech-y items like cuing the audio with the push of a button. Walters says what people who put in automation systems comment on most frequently is the ease of them.

Home automation might be the next frontier in health care too. That statement stands in stark contrast to complaints from several health advocacy groups that have warned that the growth of the smart grid, including smart homes, could lead to health issues along the lines of those that continue to mount round cell phone usage. Nonetheless, there may be some unexpected health advantages to smart houses which can be implemented via an it service company.

The software we talk about the most today is in regards to energy and security however, it will soon change to aging independently. There are plenty of people in this country who’ll need some sort of help to age independently and technology might have to step in. And that could be in the form of simple things like the lights coming on softly when you wake up at 3am to go to the bathroom, so that you don’t possess a blinding 100-percent lighting that causes you to blink, trip on your own slippers, and break a hip.

If a smart home system could keep track of when someone gets up and goes to bed, and follow them about through the night, it may even have an algorithm which tells us when dementia has set in. Admittedly, that is kind of creepy, however with private cloud computing technology it provides a more secure smart system. But if you consider it, motion detectors that turn the lights on for you are pretty innocuous and there is value in that as an older individual. Also, premature onset of dementia has been caused by 80 percent of their time by problems with medication. If you understood that there was a surprising shift in the cognitive ability of your parent a week or 2 later it occurred, then you could visit the doctor and say hey something has changed, and in many cases it is likely a drug issue that is fixable.

The possible health-focused applications for smart houses go on from there. Smart chargers could monitor nutrition, for example, while smart ovens might help the handicapped to perform cooking tasks which are otherwise difficult. In the meantime, more economical, basic systems which enable consumers to reduce their energy use will shave 10 percent off the average monthly utility bill, and the first generation of EV owners will likely need home monitoring systems to make sure that charging their cars will not send their electricity bill through the roof. Home extension builders have also been integrating such technology as it becomes more popular.

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