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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IoT Design Considerations: Interoperability

[fa icon='calendar'] Oct 7, 2015 2:44:32 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, AllJoyn, AllSeen, ETSI, General, HomeKit, IETF, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, Thread

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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 home automation 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.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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The IoT in 2025

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 24, 2015 1:33:19 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Ecosystems, General, home automation, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT

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When we talk about the future, wandering minds drift toward watery visions of flying cars, personal robots, and hover boards where all work is banished by fully automated technology. I tend to picture this kind of future a bit more like Wall-E: humans as a race of fat sluggish incompetents surrounded by an entirely preset system. Thankfully this vision just doesn’t line up with reality.

The Internet of Things (IoT) in its current state is almost a tongue-in-cheek phrase representing the market for connected devices. Familiarity with smartphones that connect to the internet has sparked all sorts of new devices with similar compatibilities. These devices range from shades that sense the heat and direction of the sun, adjusting accordingly, to the already-standard Nest thermostat. What makes this technology unique is a dual-compatibility to “sense” its surroundings and to connect to the internet.

That is today. When we look at the future of the IoT, we need to take into account our world’s culture values. Technology is driven by what consumers want, but most people don’t really want to end up with how Wall-E depicts automation of experience rather than of environment. No one wants their computer to pick how they are going to dress. What they would like is a computer capable of  presenting all their options, helping them find what they are looking for, placing an order, and delivering the package. The concern comes when looking at automating joyful activities: think of a computer taking over the technical joy of sailing, biking, writing, playing an instrument, etc. It’s a horrible thought. People don’t want to automate enjoyable difficulties.

Opening up the concept of the IoT, we discover that as time goes on, this technology should become, in a sense, less noticeable. As the design and technology behind the products becomes more powerful, homes will connect automatically in the background and every device will be infused with a sense of awareness. Picture waking up on a beautiful day, your shower’s temperature is set right where you like it, shades open automatically when you wake  to let in the sun and you can hear the coffee maker beginning to brew downstairs. This is all set by a chain of events which will become even more subtle and seamless as time goes on. At some point, the house should even be able to recognize special days throughout the week and year and make change the environment accordingly. Other environments will be updated in a similar manner: restaurants will know what you ordered last time and waiters will be able to offer suggestions based on your past choices; and grocery shopping will be triggered by they way you read the recipe logged on your phone and direct you to the aisles. Simply put, every electronic device will have some level of human awareness. Products will fit into a greater web of connectivity, providing for simple transitions between the appliances that we use every day.

The Internet of Things is just the modern preliminary to the modern ecosystem, where objects are bound together in a way that promotes automation while preserving the activities you love.

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Place Your Vote for Adam's Smart Home Panel at SxSW 2016!

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 14, 2015 8:11:56 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Adam Justice, AllJoyn, August, Brillo, connectsense, Ecobee, Events, General, Grid Connect, HomeKit, Internet of Things, Internet of Things Consortium, interoperability, IoT, Jason Johnson, Mark Spates, OIC, panel picker, smart homes, smart house, Stuart Lombard, SxSW, Weave

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Adam Justice, VP of Grid Connect and Founder of ConnectSense needs your help!

Adam, as well as a few other big players in the smart home industry, have submitted a panel proposal for for the 2016 South by Southwest® Music, Film, and Interactive Conferences (SxSW) called "A smart house divided against itself cannot stand" and needs your vote!

Please visit http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/47138 and give their panel proposal the "thumbs up!" Each vote gets Adam and his fellow IoT thought-leaders closer to being able to present their smart home discussion at this year's SxSW.

Voting ends Friday, September 4th! For more information and to vote now, click here!

More information...

A smart house divided against itself cannot stand

There is a significant barrier to the Internet of Things. Current products are split by competing standards on the market, creating problems for the interoperability of devices in the home. The question is... who will come out on top? HomeKit, Brillo/Weave, AllJoyn, and OIC are all bursting out with big promises. This session will dive into the differences between these standards, picking apart their individual performances apart from the marketed platform. Manufacturers are dependent upon these standards as stages for the interoperability of their products. Our group is comprised of IoT executives who understand what it’s like to work with standards on getting a product out the door.

Questions Answered

  1. Amongst standards like HomeKit, Brillo/Weave, AllJoyn, OIC and more who will come out on top and emerge as the dominant standard in the smart home?
  2. How will the elimination and consolidation of standards affect the market for IoT devices and what is still needed to drive the industry forward?
  3. What is the role of manufacturers and consumers in developing our future as it relates to connected technology?

Speakers

Voting ends Friday, September 4th! For more information and to vote now, click here!

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Marketing and the Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 10, 2015 1:46:05 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in General, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, Marketing

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The Internet of Things (IoT) promotes the ability for marketers to engage with data on a level that has been unprecedented up until this point. Increased connectivity through devices will result in much more information about how the consumer relates to the product. The feedback will inevitably allow marketing departments to understand the relationships between customer and product more clearly, paving the way for more dynamic strategies. In the future, marketing campaigns will focus on individual customers’ buying habits, budgets and desires, making the buying process more streamlined.

Check out this Infographic for more details: http://theabbiagency.com/power-of-the-internet-of-things-connectivity-for-better-interactivity-infographic/

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The Dangers of Protocol Overkill

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 22, 2015 9:36:32 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Adam Justice, Customer Experience, General, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, M2M, protocols, standards

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Standards in the Internet of Things (IoT) are the platform by which devices can communicate. This provides a language for devices to speak in order for them to recognize one another and work in unison. Unfortunately, in recent years, corporate agendas have overshadowed the ideal consumer experience by infusing the market with an overload of protocols, creating a significant barrier to the interoperability of devices in the smart ecosystem.

Adam Justice talks more about this issue and possible solutions here: http://embedded-computing.com/guest-blogs/a-solution-for-standards-overload/

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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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Join Us at Internet of Things World 2015!

[fa icon='calendar'] Apr 27, 2015 8:57:48 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in appliance manufacturers, business, California, connected home, consumer IoT, Events, General, home automations, Industrial IoT, Internet of Things, Internet of Things World, interoperability, IoT, IoT event, IoT standards, IoT World, monetizing the IoT, platform providers, QoS, San Fransisco, smart home

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When:
 May 12-13, 2015
Where: Moscone Center - San Francisco, CA
Booth #: 312
Silver Sponsor

Internet of Things World 2015 is the world’s largest and most comprehensive IoT event -  with over 4,000 attendees, 275+ industry thought leaders and 150+ exhibitors. With a focus on monetizing the IoT revolution through bringing together ecosystem wide attendees, stakeholders and investors, Internet of Things World is a unique opportunity to promote your IoT message right in the heartland of IoT development.

2014 was an important year for IoT with huge opportunities of this technology firmly being realized. Accenture’s late 2014 report predicts that 69% of consumers plan to buy an in-home device by 2019, reaffirming that consumer adoption of connected technology is on the rise.

In 2015,  the tremendous excitement around IoT is now bearing fruit in terms of concrete products and services. Now is the time to bring together the entire ecosystem in order to assess the commercial opportunities, to highlight the key challenges hindering IoT and to assess the range of solutions available to create a sustainable future for IoT.

The 2nd annual Internet of Things World is the only independent business event dedicated to IoT. It assesses the key horizontal challenges affecting the range of vertical markets while also featuring dedicated tracks looking at industry-specific issues.

Internet of Things World is brought to you by Informa Telecoms & Media, the world’s leading provider of events in the communications market place.

Conference Website: http://iotworldevent.com

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Panel Discussion: Bringing together the array of industry players in the Smart Home
When: May 13, 2015, 5pm-5:30pm

  • Ensuring sustainable business models for interaction and interoperability
  • How can/should appliance manufacturers, platform providers & other key players work together effectively?
  • Who are the key players that will drive the future Connected Home?
  • How to ensure usability and QoS?
  • Who are setting the standards?
  • How can carriers step into home automation markets?
  • Highlighting the latest standardizations development
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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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Thread Group Membership Grows To More Than 50 Companies

[fa icon='calendar'] Dec 16, 2014 10:01:55 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Featured In, General, Grid Connect, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, Nest, networking protocol, Press Releases, security, smart home, Thread, Thread Group, Thread protocol, UL, wireless networking

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SAN RAMON, Calif. - Dec. 16, 2014 - The Thread Group (www.threadgroup.org) - an industry alliance chartered with guiding the widespread adoption of Thread, the new IP-based low-power wireless networking protocol designed specifically for the home, announced today that it has grown to more than 50 members since membership opened up on Oct 1st. Additionally, the Thread Group will work with UL to perform testing and certification to ensure a high-quality user experience, as well as interoperability and security across products using Thread.

The newest Thread Group members include: ATMEL®, California Eastern Laboratories, Inc., CamPoint, Energizer® Holdings, Inc., GainSpan Corporation, Granite River Labs, Grid Connect, Imagination Technologies, Insteon®, Intellihot Green Technologies Inc., iOT Tech, Jasco®, Keen Home, Kwikset, leakSMART, Linx Technologies, LUX Technology Group, Marvell Technology Group Ltd., Midea Group, Nanoleaf, NET2GRID, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Proximetry, Inc., SALTO SYSTEMS, Sansa Security, Shenzhen Rakwireless Technology Co., Ltd, Skyley Networks, Inc., Stack Lighting, Telegesis, TÜV Rheinland Group, Tyco, UL, Whirlpool Corporation, WigWag Inc, ZONEFIRST®.

Read the full press release from the Thread Group by clicking here.

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