SIGMA DESIGNS, a fabless provider of highly integrated system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Zensys Holdings Corp., a wireless startup company headquartered in Fremont, CA. Upon completion of the acquisition, Zensys' headquarters will be physically merged into the headquarters of Sigma Designs in the neighboring city of Milpitas.

Zensys also has a research and development center located in Copenhagen, Denmark, which houses all engineering and operations personnel. That center will remain in place. The group currently employs 33 people23 of which are engineers.

Although wireless RF is commonly regarded as the base technology for nextgeneration home products, there is a need for a universal RF standard that establishes a common protocol for remote control and monitoring coupled with a simple, low-cost RF implementation that enables widespread use. In response to this market situation, Zensys developed Z-Wave, a solution designed to provide manufacturers with an intelligent and interoperable standard. The Z-Wave Alliance an industry consortium founded by Zensysadministers and promotes this standard.

The Z-Wave solution has been incorporated into over 250 household products by more than 60 suppliers. Essentially, Z-Wave establishes a wireless mesh network that transforms virtually any electronic device into an intelligent networked device that can be controlled and monitored wirelessly and can seamlessly interact with other home devices and systems. These networked devices can then be accessed through a gateway or set-top box to enable Internet-based monitoring and control of the entire range of devices in the home.

The devices are implemented using a family of low-cost, low-power integrated RF transceiver chips embedded with Z-Wave along with a suite of development tools and services. These products include home audio/video entertainment, lighting and appliance control, energy management, access and security control, and building automation, among others. Zensys is currently shipping over a million RF transceiver chips per year.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Sigma Designs made an undisclosed cash payment for the acquisition of Zensys. The acquisition was subject to various standard closing conditions and closed at the end of December.