Imagine a fridge which sends you an alert on your phone if its door is not closed properly, an induction hob which allows you to remotely control cooking, a watch which checks your health and your sleep, or a light bulb which analyzes the air quality or monitors your home when you are away. This may sound like science fiction.

However most of these objects are already available in the very dynamic market of connected objects, a new section of the digital economy. The majority are upgrades to existing products that could not previously connect, but are now linked to the Internet or a mobile device. Smart meters, lighting systems and heating are the most promising services, along with security and surveillance systems. Most household objects will be connected in the future. They will exchange information with smartphones and tablets which will be used to control them and collect data from them, as well as interacting with each other via smart hubs which will manage the various home automation systems and connected objects to coordinate their functioning.

THE HUB AT THE HEART OF THE SMART HOME

Homes have become smarter in recent years thanks to home automation systems and connected objects, opening the garage door, for example, when your presence is detected in the drive. For a house to be truly “smart”, however, interconnections need to be created between these different devices. This will be made possible by the hub at the heart of the home. This means that when you enter the drive, not only will your garage door open but the lights will switch on, your thermostat will turn on your central heating and your coffee machine could even prepare you a welcoming drink.

“A TRULY SMART HOME IS DEFINED BY THIS INTERCONNECTIVITY BETWEEN DIFFERENT DEVICES AND THE POSSIBILITY OF CONFIGURING INTERACTIONS BASED ON RULES SUCH AS ‘IF THIS EVENT HAPPENS, THEN THAT ACTION SHOULD OCCUR”, SAYS JAMES KING, SVP GLOBAL SALES WITH OT’S CONNECTED DEVICE MAKERS BUSINESS.

Smart homes are already a reality, as demonstrated by the Nest range of smart thermostats from Google, which can act as hubs, or by the launch of dedicated hubs such as Samsung’s SmartThings Hub. The definition of standards in this field is also facilitating the roll-out of smart homes so that any manufacturer can now offer smart devices or services compatible with hubs using these standards.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES

This smart home trend not only improves users’ experience but also allows manufacturers to develop new revenue generation models based on a range of services rather than just the sale of products. It also provides them with an opportunity to collect data on the use of their products in order to improve them.

“WE ARE NOW ALSO SEEING A NUMBER OF LARGE AUTOMOTIVE COMPANIES, SUCH AS MERCEDES, ELECTRONICS COMPANIES LIKE SAMSUNG AND SONY, AND LOCK MANUFACTURERS SUCH AS YALE, LAUNCHING SMART AND CONNECTED VERSIONS OF THEIR PRODUCTS. EVENTUALLY, ALL MANUFACTURERS WILL NEED TO OFFER SMART VERSIONS OF THEIR PRODUCTS IF THEY WANT TO KEEP THEIR PLACE ON THE MARKET” , ADDS JAMES KING.

A VIRTUAL DOOR OPEN TO CYBER-CRIME?

In 2015, a hacker made headlines in the geek press by demonstrating that he could transform a connected fridge into a spam server, drawing the attention of the general public and companies in the sector to the vital need to consider the impact of this new connectivity on the security of individuals and their tangible and intangible property. Once devices become involved in the security of the home and its occupants, whether in the form of smart locks or an intercom allowing you to see who is at the door and respond via your smartphone, even when you are not at home, it is crucial to anticipate risks. Security is also a major challenge when it comes to sending sensitive information from the house, such as meter readings or images from surveillance cameras.

Apart from the objects themselves, another security challenge is associated with the connection hubs used to link and control all connected objects and the home via a single entry point.

“CREATING A VIRTUAL DOOR TO ACCESS EVERYTHING CONNECTED IN THE HOME COULD POTENTIALLY ALLOW HACKERS TO ACCESS YOUR PERSONAL DATA, INTERCEPT YOUR METER READINGS OR IMAGES FROM YOUR SECURITY CAMERAS AND EVEN PHYSICALLY ENTER YOUR HOME BY ACTIVATING LOCKS OR ELECTRIC SHUTTERS. FAILURE TO SERIOUSLY ADDRESS THE SECURITY OF THESE CONNECTIONS WILL NOT ONLY ENDANGER USERS, BUT A WHOLE ECONOMIC SECTOR, WHICH CAN ONLY FUNCTION IF CONSUMERS HAVE ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE IN THE CAPACITY OF ALL PARTICIPANTS IN THE ECOSYSTEM TO OFFER SECURE, LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS” EXPLAINS JAMES KING.

TURNKEY SOLUTIONS FOR THE FUTURE

There will be two types of connectivity in smart homes. Local network technologies such as WiFi or Zigbee will be predominantly used in most cases. But a connection to the Cloud will also be required, mainly via domestic broadband connections or, in the future, via low-power wide area networks (LPWANs). Cellular connectivity will also have a role to play due to its omnipresence, particularly as an emergency connection solution for safety applications. If someone cuts off the broadband connection your home depends on, the cellular connection could effectively take over to prevent the system being compromised.

“OT HAS TWO ROLES TO PLAY IN THIS ECOSYSTEM. FIRSTLY, BY ALLOWING OBJECTS IN THE SMART HOME TO ACCESS CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY WHENEVER NECESSARY. WITH THE EUICC DAKOTA AND M-CONNECT MANAGEMENT PLATFORM, IT IS POSSIBLE TO ACTIVATE CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN DISTRIBUTED OBJECTS AND MANAGE IT THROUGHOUT THEIR LIFE-CYCLE. THIS IS VITAL, SINCE MOST OBJECTS ARE MANUFACTURED IN ONE PLACE AND THEN DISTRIBUTED AND SOLD AROUND THE WORLD. SECONDLY, WITH ITS IOT CLOUD PLATFORM AND PEARL BY OT® EMBEDDED SECURE ELEMENT, OT AIMS TO FACILITATE THE AUTHENTICATION OF OBJECTS WHICH TRANSMIT DATA AND PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF THIS DATA AS WELL AS ITS CONFIDENTIALITY”, SAYS JAMES KING.

As part of its focus in connected devices and IoT, OT offers complementary solutions optimized to work with Intel architecture.

 

THE CONNECTED HOME ROOM BY ROOM

 GARAGE AND HALL

Areas of transition between the outside and the home, the hall and garage allow the home’s various functions to be connected according to the comings and goings of its inhabitants, e.g. lighting, video surveillance, thermostat, etc. 

MOTION DETECTION OF ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES

  • Opening of doors or curtains
  • Light or heating activation
  • Video surveillance activation or deactivation 

State of the market: Mature
Target: General public

THERMOSTAT

  • Connected and self-programming
  • Allows energy savings
  • App for monitoring energy use

State of the market: Mature
Target: General public

KITCHEN

Household appliances embraced new technologies long before the connected era. So it is not surprising to see that kitchens are at the cutting edge of new uses.

SMALL CONNECTED HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES

  • Better monitoring of use
  • Access to practical information (recipes, etc.)
  • More efficient after-sales services if anything goes wrong

State of the market: Nascent
Target: General public

TABLET + RECIPE APPS

  • Voice control to use the device even with dirty hands
  • Tens of thousands of recipes
  • The option to automatically receive a shopping list of ingredients

State of the market: Developing
Target: Keen cookS

SMOKE DETECTORS, ETC.

  • Easy to install detectors
  • Real-time alerts on a mobile device
  • Sometimes multi-functional (light bulbs, sensors for carbon monoxide, fine particles, etc.)

State of the market: Nascent
Target: General public 

LOUNGE 

The lounge is the main living room in the house and so naturally has plenty of audio and video equipment. Connectivity is giving them a new lease on life by offering innovative applications and services.

SOUND

  • Wireless access to audio content on other devices
  • Multi-room: allowing a single sound source to be listened to in several rooms
  • The possibility of answering telephone calls

State of the market: Developing
Target: Technophiles

TV

  • Access to shows online (catch-up TV, VOD, etc.)
  • Wireless access to multi-media content on other devices
  • Access to new apps: games, news, internet, shopping, etc.

State of the market: Mature
Target: General public

MULTIMEDIA BOX

  • Compatibility with the most popular audio/video formats
  • Wireless access to multi-media content on other devices
  • Online searches for cover art and information for films and series

State of the market: Mature
Target: Technophiles 

BEDROOM 

A sanctuary for parents and children, the bedroom is the room in the house dedicated to relaxation and rest – activities which connected objects can improve on a daily basis.

SOUND

  • Millions of books accessible in a few seconds
  • Generally attractive prices
  • The possibility of loading your own books on some models

State of the market: Mature
Target: General public

CONNECTED LIGHTING

  • Control of lighting from a mobile device
  • Built-in speakers on some models
  • Programmable multicoloured light effects on some models 

State of the market: Developing
Target: Technophiles

BABY CARE

  • Real-time monitoring of the baby’s vital functions
  • Ability to detect anomalies (bradycardia, sleep apnea, etc.)
  • Long-term monitoring via apps

State of the market: Nascent
Target: Parents

CONNECTED TOYS (DOLLS, CHILDREN’S BOOKS, ETC.)

  • More interaction and therefore stimulation for children
  • Adaptable by age
  • Wide range of functions thanks to associated apps

State of the market: Nascent
Target: Children

BATHROOM 

A place for relaxing and washing will undoubtedly be one of the first connected rooms in the house, since well-being and health are particularly well-suited to recurrent and personalized monitoring via apps for smartphones and tablets.

SCALES

  • Daily monitoring via the app
  • Precise graphs of changes in weight
  • Generally compatible with sports coaching apps 

State of the market: Developing
Target: General public

TOOTHBRUSH

  • Measurement of brushing quality
  • Apps offering guides to brushing
  • A routine made fun for children

State of the market: Nascent
Target: General public

SOUND

  • Shower resistant and waterproof products
  • Wireless access to audio content on other devices
  • Multi-room: allowing a single sound source to be listened to in several rooms

State of the market: Developing
Target: Technophiles