Z-wave is a meshed fabric technology that enables devices with a Zensys chip embedded in them to be controlled from a Z-wave gateway. In other words, Z-wave is fast becoming the standard in automation. There are dimmers, light switches, garage door openers, power outlet fixtures, motion sensors, microphones (so you can say what you want to happen rather than using a remote or a computer), remote controls and other items in for the home and office that you can install and manage using Z-wave gateways. I’ve always been a bit bummed that I have to use a Linux box to manage Z-wave devices and honestly it’s been a bit of a holdup to me being able to do all the things I’ve wanted to do in order to automate my own home, especially the power outlets by my computers (which mostly don’t have Lights Out Management interfaces).
Enter Wayne Dalton into the mix, with Houseport. These guys have been making garage doors for a long time and have most recently gotten into reselling Z-wave enabled devices. Now they’re going a step further and starting to sell software for the Mac, which they’re calling Houseport, to manage the home. You can use the Houseport to build a layout of your home, define where the Z-wave enabled devices are and then control what aspects of the devices are to be controlled, when and how. It’s amazing that it’s taken this long for the Z-wave world to embrace the Mac, but lucky for us they have.
There are also a number of home automation vendors offering iPhone enabled applications, but this is the first that you can install on your Mac to control your home. While the software doesn’t seem to be shipping (it was just announced at CES) I’m looking forward to getting a copy of it to test and hopefully end the confusion at my own home in short order.