Z-Wave launches framework to standardise IoT security
The mainstream connected home remains a distant dream, says Gartner

Z-Wave launches framework to standardise IoT security

Z-Wave Alliance, the consortium looking to standardise the use of Z-Wave wireless communications for consumer electronic goods, is establishing new partnerships in its bid to promote IoT security and consumer education.

Over the year, Z-Wave has attracted over 100 new member companies and seen 250 certified devices and 150 million smart home devices shipped worldwide.

These statistics bring the ecosystem up to 375 member companies, 1,500 certified IoT products and 50 million devices in the market.

As well as this, it’s been experiencing expansion in both core and emerging markets for smart home technologies. With this in mind, there’s been a major focus on security for such products.

This led to the launch of Z-Wave Security 2 (S2). It’s a framework available to IoT developers that lets them set pin codes or QR codes on devices.

S2 also shifts from AES 128-bit cipher security – which is found in most IoT networking technologies today – to a new algorithm called Curve25519. The attractive thing about is that it doesn’t have any known backdoors for illegal access.

And with data from Park Associates suggesting that 1 in 5 consumers in the US now own smart home technology, Z-Wave and its members have been looking at ways to educate and support new users entering the smart home market.

Its response was the launch of Z-Wave.com, a consumer portal offering up tips, best practices and frequently asked questions regarding Z-Wave products.

Mitchell Klein, executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance, said: “2015 has been an extraordinary year of growth for the Z-Wave platform with market adoption at its peak in home security, experiencing growth in the telco industry and poised for take-off at consumer retail.

“Our goals for 2016 include looking at partnerships to ensure Z-Wave is part of all smart home solutions, launching an IoT security framework to make Z-Wave devices the most secure on the market and giving consumers resources to help them understand benefits of the smart home.”

Bruno Beloff, chief architect at Deliver Change, told Internet of Business about the emergence of IoT ecosystems like Z Wave.

“IoT ecosystems naturally divide into two groups – wide-area and internet-based middleware from organisations like OpenSensors.io and Nominet, contrasted with local-area protocol stacks like Z-Wave and Thread.

“Whether the middleware is relevant to a specific project, it can be decided on a case-by-case basis. But local-area protocol stacks should always be adopted, wherever they are relevant. Both in commercial and domestic settings, this is where the IoT vendors have to play with each other.

“Adopting the wrong IoT LAN protocol stack is like turning up for a job interview in the wrong outfit. The good stacks have security built in (it’s usually AES). For the vendor, that’s a baseline requirement, because security regimes are utterly dependent of the quality of their implementation. It’s also a reassurance for the customer, who has to take the security implementation on trust. And going without security is not an option.”