What Interoperability Means for the Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Oct 17, 2016 10:04:23 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Apple, ConnectSense, General, HomeKit, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, smart home, tech, technology

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The Internet of Things (IoT) is reliant upon connection, making communication one of the most rudimentary functions of internet-enabled technology. Interoperability opens up endless opportunities for IoT devices as it ensures that devices will be able to communicate with each other and store data in a central location. The IoT will be able to fulfil its promises of convenience and functionality if multiple devices can be controlled simultaneously while being able to communicate and transfer data with each other.

A majority of the companies that are manufacturing IoT technology are trying to create platforms and devices that will be accepted as the “industry leading solution.” However, this culture within the IoT industry has led to a large assortment of devices that have to be controlled as separate entities and from different apps. The fact of the matter is that consumers simply don’t want to have 50 different devices, each with their own app, that operate independently of each other. The growth of the industry will be limited until manufacturers begin to collaborate in developing devices that will work together within the same network.

Manufacturers clearly understand that interoperability is a necessity for the IoT to continue to grow. So why hasn’t a standardized control system been created? The answer is simple: money and brand recognition. Each company wants to be the one that develops the ultimate “hub” for controlling IoT technology as it will come with a major payout. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just means it will take more time to reach seamless interoperability than it would if there were more collaborative efforts. That being said, there are still some open-source initiatives to create interoperability that have shown signs of promise such as Qualcomm’s AllSeen Alliance.

When it comes to the individual corporations that are trying to create hubs for controlling smart technology, it appears that Apple is on the verge of creating total interoperability for HomeKit products. The upgraded Apple operating system, iOS10, has transformed the way HomeKit is used with its addition of the Home app. This app allows for any HomeKit device to be controlled from a central location. This means that instead of going to an app for each manufacturer, all devices can be controlled in the hub Apple has integrated within their new operating system. Companies like Google and Microsoft have also created similar smart home platforms, but they don’t quite offer this level of interoperability and don’t seem to have as much traction in the consumer world. These developments in HomeKit are great strides in achieving interoperability within the IoT.

Even though HomeKit has achieved a previously unseen level of interoperability, it still isn’t quite what consumers want in terms of creating a smart home that is completely connected. This is because HomeKit products are the only products that can communicate and operate within this network, thus limiting the device integration to Apple approved devices. This isn’t a bad thing for Apple because many other tech giants are trying to create this same level of interoperability for their respective smart home platforms. At this point in time, this segregated version of interoperability is the best consumers will get until these large corporations put their differences aside.

The current trends within the IoT industry are unlikely to change anytime soon due to the fact that smart home technology is still in the late stages of its infancy. As technology becomes more advanced and more efficient, consumers will begin to demand networks that are more connected, with devices that are able to communicate and operate in harmony. The interoperability provided in Apple HomeKit is a significant advancement from previous systems and is an innovative solution at this point in time. It will be interesting to see if large IoT businesses will be willing to work together in an effort to create a centralized hub that can control and communicate with any type of smart device.

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Where is the standard for the IoT standards?

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 8, 2015 10:45:57 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in API, Apple, BLE, Bluetooth, Cisco, General, Google, HomeKit, Intel, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, Nest, Network Standards, OIC, Open Interconnect Consortium, RFID, Rival Protocols, Samsung, security, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, wifi, Works with Nest

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The rapid progression of device communication has resulted in a formidable roadblock to the Internet of Things (IoT). Too many rival standards have emerged from big company alliances and individual expansions. While companies like Samsung, Intel, and Cisco have united around the Open Interconnect Consortium, individual corporations like Apple and Google are beginning to make headway on their own API projects.

In order for the IoT to work, every device pair must have identical network standards. Without matching protocols, individual objects won’t be able to communicate. For example, in order to play music from a smartphone through a Bluetooth speaker, the phone must connect to the device over Bluetooth, and not through Wi-Fi. This can get far more complicated than just the internet connection. In addition to network standards like Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi, there are also application and security standards that must also be identical. Two devices that run on Wi-Fi still can’t work together if one runs on the Apple HomeKit protocol and the other is designed for Works with Nest.

Inevitably, the jumble of standards has drawn all sorts of lines in the sand as far as companies developing for the IoT are concerned. This process has begun to follow a similar mess that occurred with the development of radio-frequency identification (RFID). It took 15 years to develop a common protocol for the RFID market, because of competing corporate interests.

Without standards, there is no possibility for interoperability, but it is important that companies work together to come up with fewer, more universal standards. Reducing the amount of these protocols opens up more avenues for product developers, and allows the consumer more product choice, rather than having to be selective based on the protocols they are already using in their home.

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10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Interoperability and Security

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 2, 2015 6:21:26 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in AllJoyn, AllSeen Alliance, Apple, business, cloud apps, end-to-end solutions, ETSI, General, Google, HomeKit, IETF, Internet of Things, internet standards, interoperability, IoT, IoT solutions, IoT space, IoT standards, manufacturers, Microsoft, Nest, protocols, Samsung, security, security threats, Sony, Telecom, Thread, White Papers

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9. Interoperability

As more manufacturers enable their products for the IoT, consumers will be introduced to many different cloud applications due to lack of cooperation between difference devices and companies. This is where the emerging IoT standards can help. Device manufacturers who support these standards will be able to ensure their products will be able to work and communicate with other manufacturers’ products that support the same protocols. This makes operating many IoT-enabled devices together much more simple and convenient. This also opens up new business opportunities by allowing for new features that the original manufacturers never dreamed of. For example, interoperability means that one day it might be possible for a consumer to simply say, “good night, house” to their app, and the app will programmatically turn-off all of the main house lights, TV’s and appliances and turn on the outside lighting, set the alarm clock for the morning and set the coffee pot to start brewing when the sun rises. In this example, each device could be from a different manufacturer, but since they all support the same standard, the application knows how to talk to them all and create new service offerings.

