by Paul Routledge, senior business manager with D-Link
Thanks to our new found attachment to smartphones and always-on access to the digital world, we have become impatient for ever more information and control. Vendors everywhere are scrambling to develop yet more devices to enable us to access, monitor and manage our homes when we’re not there. We can already keep an eye our homes using IP cameras. We can also stream music and films from home servers and monitor and control use of our networks when we’re out, but that just isn’t enough, so soon we’ll be able to do a whole lot more. But why is the home automation market suddenly flourishing?
According to a recent report from Juniper Research, service revenues from what it calls the ‘Smart Home’ market could reach over $72 billion per annum in just four years – driven primarily by entertainment services such as on-demand TV.
Similarly, IDC estimates that the global Internet of Things market [IoT] could reach $7.3 trillion by 2017 1, further predicting that by 2020 there could be some 212 billion connected ‘Things’ in a market worth $8.9 trillion.
Unsurprisingly the biggest names in technology are already gearing up to address this demand.
Not least Google which made a spectacular entry into the Internet of Things arena when it splashed out $3.2billion in January 2014 for Nest, the intelligent home appliance vendor.
Widely reported as delivering a significant boost to the home automation market, the Nest acquisition will enable Google to further leverage its expertise in cloud computing – an arena in which it already excels – and extend its reach right into the home.
Moreover, with Google’s financial support and global customer base, the developers at Nest are expected to further extend its range of devices and home automation services beyond the ‘Smart’ thermostat and smoke detector.
Microsoft, too, is keen to get in on the act. In October 2013, for example, Microsoft started to re-position Windows Embedded as a potential ‘OS of things’ supported by SQL Server for data management and Azure for cloud.
Speaking of leaders, my own company – D-Link, has an extensive portfolio of products and services to facilitate home automation connectivity from consumer Wi-fi, through IP surveillance to enterprise grade switching and storage.
Moreover, we already have a number of products and services that can be used to deliver the Internet of Things ecosystem and we are working to extend and develop this capability further.
Not least by leveraging the cloud as the best way of managing and making them accessible to home users and small businesses, in a way that is both simple and secure.
D-Link is at the forefront of development here with over 1.5 million subscribers already signed up to our mydlink cloud solution.
Through this platform, users are able to access, view, manage and control D-Link routers, cameras and storage devices, anywhere at any time using a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
They can also access documents remotely, stream music and movies to mobile devices on the move and keep an eye on what’s happening via live video streaming from their D-Link cameras.
To these existing capabilities we are now adding support for home automation with a number of products being readied for release, starting with a Wi-fi Smart Plug able to monitor and manage any devices plugged into it.
Home automation will be, primarily, serviced by Wi-fi using a home broadband router to provide the necessary connectivity to the Internet.
Additionally, at MWC 2014 in Barcelona, D-Link was taking the opportunity to showcase emerging technology to enable users to control their home environment by remotely monitoring and managing heating, lighting and general power use, anywhere, any time.
As speed and reliability problems are becoming less and less of an issue for the majority of homes across the country, throughout 2014 consumers are likely to see a raft of new products coming onto the market to enable them to control devices in the home from their mobile devices.
This will enable home users to save money by being smarter with their power and energy consumption and any initial outlays they make will be recouped soon enough as they see the benefits that this type of service can bring.
Paul Routledge has been with D-Link for over three years, previously responsible for European business development. He has over 20 years experience of developing channels in the UK and across Europe. Before his appointment at D-Link, he held business development and channel sales management roles with vendors and distribution partners including CCI Distribution, Adaptec and Eurologic Systems.