From the horse’s mouth
The new Matter Internet-of-Things ecosystem based on Zigbee and CHoIP technology is being established and promoted for the smart home. But the Z-Wave Alliance are not part of this ecosystem. But I see it as not just applying to the Z-Wave platform but to other platforms like the DECT-ULE home-automation platform preferred within Europe.
Here, some people may see this as the creation of a technology war but Z-Wave are seeing it as a complementary smart-home technology that can work with the Matter ecosystem. It is although Matter is providing higher-level and intermediate level bridging between Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee (Thread) network interfaces.
How is this being achieved? Here, Z-Wave envisages the use of hardware devices with a Z-Wave interface and software that effectively bridges the protocols and device types between the Matter ecosystem and the Z-Wave ecosystem. In some cases, it can include “presenting” devices existing on one ecosystem to another ecosystem.
It is an idea that key IoT and smart-home industry giants like Amazon, Google, Apple and Samsung are pushing. This is because they want to see this form of interoperability through “central” gateway or hub devices that effectively co-ordinate how the smart home works. Samsung has achieved this goal in some form with their SmartThings smart-home platform by running Zigbee and Z-Wave devices on the same system.
Most likely, the smart home will be reliant on a central “hub” of some sort to facilitate time-driven or event-driven operation of multiple smart-home devices. These may have their own direct control surfaces or can be controlled by a local Web interface, a mobile platform app or even a “skill” or “action” for a voice-driven home assistant.
There is also an industry “want” to see border / edge devices or endpoint devices being able to support the Matter ecosystem or the Z-Wave ecosystem. This may include approaches like what Assa Abloy are doing with some of their smart-lock products by providing different retrofittable modules for different smart-home systems.
It is in addition to keeping Z-Wave relevant to devices like smart locks or sensors that exist on the edge of the network and are likely to run primarily on batteries. It is due to Z-Wave having inherent peer-to-peer mesh support and optimisation for long-term battery operation.
At least the smart-home and Internet-of-Things industry are doing what they can to allow multiple interface technologies to work together.