Once synonymous with the kind of futuristic gadgets that brought James Bond’s penthouse to life, smart home technology is undergoing a more mainstream makeover.
Driving an increasingly digitalized and intuitive approach to how we live, the sector is expected to be worth a total volume of 4.1 billion by 2017 as solutions flood in from a growing number of industry players keen to stake their claim.
From sensors that “know” how we like our kettle boiled to the thermostat you can control from your smartphone, it’s the kind of technology that enhances control, convenience and security while reducing energy costs.
Yet the momentum comes with a sting in the tail. The proliferation of solutions available has muddied the waters in terms of what exactly qualifies as true smart technology with a growing number laying claim to the status, despite in some cases, offering little more than basic automation.
Indeed to truly justify the label, a depth of connectivity and integration that permeates the entire offering is required, something which is not quite so commonplace.
It’s an approach in evidence through TIBCO Software’s partnership with the German-Swiss smart home technology specialist digitalSTROM, where a fusion of innovation is stimulating a raft of new opportunities in this space. A fully integrated smart home ecosystem, which enables owners to take a more measured and proactive stance to the management of their homes is the result. Powered by a vision to become the standard living solution across 280 million homes in Europe, digitalSTROM’s ambition is being quickly realized.
At the heart of the company’s offering is a patented terminal block. The size of a Lego brick, it packs a serious punch and, thanks to the integrated chip inside, enables all electrical appliances from lights, shades, consumer electronics, IP devices, and doorbells to be connected and transformed into an IoT device.
Applicable for use with existing as well as new builds, all devices, including every light switch, can interact and connect into one flexible network, as well as to the internet. With the homeowner able to install new applications as and when required, this transformative technology is crucially affordable and accessible and scalable.
As all major appliances respond intuitively to one another in real time, the result is a home that quite simply takes on a new lease of life, bolstered by multitasking abilities, which also means you get more bang for your buck. From the doorbell that acts as a fire alarm or prompts a video-streaming service playlist to stop, a tweet that alerts you to the end of the washing cycle to lights that flicker when the kettle boils or dim as the television is turned on, the capabilities are diverse and far reaching.
Powering the technology is TIBCO’s cloud-based Fast Data platform which in essence, connects the home to the cloud. The extensive actionable data generated is integrated and analyzed to inform and coordinate, so that the right commands are executed across the multitude of complex processes with unprecedented speed, agility, and reliability.
By harnessing this analytical supremacy, a level of insight is uncovered that ensures the homeowner is always one step ahead, primed to react to situational changes.
A notable example is in relation to the weather. Some 8,000 data observations made from airplanes, 120 radio probes, and 1,000 wind readings which measure temperature, air pressure, and humidity, can be collated by the platform to ascertain whether a hail storm is imminent in the region. This in turn will trigger the appropriate response needed to safe proof the property, such as the automatic retraction of blinds and shutters.
As well as receiving and acting on commands the appliances can then start “talking,” transmitting data and facilitating an exchange of information, which informs future actions. From scanning a barcode to see whether a light bulb in store is compatible with the lamp at home to alerts that highlight when a TV warranty is set to expire, guess work and any nasty surprises are removed.
And it doesn’t stop there—smart home technology is an ever-changing beast and we are on the cusp of entering new territory that will take intuitive living to even greater heights. The transformative potential of kinetic energy is looming ever closer, with its ability to influence and instruct a range of devices by sensing the behavior and gestures of the homeowner.
Speed is and will remain of the essence, from a flick of a switch to the touch of a smartphone button, and our fast-evolving homes demand the fastest of data to accommodate and respond to technical developments and market demands as they arise. It’s why digitalSTROM and TIBCO are such good neighbors in this particular home revolution.