Posted by:McKinley Hackett May 31st, 2016

A few months ago I was about to purchase multiple Nest products so I could take another step towards home automation.  I was intrigued by the idea of being able to track and control smart devices for temperature, security, and fire safety.

Being in the industry, I am quite aware of the importance of interoperability.  You do not want solutions which are built in silos.  When you consider all of the new IoT (Internet of Things) devices in the market, most are built where you need a separate app to run its function.  It reminds me of the old days, prior to universal remotes, when you had five remotes to watch a movie on your TV, from a tape on your VCR, with sound through your stereo system.  Today, you want systems and devices to communicate, work on open standards, and have a single mobile interface.

Wiki says “Interoperability is a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, present or future, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions”.

The mobile industry has matured in terms of platforms, business models, and use cases.  However there still remains two ongoing challenges:

  1. integrating to backend systems
  2. closed and proprietary systems
For example, we have Revolv as an open smart hub system, which enables companies to develop mobile applications and cloud services from the data collected by devices.  Last month Nest, who makes internet connected home thermostats and smoke detectors has dropped support for Revolv, as mentioned on their site.  On May 15th, consumers were left with devices that were effectively ‘bricks’.   The app and service no longer works for consumers who purchased the $299 devices.

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The marketplace solution:

  • Consumers should seek solutions which conform to open standards
  • IoT Device Manufacturers should seek software partners who have expertise in backend integration
  • Software Vendors should develop apps which are interoperable and not a silo
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