Basic Elements of a Platform For Smart Home
Born to Empower, Platform Benefits All Players in Smart Home Arena
Interoperability of things is achieved via several layers of connections, and integration with third-party services and products is essential in the formation of a platform.
The networking of connectivity comprises of several layers. To integrate devices which adopt various communication protocols, a plat form that is able to provide IoT connectivity is usually built on a gateway which connects to a hub/router and Internet.
Connections under specific protocols between end devices and mobile devices can also be built via embedded software modules . Some platform developers have collaborated with SoC providers by embedding their own software on SoCs which would be plugged into devices and gateways.
Bill Tsai, Product Manager of ThroughTek, describes the advantages of a modular solution, “we integrate software and hardware by adding our solution onto the chips, and our plat form can directly communicate with devices that have our solution inside and activate the backend cloud applications.”
The collaboration between iDevices and Broadcom provides another example o f how modular solution facilitates connectivity with efficiency. “As for our Broadcom-based Bluetooth module (Broadcom do the chip, and we do the software stack), it enables Bluetooth Smart functionality to product s and makes it easier for customers to achieve integration,” says Christopher Allen, CEO of iDevices.
Flexibility as a Service
As for services of a cloud platform, they are often offered in a modular way as well. By providing these services in a modular way, a platform provider can thus meet the needs of different verticals. In the case of ThroughTek’s Kalay platform illustrated by Tsai, “a client can decide what services he would like to host by putting the relevant modules on his own server. Then he can start his own business as a service provider.”
These cloud services may include device management, bandwidth management, data collection and analysis, storage, OTA upgrade , M2M/P2P server, account management, authentication, billing system, media streaming, etc.
Depending on the specialties of platforms and specific customer needs, advanced functions may be added, such as Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS), facial recognition or smart data streaming.
There is no such a company who can create a platform with services suitable for all verticals all by itself. According to CSide, the global platform provider for several telcos, the partnerships with hardware makers are essential and always welcomed. “CSide works with different hardware manufacturers to integrate a wide range of easy-to-install sensors and accessories. By regularly adding new sensors to the existing intelligent platform, CSide continues to enable the introduction of new features for customers,” says Miguel Braga da Costa, Project Manager of CSide.
Icontrol continues to enhance its smart home solutions by partnering with other hardware professionals through Icontrol’s OpenHome Certification program. “Our targeted partners are hardware makers who can provide innovative connected devices that can interoperate with others devices on Icontrol’s open platform, allowing consumers to develop a fully customizable smart home experience,” says Greg Roberts, VP of Marketing at Icontrol Networks.
Daniel Schellhoss, Managing Director & Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing of ProSyst, also emphasizes Prosyst’s capability to form partnerships with main players in this industry. “ProSyst has formed alliances with some of the leading players in their respective fields in order to offer complete solutions for any Internet of Things project, including semiconductor manufacturers , gateway vendors, service providers, third party software companies, smart home solutions providers and prime integrators.”
Besides, Raylios has recognized the potentials in the “Maker” market and has taken initiatives by partnering with open source communities. “We’ve ported our SDK to RaspBerry Pi I and II. Next step we expect to approach Arduino and Linkit Community,” says Ray Yu, CTO of Raylios.
Since the impor tance of collaboration is underlined, platform developers would provide third parties with tools which facilitate integrations, such as SDK and API.
For instance, iDevices, as a part of Apple’s Homekit ecosystem, welcomes partners by providing SDK and standard applications that help them create their own Homekit solutions; Prosyst also provides partners with the ProSyst mBS Smart Home SDK, which simplifies the integration process and allows partners to develop, customize and expand their solutions or applications.
On top of that, the utilization of open source technologies is another trend worth to note. “Open platforms technologies, such as OIC and Allseen, can be very helpful in con
necting devices in local network. We can leverage their specialty and focus on the development of our own cloud services,” says Ray.