Smartest Home

What is the most popular Z-Wave smart home platform in Australia?

by Sean Nezhad | January 16, 2019
What is the most popular Z-Wave smart home platform in Australia?

With most of the world adopting advanced smart home systems Australia is lagging behind due to frequency restrictions and marketing dominations.
Today’s smart home systems are moving from centralized wired control modules into a network of modules communicating wirelessly with a central controller module called gateway.
Within the available wireless protocols Zigbee and Z-wave are becoming more and more popular and major manufacturers are focusing on developing products which are supporting these two protocols.
Any wireless communication system needs a frequency band. It is a legal requirement to only use the correct frequency in your country. Australia has a governing body RSM (https://www.acma.gov.au) that makes sure you do not use the wrong frequency, so won’t interfere with other devices operating in Australia. Large fines can be applied if operating on the wrong frequency.

Below Table shows legal frequencies in various parts of the world as of January 2017 (Wikipedia):

Frequency in MHz

Used in

921.4 ; 919.8

Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia

921.4

Brazil

868.40 ; 868.42 ; 869.85

CEPT Countries (Europe and other countries in region), French Guiana

919.8 ; 921.4

Chile, El Salvador, Peru

868.4

China, Singapore, South Africa

919.8

Hong Kong

865.2

India

869

Russia

915 - 917

Israel

920 - 925

Taiwan

922 - 926

Japan

919 - 923

South Korea

908.4 ; 908.42 ; 916

USA, Canada, Argentina, Guatemala, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Mexico, Bermuda, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama, British Virgin Islands, Suriname, Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Colombia, Turks & Caicos, Ecuador, Uruguay

The above table indicates the frequencies used in Australia are 921.4 Mhz and 919.8 Mhz. This frequency range is shared between Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia only.

Since the Australian frequency range is not very common between the majority of the other countries most of the manufacturers are not developing products which are adoptable by the Australian standards.

In any Z-Wave network there is a gateway which is the brain of the system. In a very simple word Gateway is an electronic box which allows the interface between your smart home and your smart phone application. The interaction between switches, sockets, sensors and third party appliances like TVs and ACs are also being managed and programmed in the gateway.

There are several different Z-Wave gateways which you can choose for your smart home, some better than others. While design and interfaces do a lot to set different gateways apart, the number of different Z-Wave devices a gateway is compatible with is potentially its best feature. Without broad device compatibility, you're limited in just how robust and how smart your connected home can really be.

Fibaro, Aeotec and Vera are the three big developers of the Z-Wave systems which have the biggest exposure in the Australian market. Samsung Smart Things has recently joined the club by developing modules supporting Australian standards.

With multiple award-winning products, Fibaro has become one of the leading Z-Wave manufacturers in the home automation and security industries. The company has been lauded time and time again for bringing uniquely innovative Z-Wave solutions to people across the globe. All Fibaro products are made in Poland to the strictest standards and this is reflected in the quality of their products. Fibaro also has an intuitive and slick user interface for system configuration and an iPhone, Android app, Google home and Amazon Alexa to give you the flexibility to control your home from your smart phone or through voice commands.

As a package Fibaro includes both gateways and a range of available modules. There are two available gateways Fibaro Lite and Fibaro Home Center2. While most of the ordinary smart home needs could be satisfied by the Fibaro Lite gateway, advanced and complicated smart home interactions could be achieved by the HC2 gateway. Fibaro gateways are taking advantage of plugins which allow third party system integration. AC systems, TVs, smart door locks and smart reticulation system could be integrated with Fibaro by using the plugins.To read more about Fibaro products  click here

Fibaro HC2 and lite

Aeotec is developed by Aeon Labs. Founded in 2006 and head-quartered in Silicon Valley, California Aeotec team is complemented by offices in London and Hong Kong, along with manufacturing facilities in China.
Aetoec focus is on Z-wave home automation control modules and sensors. Aeotec is a gradually expanding range of the perfect products that is sold across the Americas, Europe and Oceania.
Aeotec modules are compatible with Fibaro and Vera. Aeotec does not manufacture gateways and a third party gateway such as Fibaro or Vera is needed to setup the network with Aeotec modules.
While Fibaro and Aerotec modules both have very high quality build standards but they are a little bit different when it comes to the functionality, options and the flexibilities which they offer.
As an example Fibaro motion sensor has an accelerometer but Aeotec multi sensor doesn’t have one. Likewise Aeotec multi sensor has a humidity sensor which Fibaro motion sensor doesn’t have. On the other side when it comes to power usage Fibaro motion sensor consumes less power than the Aeotec multi sensor.
It would be a good idea to do a brief comparison before choosing which module to use to fit your requirements.

