For the smart home to really get smart its connected devices need to have IoT abilities!
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
By Jim Carroll and Michael Silva
The promise to the customer of an IoT smart home is to deliver a meaningful user outcome through the instrumentation of connected things in the home.
Consumers often malign the term smart home because we don't have smart homes today. We live with a collection of devices connected to the internet that alone aren't very smart. Connectivity to the internet and the IoT are two very different things. Connected devices' lack of IoT attributes prevents the devices from being part of a meaningful experience. Starting from the customer experience and working backward, let's explore the essential qualities that differentiate a connected device from an IoT device.
A meaningful immersive experience is the ultimate goal of an IoT system implementation, the ability of "things" to be combined to render a meaningful interaction. For a device to be an active participant in the immersion, it requires designed-in abilities, namely, composability and recruitability.
A smart home device's composability is the attribute that enables its functions to participate as a part of an instrumented hybrid-composite with other devices. The composite of things creates a meaningful experience for the customer or an input to a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, delivering the desired result. Consider a use case for a healthy home focused on indoor air quality and an IoT robotic vacuum cleaner; the vacuum cleans the dirt off the floors; in the process, it kicks up pollutants into the air. A composability quality would allow the robotic vacuum cleaner to integrate with a smart HVAC system to cycle filtered air through the house during the vacuuming process. Composability is the act of combining things into the desired outcome of clean air.
Recruitability is the quality of participation as part of a desired composite outcome beyond the original design intent. A device's recruitability is typically a function of robust APIs that enable the IoT platform access to the device's operations in real-time to create the hybrid composite.
Building off our "indoor air quality," a declaration broadcast by our robotic vacuum of its intent to begin the cleaning process initiates recruiting the smart thermostat to start the fresh air cycle, which continues for 10 minutes after the robot has finished cleaning.
The composability and recruitability attributes hinge on the device's connectedness to a data processing platform, the Cloud, via the internet. These processing platforms require the ability to communicate through APIs to SaaS platforms to be recruitable. Once recruitable, a meaningful composite is possible- essentially putting the "I" in INTERnet of Things, where INTER is the relationship of SaaS solutions INTERconnecting and INTERacting not only with devices but other SaaS platforms on behalf of the consumer.
Once smart home devices are equipped with the ability to participate in the "I," the autonomous home becomes achievable. By adopting the IoT capabilities, devices can join as part of the constellation of things in concert with software services acting to deliver on the customer promise. This process continues to evolve based on user needs and preferences, leading to a growing number of IoT devices in what we refer to as device fidelity. Device fidelity is the idea that with their abilities enabled, additional devices provide a significant increase in the accuracy of the details surrounding a specific SaaS experience, increasing the importance of the service and devices to the consumer.
The hype around the smart home focuses on the "Things" and not the IoT's promise of a meaningful user experience. Consider our indoor air quality example; is it incumbent upon the robotic vacuum cleaner manufacturer to integrate with the many thermostats in the marketplace? Conversely, should every thermostat company integrate into every smart vacuum? Neither presents a winning business proposition.
The industry largely ignores the "I," leading to connected devices lacking IoT abilities. Sendal is the "I" of the IoT smart home, the one-stop integration point for Software as a Service and IoT devices. The two earlier examples are not possible today without a considerable amount of integration across many device manufacturers and SaaS platforms, an ongoing agonizing engineering effort required by all without a reasonable business model for success. The Sendal platform makes the smart home meaningful to the mass-market consumer by recruiting IoT devices and Software as a Service application to deliver immersive personal experiences as part of the autonomous home. Providing a Smart Home as a Service to both the devices and SaaS solutions frees them from multiple integrations' between the many companies and technologies.
Integration with the Sendal platform creates an ecosystem of tremendous value exchange for both the devices and software applications, enabling the applications to leverage common IoT Devices without concerns regarding the specific maker or model of the device to deliver their desired outcomes in fulfilling customer promise.
About the Authors:
Jim Carroll- Co-Founder and President of Sendal. After several successful startups, he started the company by working with a talented group of entrepreneurs in the smart home space industry; the result is Sendal, a transformational platform to bring the smart home to the masses.
Michael Silva - Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Sendal. Mike’s career in technology revolves around the promise of using technology to solve problems. He’s done that successfully for the past 20+ years with several successful startups with breakthrough technologies and over 45 patents.