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Connected home - market evolution & protocol wars


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What did we even start developing smart homes? Is it really a future? What technologies will be leading this revolution?
During Hardgroup #4 Borys Tomala from answers this questions and compares WiFi, Z-wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth Smart and Thread.

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Connected home - market evolution & protocol wars

  1. 1. Connected home Borys Tomala Poznań, Hardgroup #4, 2016-02-23
  2. 2. About me Currently: ● Founder & Head of Product @ ● Contributor @ The Things Network Previously: ● Director, Software R&D @ Novamedia ● Embedded Software Engineer @ Samsung R&D
  3. 3. About Full stack Internet of Things solution for: ● manufacturers, ● implementation companies, ● enterprises & municipalities. Hardware: ● connectivity modules, ● security & cloud integration inside, ● firmware SDK & tools. Hardware agnostic data platform: ● data collection, ● secure storage, ● advanced analytics. Service management: ● applications API, ● services & API keys monitoring, ● advanced integrations.
  4. 4. Agenda 1. Why did we want our homes to be smart? 2. Solutions evolution. 3. What we really need? 4. Protocol wars: a. WiFi b. Z-wave c. Zigbee d. Bluetooth e. Thread 5. What the future brings? 6. Conclusion.
  5. 5. Why did we want our homes to be smart? 1. The Jetsons had it. 2. It’s possible! … … … … 3. There are also some economical benefits.
  6. 6. Solutions evolution 1975 - X10 First general purpose automation technology. Switching appliances and dimming lights over powerline from central console.
  7. 7. Solutions evolution 1990 - Wired specifications EIB (future KNX) Twisted-pair based electrical installations control. - Expensive, - A lot of wires, - Simple automation and control.
  8. 8. Solutions evolution 2003/2004 - Wireless revolution Z-wave/Zigbee Cheapier, easier, faster. Still dumb.
  9. 9. Solutions evolution 2004-2010 - Wireless evolution Rules engine
  10. 10. Solutions evolution 2004-2010 - Wireless evolution Rules engine
  11. 11. Solutions evolution 2004-2010 - Wireless evolution ● single point of failure, ● non-reliable, ● some of them depend on Internet connection, ● limited possibilities, ● need for setup rules/scenes - dumb.
  12. 12. Solutions evolution 2010 - now ● “smart” becomes synonym of “dumb” ● some of companies started to realize what it’s really about, ● introduction of “connected”, “conscious” and “thoughtful” homes, ● switching from system-oriented to product-oriented homes.
  13. 13. What we really need? We don’t need smart home systems! We need connected products and smart services, which increase our security, comfort and savings!
  14. 14. What we really need? What connected home should lool like? ● no central unit or hub, ● no single point of failure, ● can’t rely on Internet connection - devices have to talk to each other! ● interoperable - products from different manufacturers need to understand each other. ● secured, ● product-oriented, but the real product is a service, not device! ● easy provisioning, ● invisible solutions!
  15. 15. What we really need? It’s not about control. It’s about not having to!
  16. 16. What we really need?
  17. 17. What we really need?
  18. 18. Protocol wars or “My lightbulb is smarter than your lightbulb!”
  19. 19. Protocol wars Requirements for technology: ● low power ● no single point of failure, ● reliable, ● self-healing mesh, ● secure
  20. 20. Protocol wars Pros: ● well-adopted, ● high throughput Cons: ● power-hungry, ● star-topology (SPoF), ● difficult provisioning, ● no application layer, ● price. Conclusion: Great for mains-powered devices which need high- throughput (eg. A/V streaming).
  21. 21. Protocol wars Pros: ● strong market position, ● great interoperability within ecosystem Cons: ● only 232 nodes, ● non reliable due to long mesh healing, ● no direct connection to mobile devices, ● latency due to adopted security solutions, ● proprietary (one silicon vendor), ● slow (100kbps) Conclusion: Aging technology not ready for future requirements. Fine for non-critical networks (hobbyist, enthusiasts). Promise to keep backward compatibility may kill this protocol.
  22. 22. Protocol wars Pros: ● field-proven, ● up to 65k nodes per network, ● self-healing mesh Cons: ● interoperability - application layers are mess, ● max throughput 250 kbps, ● no direct connection to mobile devices Conclusion: Great, field-proven (not only in homes) technology with nice 802.15.4 radio, but further development does not depend on Zigbee, but IEEE body.
  23. 23. Protocol wars Pros: ● great, multichannel radio, ● ultra low power, ● high-throughput (1 Mbps and will be higher), ● mesh is coming mid 2016, ● great interoperability, ● direct communication with mobile, Cons: ● little number of profiles, ● security but getting better, ● mesh not proven in field, ● IPv6 still fresh and not proven Conclusion: Strong candidate for winning protocol war, but let’s wait for IPv6 over Bluetooth mesh.
  24. 24. Protocol wars Assumptions: ● low power, ● IP-based, ● reliable mesh, ● secure and user friendly, ● fast adoption by using existing radio silicon. Why IP: ● IPv6 is a future of IoT, ● unfified convergence layer for all radio/wired technologies.
  25. 25. Protocol wars
  26. 26. Protocol wars
  27. 27. Protocol wars Features: ● simple IP bridging, ● direct addressability of devices (IPv6), ● flexible network, ● no SPoF, ● secure commisioning process, ● low power, ● several application layers
  28. 28. Protocol wars Application layer: ● lack of application layer definition won’t help with interoperability, ● several different application smay run independently 802.15.4: ● nice, field-proven radio but with limited capabilities, ● already exists in millions of products, ● it’s not a part of Thread spec, so in future may be changed.
  29. 29. Protocol wars The war is between Bluetooth Smart and Thread.
  30. 30. What the future brings? 1. There will always be demand for different protocols. The is no one, universal solution for IoT. 2. Bluetooth Smart may be winning technology inside home. 3. Thread may be winning technology inside home. 4. or...
  31. 31. What the future brings? Bluetooth has awesome radio technology on top of which can run 6lowpan. However, since it’s not home-specific doesn’t define well application layers or commisioning. Thread is based on 6lowpan and core of its specification is security and commisioning. It’s ready for another PHY/MAC technology adoption!
  32. 32. What the future brings? Possible future: Physical/Link Network/Transport UDP TCP Zigbee/AllJoyn/ OCF/Nest Weave Application
  33. 33. What the future brings? The biggest challenges for future: 1. Interoperability. 2. Security. 3. Provisioning
  34. 34. Conclusion For entrepreneurs/ business developers: 1. Do not develop system - focus on product. 2. The service is your main product, device is a necessity. 3. Do not develop central unit/hub. Routing may be a feature of product, not the other way.
  35. 35. Conclusion For technology developers: 1. Remember about security. 2. Future proof your hardware by using both Thread & Bluetooth radio (prepare OTA process). 3. Remember about security. 4. IPv6 is a future do not focus on technology not capable of carrying it. 5. Remember about security.
  36. 36. Conclusion At we’re working on multiprotocol, future-proof module for connected home: ● Thread & Bluetooth Smart independent networks, ● OTA firmware upgrade, ● RF & antenna integrated, ● Security inside.
  37. 37. Conclusion For customers: 1. Do not invest your money in systems. 2. Look for opportunities of lowering your costs, improving comfort or solving issue with your service providers (utilities, insurance) and independent products. 3. Wait if you can, this year will be full of nice connected home solutions.
  38. 38. Q&A Q&A
  39. 39. Thanks! Don’t forget to subscribe at! @BorysTomala @cloudthing_io