Fibaro Aeotec Switch

In addition to the control modules and sensors Aeotec also has also developed Australian standard switch faceplates integrated with Z-wave. The product gives you the convenience of wireless Z-Wave control as well as the beauty of an illuminated glass "touch" switch. The touch panel comes in different colours.To read more about Aeotec Products click here.

Aeotech Touch Switch

Vera is an American company based in New Jersey. Vera’s focus has been on developing affordable smart electronic devices specifically smart home gateways.
Their major success has been introducing The MiOS platform which is universal and works seamlessly with all wired and wireless technologies. With MiOS, there is no need to be worry about compatibility. MiOS platform can bridge Z-Wave, ZigBee, 6LoWPAN, Wi-Fi Direct, Insteon, BACnet, PLC or X10 technologies in a single unique platform.

The three gateways developed by Vera are, Vera Edge, Vera Plus and Vera Secure.

VeraEdge has the smallest form factor between all Vera units. It includes 128MB of RAM memory, WiFi, one USB port, and the latest generation of Z-Wave Plus chip built in. This hardware configuration allows it to control up to 220 devices.
VeraPlus has even more protocols built in. it supports Zwave, ZigBee, and Bluetooth, one ethernet port (WAN), the latest generation of Z-Wave Plus chip built, twice the RAM memory, a dual-core processor
VeraSecure is the flagship controller. It has all the capabilities of VeraPlus and more. VeraSecure is the modern day replacement for a security panel. It has more memory and can control up to 200 devices!

Vera Gateway

Both VeraPlus and Fibaro HC2 are among the most popular Z-Wave gateways in the world, and either product deliver great options and results. They are however different in several ways which we are going through briefly.
With 1GB of on-board RAM and dual core Intel Atom processor Fibaro is a very powerful Z-Wave controller and can handle most demanding home automation tasks easily. VeraPlus has substantially less RAM than the Home Centre 2 and this means for large scale (100+ control modules) home automation projects VeraPlus will have hardware resource limitations.
When it comes to compatibility Fibaro is an all in one platform which has a big range of dedicated sensors and controls. Most of the big smart home brands are supported by Fibaro HC2.
VeraPlus takes advantage of an open source system and aims to support Z-Wave devices from many different manufacturers as well as non Z-Wave products like ZigBee and Bluetooth.
Both VeraPlus and Fibaro HC2 are using Plugins to integrate with third party devices like ACs, Audio/Video and security systems.
Fibaro HC2 UI (User Interface) is very user friendly and easy to use. One of the biggest strengths of the Fibaro UI is its graphical Scene Programming tool which is a very fast and effective tool for creating scene codes.
VeraPlus on the other side due to its open source nature is using a less flexible and more complicated coding environment for scene programming.
Finally when it comes to the cost Fibaro HC2 is way more expensive than its competitor VeraPlus, Fibaro has its own distinctive advantages and high quality of build as well as innovative user interface ideas which all come with a cost. Fibaro however offers Fibaro Lite gateway which is a simpler and less expensive version of its HC2, but VeraPlus and Fibaro HC2 are recommended for complicated scenarios.
To sum up Fibaro has a vast exposure in Australian market and offers a big range of products as well as developing and manufacturing new products dynamically and could be reliably utilized as a standalone system, it is also compatible with many other big names in the smart home industry including Aeotec, Philips Hue and…
VeraPlus is a very reliable powerful and affordable gateway device which could be a very good substitute for Fibaro HC2 and due to its open source nature there are several forums and coding assistance sources available for it.

0 Posted Comments

 

You must be logged in to post a comment


TOP