This post focuses on a particularly important technology market, the Internet of Things. IoT is at a strategic inflection point, due to explosive projected market growth and unresolved problems of wireless data throughput and energy-efficiency needs. The IoT market is projected to grow to 75 Billion devices by 2025. This growth is predicated on very high throughput wireless networks combined with high energy-efficiency which are not yet available. Existing wireless technologies, including 5G, will not meet this market need. Also, the extreme diversity of IoT applications will require both small sensors that operate using minimal energy and bandwidth and virtual reality applications with very high Gigabit per second data rates and substantial power requirements.
Five years ago, I wrote a post on this blog disparaging the state of the Internet of Things/home automation market as a “Tower of Proprietary Babble.” Vendors of many different home and industrial product offerings were literally speaking different languages, making their products inoperable with other complementary products from other vendors. The market was being constrained by its immaturity and a failure to grasp the importance of open standards. A 2017 Verizon report concluded that “an absence of industry-wide standards…represented greater than 50% of executives concerns about IoT. Today I can report that finally, the solutions and technologies are beginning to come together, albeit still slowly.
The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) is being loosely tossed around in the media. But what does it […]
In October of 2013, I first met Energy Aware’s management team, led by UBC alumni founders Janice Cheam and VP of Software, Ali Kashani in their modest East Vancouver offices. I had encountered Ali commenting on the Internet of Things (IoT) on LinkedIn, and I challenged his arguments, as the skeptic that I am. Ali very graciously invited me to meet with him to discuss it further. Home automation and its new iteration, IoT, has been around for at least twenty years and had been going absolutely nowhere. Added to that was what I termed “the Tower of Babble,” a term now also used by Qualcomm to describe the data communication hairball in the IoT space. Indeed, Energy Aware had struggled for quite awhile in this immature market. What I learned in that first meeting with Ali and Janice turned this skeptic into a believer, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with Al and Janice since that time providing them with tidbits of advice here and there. My gut told me that Energy Aware was on to something with significant potential, as IoT was finally achieving technological “convergence,” and the Big Dogs in Silicon Valley were now gearing up their own IoT efforts. There is a Tsunami coming, and Energy Aware is well-positioned to ride it.
An excellent discussion of the deeper social implications of the Internet of Everything. Perhaps difficult for some to grasp, but consistent with many other futurists’ views. The current world of MOOC’s in online education, for example, may only be a brief waypoint on the journey to anytime, everywhere education.
I met today with Ali Kashani and Janice (pronounced “Janeece”) Cheam of Energy Aware in their offices in Chinatown, East Vancouver. Ali is a UBC Vancouver Engineering Ph.D, and Janice is a Sauder “BComm” graduate. Together, they are the brains behind Energy Aware’s novel approach to the “hairball” of the Internet of Things. I began our meeting as a skeptic, and came away impressed with their approach, their market savvy, their chemistry as a team, and the big name partners they have already attracted.
It has dawned on me that an entirely new Mega Multidimensional War of Titans is developing, entirely separate and distinct from the mobile smartphone Multidimensional Mega War of Titans. In many ways this new industry war may be more strategic, larger and more valuable than the smart phone war. The emerging new battleground is the Mega Global War of the Internet of Everything. The global players in this newly developing war are well known names in high technology: ARM, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Intel, and Qualcomm, not to mention a new class of players like The Zigbee Alliance, Honeywell and a host of others. A number of small Canadian companies are also in the thick of this.
ZigBee is fighting for its place in the internet of things against Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and Z-wave. It has to overcome fragmentation, sneak into user’s homes and keep Bluetooth at bay. Can it do all three.
Poor ZigBee. As a wireless standard, it has long faced an identity crisis that pitted it against Wi-Fi in the home and proprietary standards or Bluetooth for low-data rates. But as companies such as Comcast embrace the connected home and thanks to anacquisition last year, the standard could get its day in the sun and a place in the home.
This article from Gigaom serves to further underscore The Tower of Babbling Things….Competitors battling each other over control of The Internet of Things over the means, methods and, most importantly, the dozens of competing data communication protocols. Honeywell has now entered the battle, realizing the a number of small, entrepreneurial startups are eroding their market for traditional thermostats. Previous to this development, Intel and others had promoted the concept of home tabletop display consoles for energy efficiency management. The display console concept is now officially dead, as reported in the Gigaom post. Recently, Gigaom also showcased three competing home automation systems, all of which were “closed” proprietary systems.
The term “Internet of Things” is being loosely tossed around in the media. But what does it mean? It means simply that data communication like the Internet, but not necessarily Internet Protocol packets is emerging for all manner of “things” in the home: light switches, lighting devices, thermostats, door locks, window shades, kitchen appliances, washers & dryers, home audio and video equipment, even pet food dispensers. You get the idea. All of this communication occurs autonomously, without human intervention. The communication can be between and among these devices, so called machine to machine or M2M. The data communication can also terminate in a home compute server where the information can be made available to the homeowner to intervene remotely from their smart mobile phone or any other remote Internet connected device.