IoT Making Things Better - Let’s work together

20 Feb 2015

The Irish group D:Ream predicted in their song back in 1993 that “Things can only get better” (highly recommended uplifting song). Today’s increasing connectivity of things, i.e. the Internet of Things holds the promise of making our world and individual lives easier and better.

Feb. 20, 2015-The Irish group D:Ream predicted in their song back in 1993 that “Things can only get better” (highly recommended uplifting song). Today’s increasing connectivity of things, i.e. the Internet of Things holds the promise of making our world and individual lives easier and better.

Zooming into our homes, the IoT can certainly improve our day-to-day – from the time we wake up through our hectic days at home and away from home to the time we close the day.

However, one of the conditions to make this promise a reality in every home is the ability to have different ‘things’ devices, services, applications and users ‘sing’ together. This condition together with the entrance of large players such as Apple and Google, has created a situation where smart home alliances and eco systems are forming like mushrooms after the rain.

While their common goal is to drive market mass adoption and take the larger part of the value chain, those alliances have also created a mishmash of ecosystems, radios, standards, protocols and application programs. As a result, it is hard to tell the difference between them, or choose the right product that best suits you and your customers.

Allseen Alliance, OIC (Open Interconnect Consortium), Thread (Google/Nest), Homekit (Apple), WWN (Works with Nest), ZigBee, Z-Wave, Insteon, Enocean, KNX, Bluetooth, BLE, Wi-Fi, ULE –DECT, to name a few do not offer the same value proposition and at times overlap.

Some ecosystems such as WWN integrate various applications with Nest cloud-to-cloud. Others are frameworks for connectivity like Allseen with its Alljoyn framework or Thread (by Google/Nest), and WiFi, ZigBee, Z-Wave are physical/mac layers enabling communications between different devices. Both ZigBee and Z-Wave protocols can deliver IP protocol (6LoWPAN) and are an example for the increasing overlap, in which their adoption by device vendors and service providers depends on economies of scale.

To simplify the different connected home alliances and eco systems, we condensed the OSI model into 3 main domains:

1. Application/Programming (E.g. WWN, Apple HomeKit)
2. Networking/ Transport (E.g. Allseen Alljoyn)
3. Physical/ Mac (E.g. Z-Wave)

The Customer Experience and Service Provider Angle

The different eco systems will have to interoperate with each other to ensure a good user experience that seamlessly jumps across devices and protocols. For instance, in order to have your thermostat adjust your home temperature when you switch off the alarm as you come home they need to ”talk” the same language. This “talk” happens behind the scenes. Consumers do not care and needn’t care about the different protocols, standards, and device technology when buying smart home devices. They just expect them to work. If they don’t work easily, they will not be used. Only a seamless experience across devices, applications and protocols will drive the mass market adoption and realization of the smart home promise.

This is when it becomes the service providers’ concern. Service providers need to make sure that the services the launch to market work as is, delivering direct value, such as electricity cost saving, or easier home management utilizing several devices.

We believe that such service providers’ needs will drive different alliances and vendors to cooperate and ultimately converge into few market leading eco systems. Service providers’ will increasingly work together with vendors and the leading industry alliances to deliver the seamless customer experience across devices.

We at Essence are continuously researching and investing in our systems across the 3 domains (hardware, connectivity and application) to make sure we deliver a seamless customer experience across Essence and 3rd party systems enabling our customers – the service providers – to offer reliable and attractive smart home services for mass adoption around the world.

12 Abba Eban
PO Box 2073

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