I’m an IoT addict. There, I said it. That’s the first step of recovery, right? Thanks to a generous son, Christmas started a new obsession – controlling and connecting our home. It started with one Belkin WEMO light switch and an Amazon TAP. Before you know it, lights now turn on and off all around the house with a verbal command. My NEST thermostat can be adjusted with a tap of the screen on my phone and automatically turns down the heat when my wife and I both leave the house. Music and news stream from anyone of thousands of sources and live radio with a voice command from our Amazon Echo. The garage door alerts me that it has been left open after 6 PM. It all seems too good to be true.
But there are lurking issues. First, almost all of these wiz-bang IoT devices are silos and only loosely integrated. My Amazon Alexa account, can control the WEMO lighting and some basic temperature control of my NEST, but has no integration with my garage door. It seems that each manufacturer has their own vision and API – often with their own mobile app. You end up with three or four apps on you mobile, a collection of Alexa skills and a stack of username and passwords to keep straight. Needless to say, if I get hit by a bus, nobody would be able to untangle how this house works.
It’s cool, but also pretty fragile. The whole system depends on our consumer-grade WiFi in the house, which I had to upgrade with additional access points and a repeater to make sure that a solid and stable signal was available in the far reaches of the house. The littlest hick-up and devices will just “stop talking”, requiring a power-cycle to regain connectivity. Last I checked, my router has 32 DHCP IP address and associated devices in the house. Computers, Amazon Echo, WEMO switches, iPhones and the list goes on and on. Managing the WiFi, all the devices and various IoT devices does seem to be an weakness to the whole connected home concept. I like to pretend I know my way around a router and WiFi networks, but this is a potential disaster for Joe Consumer.
It just so happens that I just got a peak at a potential cure with a new concept application that our Dialogic Application Lab put together, focused on the connected home, managing IoT devices and networks. Envisioned to be part of a “connected home” offer by cable and wireline service providers, it would integrate the various IoT devices, using open APIs and manage the underlying network. We’ll be showing our connected home IoT concept application as part of our demonstration this next week at Mobile World Congress in booth 6B62. If you are planning to be at the event, be sure to stop by – you can be part of my support group.