Business Intelligence, the research arm of Business Insider, recently reported: “The largest barrier (to smart home product adoption) is technological fragmentation within the connected home ecosystem. Currently, there are many networks, standards, and devices being used to connect the smart home, creating interoperability problems and making it confusing for the consumer to set up and control multiple devices. Until interoperability is solved, consumers will have difficulty choosing smart home devices and systems.”
At Arrayent, we believe that ‘interoperability’ is the new ‘smart.’ Compatibility with major cloud ecosystems and the resulting interoperability between products in the home will heighten the benefits of having connected products. And, the products incorporating cloud-to-cloud interoperability will get even better over time. Interoperability will be the key to making the smart home a reality and transforming the landscape of connected consumer products.
INTEROPERABILITY INCREASES A PRODUCT’S POWER AND VALUE
As IoT research analyst Jessica Groopman pointed out in a recent TechTarget column on interoperability: “This ability—to extend the product’s utility over time, instead of depreciate it—is central to data-driven business and service models made possible through connected products.” She also stressed: “Information about the lifecycle of interactions between product and customer is what drives ongoing innovation, both at the device level and across the ecosystem that sustains it.”
Until now, that has been easier said than done, because of ‘walled gardens’ (i.e. closed ecosystems) like Apple’s Home Kit and those historically deployed by the brand manufacturers. Now with more open approaches to ecosystems being taken by leading brands like Google’s ‘Works with Nest,’ ‘Google Home,’ and Amazon’s Alexa Voice Services, we are just beginning to see the power of interoperability.
NOT YOUR FATHER’S INTEROPERABILITY
Technologies and protocols from ZigBee, Z-Wave and others are also trying to solve the interoperability problem, as is the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) with over 300 member companies (including Cisco, Qualcomm, Intel and Microsoft, among others).
They are focused on trying to organize the smart home by building a common/open
source framework of data standards and protocols to enable interconnectivity of IoT devices. In our view, IoT protocols and standards are not the answer. They are historically difficult to achieve and will take a very long time to sort out. And with the cost of Wi-Fi chipsets coming down below $1.00 in reasonable quantities, the necessity for local interconnectivity becomes less and less.
ECOSYSTEM INTEGRATION IS WHAT DRIVES TODAY’S DEVICE INTEROPERABILITY
That’s why Arrayent is focusing its efforts on cloud-to-cloud integration with our EcoAdaptor framework. We believe that brands need to architect frictionless user experiences based on interoperability in order for consumers to see the value and for the industry to ‘cross the chasm’ into mass-market appeal.
You can read all of our predictions for 2017 here. Be sure you are subscribed to our blog, newsletter and social media feeds as we expect to chronicle many future developments for consumer IoT technologies throughout 2017.