IoT and the Connected Home
By Jim Lundy
It is clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon has already become very real on the home and consumer market front.
I was recently in the market for a new home security system and ended up actually buying a complete home automation system. The system connects my door locks, thermostat, lights and the video surveillance cameras around my house. Smoke detectors are also enabled so that if they go off, the fire department is notified unless I follow the voice prompt to inform authorities it is a false alarm and everything is under control.
Also, if someone does manage to get in my home while the system is on, they will need to not only know my access code, but also a verbal password to ensure it is the homeowner. If that is not given or spoken, the authorities will be dispatched. Not only is it voice-enabled, but I can control everything including arming and disarming my home from my mobile device.
The set-up was fairly easy and quick once the serviceman installed everything.
IoT for Connected Homes
IoT says anything that can be connected will be connected.
Within the home, this means every appliance in the house can be connected. It also means that every connected thing can be “smart,” and its intelligence is relative to everything else it is connected to. Each item is network-enabled, with its own IP address. In fact, my home automation system uses WiFi to communicate. It sends me notifications so I can see the status of things, and also enables me to send commands to the system.
The cloud-based system comes with a wall-mounted control console, but with all the similar controls on my mobile device, I end up using that more. The most interesting thing is that I don’t even use my house keys anymore. I lock and unlock my door with my mobile device. While I’m away from home I can view feeds from all the surveillance cameras on my smartphone or tablet.
In the first week the system was installed, I had a humorous moment catching a neighbor from a few doors down relieving his dog on my lawn without cleaning up after. I soon addressed the situation in the most civilized manner, of course.
IoT and Big Data Analytics
Being a cloud-based system, intelligence in each device is enabled to the point where based on whether I am home or away, the heating and cooling system will adjust itself to manage the temperature. Potentially, if I had a connected vehicle, based on geolocation, the system could adjust the temperature based on my proximity to the house. For all this to really work, the system has to be able to analyze the massive amounts of data from sensors in connected intelligent devices.
A lot of data will be generated from sensors and from geolocation information that will require a lot of processing power to handle. We are seeing some early providers such as Cloudera, based on open source Hadoop, partner with some home automation and security vendors to provide a platform for dealing with data from devices with embedded sensors.
Overall, I am very pleased with my home automation system. Besides the level of security and ability to control it with my mobile device, it does bring a certain peace of mind.
The ease of use with which I can control it also gets a high mark. Also, the set-up was fairly quick. The serviceman was able to use wiring from my previous security system to get it set up.
The Market for IoT in the Home
We expect things in this market to continue to heat up with even more moves from some big players such as Apple and Google.
Apple already has its HomeKit developer platform and Google shows they are in this market now with their purchase of Nest Labs—a smart home appliances provider—for $3.2 billion. Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, and Samsung are all making moves in this space as well.
What the consumer market will do for these vendors is give them influence in IoT, which in turn, they will leverage across multiple industries. The home automation market is prime to help generate that kind of influence.
As my recent purchase has evidenced, IoT will also impact traditional home security providers who fail to get up to speed on broader home automation offerings.
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