Posts Tagged ‘Nest’
Needless to say there is no dearth of IoT Platforms offering you the opportunity to get your “things” and “devices” connected, and reap the benefits of IoT.
It is interesting to note that Amazon continues to dominate in this segment of Cloud Computing as well. I ran a rudimentary script to lookup up where the developer sites are hosted for different IoT platforms, the results were pretty interesting – 8 out of 10 are being hosted on AWS (Disclaimer – it is not clear to me if their entire platform is on AWS or only the developer front end). This is actually 8 out of 9 since I wrote the script originally because Thingworx and Axeda platforms have merged (all three URLs, the two old ones, and the new ThingWorx.com resolve to the same IP – 18.104.22.168).
And the surprise was Nest – an Alphabet/Google Company is still (after more than two years of being acquired) – has its Developer site running on AWS!
Take a look at the screenshot of the output below, and if you want to run the script yourself, and try other sites – copy the script at Gist.
It also brings up an interesting challenge for these companies now that Amazon has AWS IoT – Cloud Services for Connected Devices. AWS IoT may not offer the level of completeness that others may offer such as Ayla or Exosite but the AWS IoT feature set is comprehensive enough to reduce the differentiation between them. The other choice is to go with Google, Microsoft and IBM – and all three of them also have IoT enhancements and features to their cloud offerings.
The choice of not going with Cloud PaaS is equally devastating because it is going to be costly for IoT platforms or they will lack the scalability.
I feel this will accelerate consolidation in the IoT platform space (like Microsoft’s acquisition of Solair) or companies being unable to offer the scale that is needed for IoT.
Pew Research Center recently released a report titled The Internet of Things Will Thrive By 2025. This was, obviously, picked up by many news and blog sites. Washington Post’s Mohana Ravindranath wrote about it in a post titled “Some see possible drawbacks in ‘Internet of Things’”, and provides a good summary. The post has one typo – it claims 1,900 people responded, whereas actually of the 12,000 people canvassed 1,606 responded. He has summarized inputs fromVint Cerf, Andrew Bridges, John Senall and Miguel Alcaine. Mohana has captured good set of quotes from one of the authors of the report – Lee Rainie, director of Pew’s Internet & American Life Project. Wired has good summary of the report as well.
Scot Stelter over at RFID Journal mentions the report but points out the lack of coverage in that report with respect to RFID, his post (RFID Stakeholders Need to Prepare for the Internet of Things) has good insight into how RFID will be important, and professionals in the RFID field need to be prepared for IoT.
Last week was the week before Apple’s WWDC – and lot of speculation on how Apple is going to play in Home Automation and IoT started out by Financial Times in Apple seeks to work Jobs magic on the internet of things (paywall). GIgaOm’s Stacey Higginbotham explains it well in Here’s how Apple’s smart home program will work. EETimes in “Apple’s IoT ‘Good Housekeeping’ Label: MFi “ gets into a little bit more detail and indicate that it involves around the MFi program (just as Stacey’s post) but indicate that it would support ZigBee protocol as well. Roger Kay at Forbes jumped in with “Will Apple Play Nice On The Internet Of Things?“. Roger makes the case that Apple won’t be in a position to dominate unlike the Smartphone or Tablet segment. While I agree with that analysis, Apple may continue to influence and benefit because Smartphones & Tablets will be an integral part of most IoT solutions.
The Economist gets into the over-hype around IoT – a very nice and thought provoking article titled The internet of nothings. It covers the chart put together by ZDNet on showing the surge in Google search aassociated with IoT, how the acquisition of Nest marks a tipping point. Two interesting observations:
#1. The post points out the real challenge is connecting the Cloud and the Node (Sensor or Actuator):
Devising sensors and algorithms to handle the front- and back-ends of the IoT are the easy part. Unfortunately, few developers are tackling the really difficult bit in the middle—the myriad infrastructural gaps that lie between the sensors in things at the edge of the internet, and the data collection and analysis performed by servers in the cloud at the centre.
#2. It questions the numbers being published (on number of connected devices) especially claims being made by Cisco:
…while Cisco Systems, a network-equipment firm in California, expects there to be no fewer than 50 billion. Cisco is so enamoured of the IoT that it has installed a “connections counter” on its website. On May 26th, the number of “things” connected to the internet was over 12.4 billion and counting.
The vast majority of the billions of things connected to the internet on Cisco’s website, for instance, are not the toasters, refrigerators, thermostats, smoke detectors, pace-makers and insulin pumps that the IoT’s true believers enthuse about. Almost exclusively, they are existing smartphones, tablets, computers and routers, plus a surprising number of industrial components used to beam performance statistics back to corporate headquarters.
