17.01-Home Internet of Things-2016-09-12

The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives. Just as with electricity, it’s hard to imagine how we could live without it these days. It’s the same with smartphones: we now interchange as much with our smartphones as we do with people. Not a day goes by without new computerized devices and robots are introduced to replace or enhance human activities. Miniature powerful computers chips are incorporated in almost every new device. We are entering the world of the “Internet of Things” (IoT), meaning that most future device will be connected to the internet and will have some form of intelligence. To help you visualize what the Internet of Things (IoT) is, this article will focus on the Internet of Things inside our homes.

DEFINITION

Wikipedia defines the Internet of Things (IoT) as the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

The Internet of Things (IoT) in our homes

The Internet of Things (IoT) will soon be introduced at a rapid pace into our homes. Since both husbands and wives work away from home and the home is empty most of the day, the need to know what’s happening inside the home and to control home devices from a distance is becoming a real benefit. For example, seeing the inside of your frig while at the grocery, on your way back home, can be quite useful to know what you need to buy for dinner. The following paragraphs will present a number of home devices that should enhance your future quality of life.

To get you started and help you grasp what the Internet of Things can be inside a home, please view the following video:

  • Click on the following hyperlink: Samsung Smart Frig web site
  • Scroll down until you see “See it in action”.
  • Click on the top left video to start it.
  • Let things go to view the 6 very short videos.

This should introduce you to what the Internet of Things can be in a home and it is available today! If this is of interest to you, the next question is where do I start?

Where to start

An easy low cost way to introduce the Internet of Things into your home and help you lower your costly energy bills and conserve energy, is to install a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat will learn your daily patterns and your personal apartment temperature preferences, to adjust each apartment in your house or your entire home temperature automatically. Here’s how it works.

A smart thermostat

Below are some of the best smarts thermostats in 2016:

  • If you want to control multiple zones in your house: The Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat, that sells for U$210 on com, uses small wireless sensors in every room to deliver the right temperature, on a room-by-room basis. It also has a slick touchscreen interface and is compatible with Apple’s HomeKit and the Amazon Echo.
  • ecobee3
  • If you want a fully integrated smart home: The Nest Learning Thermostat V.3, by Google, that sells for U$230 on com, can talk to hundreds of other smart home devices, from the Logitech Harmony remote to the Amazon Echo to the Dropcam Pro, so it can automatically adjust your home temperature or do other things.
  • nest-3
  • The Honeywell RTH8580WF Wi-Fi Thermostat, that sells for U$149 at Home Depot. It offers much of the same functionality as the Nest V.3 and Ecobee3, but for 65% of the price. A Wi-Fi link lets you control this thermostat from your smartphone, plus, it can link to other smart home gadgets, such as smart locks, and can be controlled via voice.
  • honeywell
  • If you want to use Geofencing to know when to turn your thermostat on or off: The Honeywell Lyric 2nd Generation thermostat, that sells for U$195 on com, links to your smartphone, and will know when you’re close to home. It will start heating or cooling by the time you walk in the front door. It also works with Apple’s HomeKit, so you can just tell Siri to raise or lower the temperature.

Installing a smart thermostat in your home is simple, not costly and will introduce you and your family to the Home Internet of Things and help you save on your energy bills.

The next step

The next step or an alternative way to introduce the Internet of Things into your home is to acquire a smart Virtual Assistant device such as the Amazon Echo or the soon to be released (Fall 2016) Google Home.

Alexa

These new Virtual Assistant devices, in addition to a multitude of other functions, let you use voice commands to control your other Internet of Things home devices. Please read article 19.02-The different types of Artificial Intelligence based Virtual Assistants. – 2016-07-17 for more information on this type of Internet of Things devices.

The Home Internet of Things suppliers

The Internet of Things market will become very big in the coming years. Therefore, very large companies have already jumped into the fray. Types of companies:

  • The software and computing devices companies such as: Apple, Google, Amazon, …
  • The home devices and appliances suppliers such as: Samsung, Honeywell, GE, …
  • New comers, such as: Ecobee, …

Stick with the industry leaders

One of the main factor in dominating the home Internet of Things market will be: who controls the brain that will integrate and coordinate all the very different devices? Since everything is now and will into the foreseeable future to be operated from smartphones, the smartphone operating system suppliers, such as Google and Apple, will play a major role in the Internet of Things. Competing with them will be Samsung, which is the only integrated technology company of its kind, as we will review later in this article.

Like with every new human endeavor, you initially have tons of new entrants which will gradually be weeded out either by being acquired, by market leaders, or by normal competitive attrition. The sure winners of this new industry will be the very large powerful companies. In my opinion, Google, Apple and Samsung are sure bets.

Home appliances Internet of Things

Because of its wide product line, its computer technology leadership, its advanced technologies manufacturing capabilities and its sheer size and influence, Samsung is, in my opinion, the market leader of the Internet of Things of home appliances. Add to this that Samsung is a market leader in the following technologies that will be integrated to play a major role in the Home Internet of Things:

  • Computer chip, memory chips and sensors design and manufacturing.
  • Smartphone, tablet and computer design and manufacturing. It has been a long time manufacturer of the iPhones, in addition to its own competitive line of Android products.
  • Application and operating systems software development.
  • Display technologies: from smartphone display screens, to touchscreen computer displays, to flat panel TV displays up to large stadium displays.
  • And many other technologies of the future.

To better understand how all of the above comes into play, let’s look at the Internet of Things of a Smart Frig, as was showed when you viewed the 6 videos referenced earlier in this article:

  • Sensors and cameras, to see what’s inside the frig.
  • Touchscreen display panel, on the frig door, that is used to communicate with the computer that is incorporated into the smart frig.
  • The Family Hub application software that operate the whole thing.
  • Wi-Fi communications with the internet, so that the frig functions can be controlled from the smartphone Samsung App.

frig

Samsung which, in my opinion, is the most innovative vertically integrated electronics company in the world, can manufacture almost every component of such a Family Hub Smart Frig, from the basic circuitry to the final end product. Personally, I wouldn’t lose my time looking anywhere else in the Smart Home Appliances arena. If you are not yet convinced, just watch the following video about the 2016 innovations announced by Samsung, in January 2016, by clicking on the following hyperlink: Samsung CES 216 Press Conference. 

Home security

If you are interested in Internet of Things Home Security Systems, please read the following article: The Best Smart Home Security Systems of 2016 for ideas and recommendations.

The Internet of Things Network Security

Any new use of networking technologies is bound to be vulnerable and subject to being hacked and used against you. This is why, when installing IoT networks into your home, you need to also secure your network to potential attacks. For more info, please read the following two articles:  Will IoT Lock Down Your House or Open the Door to Hackers? and Of 10 IoT-connected home security systems tested, 100% are full of security FAIL.

This does not mean you should not use Internet of Things devices. It means that you should protect yourself against such vulnerabilities. If you are preoccupied about your network security, please look into products such as F-Secure SENSE, from a Finnish security company offering a new approach for home security with its new SENSE gadget. Other comparable products are also available.

CONCLUSION

I hope that by now you understand what the Internet of Things means for the home which was the main objective of this article. Since we are living in a world that is constantly changing, it is important to stay up to date on the new developments that can significantly enhance our quality of life. I promise that I will continue to do my best to write articles that will help you stay up to date.