Networking & Communications

Consumers want Smart Systems Not Smart Things

January 8, 2016 By: Cees Links, GreenPeak

Sensors Insights by Cees Links

Many in the sensor industry are wondering why consumers are not jumping on the Smart Home bandwagon. Despite the many predictions of a totally automated home within a few years, the end users are not clamoring for Smart Homes? Why?

There are a couple of reasons. One is that the companies that actually design, develop and manufacture sensor and smart devices are confused by the ever changing and conflicting status of Smart Home and IoT connectivity standards. A couple years ago, it was simple. Wi-Fi was for networking devices with AC power, Bluetooth was for devices that were wearable, for replacing cables or for connecting smart phones, and ZigBee was for networking low power, low data rate for sensor devices that ran on batteries. However, over the last couple of years, the market has gotten very complicated for device developers.

Numerous large companies have developed their own connectivity "standards" that they have decided should be the standard for the Smart Home. In addition, various consortiums and industry groups have emerged saying the same thing, that their technology is the connectivity technology that should be the base for all Smart Home industry. This pits Apple against Intel and its friends against Qualcomm and its friends against Google and its ecosystem. All of them are now battling against Wi-Fi, ZigBee and Bluetooth.

All of the platforms and standards basically do the same thing. They connect sentrollers, which are sensor devices, controllers and actuators, to each other and the internet. Each of these groups are battling with millions of dollars of marketing money to be THE ONE. No wonder sensor and device makers don't know which way to go.

The second reason the market is slow to develop is that the consumers don't really want things, they want solutions. Aside from the so-called early innovators and DIYers, most people don't want to fuss with a Smart Home system. They don't want to have to research the various sensors, hubs, cloud intelligence options, connectivity standards, etc. They don't want to figure out how and where to install the sensors. They don't want to go through the pain of manually configuring the devices and make them to connect to their internet gateways to get access over the web.

They simply want to turn it on and have it work. They want a service that they can use to automate and to manage their home, their security, and their environment. Instead of being a do it yourself project, this solution would be marketed, installed, and managed by the companies that already deliver digital and connectivity services to the home, i.e., the various telecom, internet service, and cable companies.

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About the Author: Cees Links

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