Talking about Google, Business Insider is covering its rumor to buy DropCam (originally reported by The Information). It is probably pure speculation but if it bears fruit – Google could be really powerful in combining Dropcam, Nest, and Android (and YouTube/GoogleTV/Chromecast in the living room) and bringing order to Home Automation & Monitoring. Dropcam cameras have motion detection, Nest has a proximity sensor and between the two they could make for a solid, self-managed security system as well.
This week’s links also has a story with a cliche headline “With ‘Internet of Things,’ your fridge will know when milk is low“. This resulted in an interesting exchange on Twitter which you can read here. The blog post title is misleading because the focus is more on security. It has been distributed over many different websites – for example you can find it here and here.
Intel, Qualcomm and Freescale are three semiconductor companies that tend to show up in IoT Articles. This week I came across a post by Lee Schafer that starts off going over the Texas Instruments Launchpad:
On the Texas Instruments eStore it takes only $19.99 to jump into “the Internet of things” by purchasing a Connected LaunchPad unit to bring an everyday device onto the Internet. Better be patient, however, because they are sold out.
Finally a post on Wired is definitely worth reading – ‘Beautiful mistakes’ will form groundwork for the internet of things. The essence of the post:
Similarly, it will take user-generated products and hacked physical connections for brands to make sense of the internet of things. It will be ugly, soldered-together networked devices (not the gamified toothbrush) that will light the way for them. Beautiful mistakes and unexpected outcomes that will form their strategies.
We are well past the customary Happy New Year greetings timeframe into 2014, and on the heels of the first big acquisition in the IoT/IoE space, I wanted to recap key announcements and initiatives from 2013 that have set the stage for 2014:
Formation of Dedicated Divisions
One trend in 2013 was for major companies to re-organize themselves to create groups or divisions within for Internet of Everything – chief among them were Cisco Systems and Intel. They joined IBM, I think, was the pioneer to organize itself around the Smarter Planet initiative. It is not clear to me if the group is formed around Wind River which it had acquired or Wind River has been moved to this new group. GE made several announcements and is heavily investing in their initiative that they have tagged as Industrial Internet.
Bosch followed at CES 2014 with its announcement forming Bosch Connected Devices & Solutions.
Alliances & Standards
The second observable trend was groups forming as a part of Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and Open Source Initiatives. Two major announcements were the formation of a Smarthome alliance by ABB, Bosch, Cisco and LG and Qualcomm releasing its AllJoyn framework to the Open Source Community and forming the AllSeen alliance.
Money Flow: Crowd-funding, Exits & Investments
Corporate investors ranked high in investments made in the IoT/IoE space in 2013.
In summary, the three trends above will increase the momentum making 2014 a watershed year in IoT/IoE.
Last year I embarked on a journey to explore the Internet of Things or as Cisco calls it “Internet of Everything” (IoE). I like the notion of IoE not because it is coined by my day job employer but because it is about everything. Smartthings, the much talked about IoT startup, talks up the “Physical Graph” because thanks to the Social Networking era the term “Graph” puts you in vogue. [But really graph? do we want to be relegated to a 2D world of graph?]
I have installed, experimented, hacked and studied many IoT offerings, here is the current list:
All the above and more are enabling discrete systems to get connected – the first step towards the IoE. As these systems proliferate and standardize in terms of presence and interoperability the need for a fabric that ties all of them together will emerge. I believe Tim O’Reilly describes this notion very well – Software above a Single Device.
I am excited to play a role in tying together the Internet of Everything.
I finally got around to installing my Nest Thermostat over the weekend. It is about 24 hours since I have started using it so I cannot speak to how well it learns and automates the air-conditioning at my home.
The setup process of the Nest – was a breeze. From unboxing to having it on my call up & running was less than half an hour. It is obvious that a ton of thought, effort and development has been put into the ease of install. There are three things that stood out as a part of the install process:
- Inclusion of screwdriver as a part of the package – very nice to hold, and custom.
- A built-in bubble level to ensure a horizontal or straight install
- And a base plate that fit perfectly to cover up the mess left after the removal of the old thermostat.
The thermostat feels like a large hockey puck. And the outside of the Nest is actually like a dial – you can rotate it for navigating through menus in setup or for entering information during WiFi setup or to dial up/down the target temperature.
I had tried installing a Trane and a Radio CT30 thermostat but unfortunately did not have a C wire. The Nest has an interesting design that can be installed without the need for a C wire.
Nest Thermostat on Flickr: