The Raspberry Pi is set to get smarter with new intelligence that will arrive through a plug-in module that adds Z-Wave, the key enabling technology that is behind wireless home control and automation. The marriage of the two technologies has been launched at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Z-Wave Alliance member Z-Wave.me is introducing the RaZberry, a kit incorporating a Z-Wave hardware module that snaps on the Raspberry Pi’s serial connector, along with Z-Wave protocol stack and firmware Z-Way. Together, these two products make it possible for developers to access the huge Z-Wave ecosystem of home control products, and give them the ability to create their own unique, inexpensive, powerful control and automation solutions.
Z-Wave provides the world’s largest ecosystem of interoperable products, such as lighting and HVAC controls, window and shade controls, door lock and access controls, and a multitude of sensors and actuators. Raspberry Pi provides the access to user control from smart phones, tablets, browsers, HDMI devices and the cloud.
Connecting the new RaZberry plug-in to the Raspberry Pi empowers the mini-computer with new capabilities for the exploding smart home market. By using Raspberry Pi as a Z-Wave gateway, businesses and consumers can connect the computer to any Z-Wave compatible home automation solution and be assured of interoperable compatibility between brands. There are now more than 700 certified home control products and services available in the Z-Wave Alliance portfolio. The RaZberry plug-in can easily be connected to the Raspberry Pi without the need for any specialized knowledge. Users simply insert the Z-Wave plug-in module into the mini-computer”s GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output). The RaZberry kit contains optimized firmware for Z-Wave, as well as a license for Z-Way, which is the controller software that the Raspberry Pi requires in order to be able to read the Z-Wave wireless protocol.
The Z-Way software also provides users with an initial user interface demo, through which all the functionality provided by the Z-Wave wireless technology can be tested. It also includes a JSON (Java Script Object Notation) interface integrated into the software. JSON is a compact data format which provides both humans and machines with an easy to read text format, which makes it possible for even programming novices to create their own user interfaces for iPhones, Android phones and web browsers.
The combination of the inexpensive Raspberry Pi and the RaZberry plug-in module also make the technology suitable for commercial applications. The two components combine to provide a robust gateway solution, with straightforward connection to a typical grouping of Z-Wave components. In the event of a broad-scale commercial deployment with a large number of components being connected, users can acquire additional Z-Way software licenses from Z-Wave.me.