Some of the emerging interoperability standards include: Thread (supported by the likes of Google/Nest, Samsung and more), HomeKit (supported by Apple), AllJoyn (supported by Microsoft and Sony, part of the AllSeen Alliance), IETF (an internet standards body) and ETSI (a European-based standards organization – primarily in Telecom). The standards landscape is changing rapidly and manufacturers need to adapt their products to work with these standards as they are consolidated and settled in the future.

10. Security

Building a secure IoT-enabled device comes at a cost. As the IoT continues to grow, there is an increasing focus on its security and how safe the claims of end-to-end solutions really are. While security threats in the news have scared away some manufacturers and consumers from entering the IoT space, others view it as an opportunity for added value to their products. Implementing high-cost security into every product a company has is ideal, however not very economical. Manufacturers must find proper security for each of their IoT solutions while keeping costs down for them and their end-user.

This process must start at the time of a product's conception. Proper due-diligence is required from each manufacturer to find a way to secure their devices, protect their consumer and ultimately, the rest of the IoT world as well.

10IOTDESIGNCONSIDERATIONS_BANNER

>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at iot@gridconnect.com.

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Apple Emerges As A Promising Internet Of Things Platform At CES 2015

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 9, 2015 9:34:50 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Apple, CES 2015, ConnectSense, connectsense, Events, Featured In, General, Grid Connect, HomeKit, Internet of Things, IoT, Las Vegas, smart outlet, tech, technology, Wireless

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The whole “Internet of Things” theme reached a fever pitch at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. Many of the big tech players are trying to become the platform for how to connect together the growing list of devices with wireless technology inside of them–everything from your car to your thermostat.

Apple stopped officially exhibiting at CES back in 1992, but you could find the first batch of devices that are HomeKit certified, which is Apple’s protocol it announced last June for making smart home devices working safely and securely in iOS.

There were quite a “smart outlets” that basically allow you to control an outlet through your Apple product from iHOME, Incipio, GridConnect and iDevices.

Read more at Forbes or download the PDF now.

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Grid Connect Introduces Wi-Fi Enabled ConnectSense Smart Outlet With Apple HomeKit Integration

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 5, 2015 6:20:27 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Apple, Apple HomeKit, ConnectSense, connectsense, General, Grid Connect, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Press Releases, Siri, smart outlet, ZigBee

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ConnectSense Smart Outlet Will Be Showcased at CES 2015

NAPERVILLE, IL--(Marketwired - Jan 5, 2015) - A new connected outlet that integrates with Apple HomeKit is now available for pre-order from Grid Connect. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet features two Internet-connected electrical sockets that enable users to control devices plugged into them using Siri on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

The Smart Outlet plugs into any standard North American electrical outlet, and enables users to automate their home easily by setting up rules, notifications and schedules. The Smart Outlet gives users greater command over their environment by allowing them to control and monitor just about any device that plugs in, including lights, heat, fans, air conditioners, televisions, coffee machines, dishwashers, ovens, washing machines/dryers and many other household devices. For example, parents can make TV viewing or video games off limits until a specified time; homeowners can program the house lights to turn on when the garage door opens; and the washer and dryer can notify homeowners when laundry is complete.

Integration with Apple HomeKit technology provides quick and powerful access to control smart outlets anywhere in the home via Siri. This allows for control over both individual and groups of devices, as well as allowing interaction with other HomeKit-enabled products from many different manufacturers.

The ConnectSense Smart Outlet is the first device to include Wi-Fi, which allows the Smart Outlet to communicate with other smart devices and battery-powered sensors. Other features that make the Smart Outlet unique include:

  • Easy Wi-Fi set up and simple programming of rules and notifications.
  • Dual electrical sockets so users can make the most of their available outlets.
  • HomeKit integration so users can group together with other HomeKit-enabled devices, providing an easy, secure way to control your home's lights, doors, thermostats, and more from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • USB charging port that supports rapid charging.

The ConnectSense Smart Outlet is available now for pre-order at www.connectsense.com/preorder, and will ship in the first quarter of 2015. Priced at $79.95, the ConnectSense Smart Outlet offers tremendous value compared to other smart plugs, as it includes a dual plug, a USB charger outlet, HomeKit support to communicate with other sensors. By comparison, the cost of two smart plugs from competitors, as well as additional USB chargers, would easily cost $130 or more.

The ConnectSense Smart Outlet will be showcased at CES 2015, Booth 75626 in the Eureka Park area, January 6-9 in Las Vegas.

About Grid Connect 
Grid Connect (www.GridConnect.com), an ISO 9001:2008 company, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of products that enable the Internet of Things, including the ConnectSense line of wireless sensors. Grid Connect can be found on Twitter @GridConnect and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/grid-connect. ConnectSense can be found at www.ConnectSense.com and on Twitter @connectsense

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IoT/M2M Will Continue to be the Most Hyped Technology in 2015, Says Grid Connect

[fa icon='calendar'] Dec 10, 2014 9:11:19 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 2015, Apple, connected car, Featured In, Gartner, General, Google, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, M2M, machine to machine, New Year, New Year's, Policy Charging Control, Thread

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It’s official: the Internet of Things (IoT) is the most hyped technology of 2014.

In August, analyst group Gartner released its 2014 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report, and IoT replaced big data at the top. The ability to connect and control smart devices remotely via the Internet will reach its final stage of maturity in just five to 10 years, according to Gartner’s analysts, much quicker than they imagined just a few short years ago.

Building on the growth of IoT in 2014, the new year will see even more explosive growth and innovation. Here are a few of my predictions for 2015...

Read more at Policy Charging Control or download the PDF now.

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