This year’s CES will be marked by a big change — this is the year that it seems everyone is excited by potential of the Internet of Things. CES has recognized this movement by essentially concentrating all the activities in this space and dedicating the Sands Expo facility as Tech West — spotlighting a diverse spectrum of IoT and Smart Home related technologies. From health oriented monitoring to wearables to Smart Home lighting, security, energy management and environmental controls, hundreds of vendors will be showing their new cool solutions, systems and components.
In the heart of all that, the ZigBee Alliance and GreenPeak will be showing a range of IoT and Smart Home products that have one thing in common, they all use the open worldwide ZigBee standard as a connectivity medium. The recent announcement of ZigBee 3.0 has created a lot of interest as ZigBee moves even closer to WiFi in terms of consumer recognition and ease of use.
All these technologies and market developments herald the evolution of the Internet of People to truly an Internet of Things. The big difference is that today most web connected devices still need to be managed by humans. If you want your home to be secure, you can use your smart phone to access a virtual dashboard in the cloud to check to see, if your home’s doors and windows are locked and secure. If they are not, you can remotely lock them.
You can use the smart phone to access your home’s heating and air conditioning to check to see that temperature is appropriate. If no one is home, you can make sure that the systems are off. After a long day of work, as you head home, you can remotely turn on the appropriate heating or air cooling systems.
Even though those applications are very cool, they still require a human being to be in the loop and to make critical decisions.
In the new smart home — the really smart home — the machines talk to each other and make decisions that make sense, informing the users/owners and enabling them to oversee what is happening. A network of sensors located throughout the home — motion sensors, pressure sensors, temperature sensors, position sensors, etc. — can gather enough information that when fed to an analytics system, can actually make the decisions that will impact the homeowners life.
For instance home security. On a regular basis, the system checks the home’s security status and notes that several doors or windows are left unlocked. The intelligence derived from the analytics system knows that this is not how it should be at that time of the day and then automatically closes the locks and sends an alert notifying the homeowner what it has done.
Even more interesting, the sensing network can easily recognize the presence of someone moving about the home. The cloud intelligence then analyzes that information — comparing it against what “should” be happening in the house at that time of day, and then take appropriate action. For example, if the sensors notice movement in the house during the middle of the day when everyone is at work or at school, the intelligence decides that something is not right and then can send an alert to the homeowners or neighbor’s smart phones or their social media networks. If on the other hand, the sensor network notes that there is movement in the home in the late afternoon – when the kids are home from school – instead it can turn on the heating or cooling.
At CES, GreenPeak will be rolling out Senior Lifestyle Systems, the first in its line of Family Lifestyle Systems. Targeted to service providers and system integrators, the Senior Lifestyle System is a network of easy to attach, battery powered sensors that senses motion and movement in a home. Without using cameras — thereby preserving privacy — the sensors monitor the movement and send it to a sophisticated cloud algorithm that is able to LEARN how the occupants in the house live.
When do they get up? When do they go into the bathroom? When are they usually in the kitchen? Which kitchen appliances do they use in the morning, in the afternoon, dinner? When and which devices do they access every day for entertainment?
The Senior Lifestyle System’s analytics analyzes this information and learns how the occupants live. And, if there is a sudden change, it notices. Doors not opening, appliances not being used, someone lying on the bed too long in the morning — a message is then sent to smart phones of designated family or friends, and social media, alerting the occupant’s family, care givers, neighbors, etc., that something is out of the ordinary and that they should check up on their loved one.
This Senior Lifestyle System is just one of the hundreds of extremely cool Smart Home applications we expect to see this year at CES. The electronics industry has finally woken up to the promise of the Smart Home and IoT and rushing forward to provide a cornucopia of sophisticated services to the hundreds of millions of connected homes worldwide.
Cees Links is the founder and CEO of GreenPeak. Under his responsibility, the first wireless LANs were developed, ultimately becoming household technology integrated into PCs and notebooks. He also pioneered the development of access points, home networking routers, and hotspot base stations. He was involved in the establishment of the IEEE 802.11 standardization committee and the WiFi Alliance. And, he was instrumental in establishing the IEEE 802.15 standardization committee to become the basis for the ZigBee sense and control networking.
You can contact GreenPeak at http://www.greenpeak.com.