Internet of Things is being continously predected to be the „next big thing” by multiple analyst firms – according to Gartner, we will reach 16.8 million devices by 2020 – and this stands to multiple reasons. Day by day, consumers are buying devices capable of being part of a system like that – switchable electronic devices, smart tools, wearables, classic machines with smart functions – integrating them to a common network is just the next step for the global market.
A huge part of this could one day work together effectively, and that is the real value they could provide. That is the reason why smart home systems could play a key role in the commercial IoT industry’s future. Integrating all the devices are the most important initiative, and a lot of great companies – besides NEON Smart Home- are working on making it possible.
In any perspective, these systems are created and developed to help people in their everyday lives. From the long history of these solutions, the main goal of them were to examine where and how could technology help in the daily routine of the widest possible range of people.
To understand this process as a whole, let’s just quickly go through the main categories of an IoT system. The group of nodes is both the most significant in quantitative and commercial terms. This group contains all the devices which are controlled in the network, in some cases this group includes sensor and interpreter devices as well, to avoid any duplications. These are the money-makers in the IoT industry. Switches, beacons, smart tools, household machines, basically the consumable hardware itself.
However, the controller is the most important stakeholder for the companies, that sell: if your controller is popular and trusted on a market, you are the one to sell the nodes easily. Controllers are mainly built up from hardware and software components developed together, mostly called „hubs”, or „routers” on the consumer market. That aside, controllers can be remote as well – with cloud servers and local gateways, there is a possibility of eliminating local hardware – but at the moment, this scenario creates the most dangerous loopholes in such a system.
THE SO-CALLED "NODES" IN A HOUSEHOLD
An infographic way of presenting IoT smart home systems
The topic of cloud servers brings us to swictch category to the controlled network itself. This is mainly the thoughest part to handle during a system’s development and testing phase. A secure communication protocol leads to bigger-sized messages, which then need huge amount of resources to maintain continous connection between the stake-holders. For industrial usage, still only wired solutions could come up to scratch in terms of reliability. Wireless networks, such as Wi-Fi, the also 2,4 Ghz frequency ZigBee protocol, Bluetooth and Z-Wave are all in the race of global domination, but none of them yet could be predicted as a winner.
Standard Wi-Fi is a great option from integration perspective, but the limited number of installable devices, and the lack of ability of the sign to go through walls drops it out of the competiotion and justifies the other systems.
Also, integration is not only possible on WLAN and LAN level. It can happen in the cloud as well. There are great initiatives for integrating home IoT solutions with eachother only on server communication level, with the provided common API-s connecting to the same platform. Our solution is able to connect to any kind of Z-Wave device on hardware level, and we are planning integration with IFTTT and Apple Homekit, to make our future users as happy as possible. Since we just arrived to the topic of making users happy… let’s see how we are trying to do that!