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According to several forecasts by analysts, 2017 will be a good year for smart home and Internet of Things (IoT) services. But security around those devices remains a major concern, and it is something garnering more attention from groups representing the connected home device space.

The Z-Wave Alliance recently announced a new security mandate for all connected home certified devices. The alliance’s board of directors voted to make the implementation of the new Security 2 (S2) framework mandatory for all products that are Z-Wave certified after April 2, 2017. “The security measures in S2 provide the most advanced security for smart home devices and controllers, gateways, and hubs in the market today,” Z-Wave reports in a statement.

According to the group, S2 was developed via collaboration with cybersecurity hacking experts, and includes secure communication features both locally for home-based devices as well as in the hub or gateway for cloud functions. The alliance reports S2 requires a QR or pin-code on the device to uniquely authenticate it to the network, and negates common hacking techniques such as man-in-the-middle and brute force through the use of a secure key exchange using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH). Z-Wave also says S2 boosted cloud security by routing all Z-Wave-over-IP traffic through a secure TLS 1.1 tunnel.

Z-Wave also says that its goals for 2017 include “providing a strong framework for smart home at retail, evangelizing our IoT security leadership, welcoming the next generation of Z-Wave devices to the market, and securing partnerships to ensure Z-Wave devices can work across platforms."

"Z-Wave has over 10 years under its belt in building a powerful and secure mesh network for the smart home and our success and growth is attributed to that diligent work," Mitchell Klein, executive director at Z-Wave, says.

The alliance also announced on Thursday that IoT manufacturer Fibaro has become a principal member and joined its board of directors. Other board members include ADT, Fakro, Ingersoll-Rand, Jasco Products, LG Uplus, Nortek Security & Control, SmartThings, and Sigma Designs. Fibaro was reportedly an early adopter of Z-Wave technology, and offers peripheral devices such as flood and motion sensors and controllers as well as a central hub.

Alliance membership includes more than 450 global members with 1,700 certified devices. To date, 70 million Z-Wave IoT products have shipped into the market, representing a $3.28B business worldwide, according to the alliance.

"Ownership of smart home devices continues to increase, with some products passing 10 percent penetration in broadband households," Stuart Sikes, president at the research firm Parks Associates, observes. "Major technology providers including those using Z-Wave like Samsung and Honeywell, as well as tech giants like Amazon and Google, along with others are experiencing strong sales of smart home products, adding to awareness and excitement of this category."

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