As Smart Home Solution Adoption Explodes, Service Providers Seek Simplicity and Scale

By Matthew Vulpis July 19, 2021

The collapse of the housing market in North America in 2008, driven in large part by the near-collapse of the economy, is now in the rearview mirror. The market today is healthy and evolving, responding to the impact of COVID-19 in America’s largest cities, which is driving up the prices of luxury homes in the suburbs and more affordable housing for those looking to leave small, cramped apartments and work remotely from larger, affordable apartments as remote working becomes more acceptable to certain businesses.

While we are entering into an inflationary phase, the economy is stabilizing at the same time as very sophisticated smart building technologies, including IoT, voice-activated assistants, remote home monitoring, and more, become more affordable and powerful.

We are moving well beyond original deployments (in smart commercial buildings, hotels, hospitals, and public venues), and today, industry experts are predicting transformational growth of smart home solutions, sold to consumers by their cable companies or their architects and interior designers, or by the manufacturers of devices like the popular “Ring” doorbell, Amazon “Alexa,” Google “Nest” and others.

Smartphone and tablet apps make monitoring and control much easier and more valuable as connected home technology can be remotely accessed and managed.

Technologies like Bluetooth, GSM, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, RFID, and ULE can be used to send signals to control the devices.

What do consumers want? Simplicity – and preferable a single system with multiple devices and services that can be controlled by their smartphones or tablets.

In modern homes, devices including video cameras, lighting, HVAC, smart TVs, sound systems, washing machines, and other smart appliances can be turned on or off, providing the controlling device can receive a signal.

This not only makes homes more livable and pleasant but also greener, safer, and more secure.

We caught up with Avner Ziv, CEO of Cloud of Things, an IoT edge and cloud company with gateways or “hubs” that bring that single-point-of-communications to solutions that can support any number of edge devices across all networking and compute protocols, to find out what he is seeing in the market.

“While user acceptance is important, the two factors that have slowed adoption by service and solution providers have been cost and complexity,” Ziv said. “With such a variety of sensors and applications, deciding how to put together a bundle of smart home or smart business solutions can be overwhelming. We’re seeing results when the solution is unified – easy to install – easy to use – easy to manage.”

Ziv said the obvious benefits associated with smart environments are not difficult to understand, but that the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) has been a puzzle until now.

“With utility companies leading the way with smart meters,” Ziv said, “the understanding of benefits, including reduce energy consumption and save substantially on utility bills, has come into the public domain. For those who sell and manage the solutions, one of the biggest puzzles has been how does this economically makes sense? Should they give the devices away and charge a monthly subscription for the main service, with additional applications available on their marketplace to grow ARPU?”

There is ongoing research being conducted by analyst firms and enterprises to identify and build new products and services that will reduce costs in very clear ways while also making life simply more convenient.

“As adoption goes up, and word of mouth starts to really kick in over the next year or two, we can expect to see price wars and competitive business models,” Ziv said. “With the rising cost of energy, changing expectations by luxury consumers looking to buy homes which have state-of-the-art connected solutions, and the next generation of renters and buyers who grew up with smartphones and apps, this is going to become not only a very large market but a very competitive market.”

In addition to smart homes, Ziv explained that their “MonitorZ” solution for SMB locations addresses a lot of the needs of business owners. “This local and distributed offering enables service providers, including telecom, cable, and mobile operators, to deliver to their business customers real-time visibility into their business environment and equipment telemetry.”

Among the specialized applications? Ozone sterilization levels, refrigeration temperature alerts, water leaks, rising humidity levels, inconsistent oven performance.  

“Whether the business customer has one or two locations or supports a franchise operation with hundreds of shops across a wide geography, being able to monitor and manage means saving money, ensuring health compliance, reducing energy, and delivering a more pleasing guest experience.”

Cloud of Things announced this week that they have partnered with DSP Group (DSPG) to bring to market a fully managed DeviceTone IoT cloud and edge ULE gateway.

“We selected DSPG’s ULE module for many good reasons, among the opportunity for solution and service providers to ‘land and expand’ whether their deployments are in smart homes, smart offices, smart hospitals, schools, factories, and any indoor or outdoor space where security and energy management are valued.”

ULE stands for Ultra-Low Energy and is a proven and reliable, low-power wireless technology whose technical specifications enable simple, reliable, and cost-effective networking for homes and other

Edited by Luke Bellos
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