Category: Home / building automation and security

Noke brings Bluetooth Smart to the common padlock

Noke padlock controlled by a smartphone - press picture courtesy of Fuz Designs

Noke padlock controlled by a smartphone

Article

Bluetooth-powered Noke brings the padlock into the 21st century | Android Authority

This Bluetooth padlock will open for you and whomever you deem worthy | Engadget

This Bluetooth Padlock Doesn’t Need A Key | Tom’s Hardware

From the horse’s mouth

Fuz Designs – Noke Padlock

Kickstarter Page

My Comments

The smart-lock now arrives in another form-factor. This time, it is the padlock which is seen typically as a secondary or auxiliary locking device that ends up on the gate, cupboard door or to tether a bike to a lamp post.

Locking up a bike wiht the Noke padlock - Press photo courtesy Fuz Designs

Useful on a bike here

Here, Fuz Designs have put forward an operational prototype of the Noke padlock that works in a similar vein to the Kwikset Kevo deadbolt. This is where the lock interacts with a digital “key-ring” that is kept on your smartphone to verify that it’s the correct person who is using the device. Both these devices achieve this interaction using the Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth LE technology but they also require you to directly interact with the device before they will open.

In the case of the Noke, which looks like most of the dial-type combination padlocks or some high-end key-driven padlocks, you squeeze on the shackle to release the device once it is verified using your “digital key-ring” in your smartphone. This is similar to touching the bezel on the Kwikset Kevo to unlock the door.

The Noke has the typical smart-lock expectations like the ability to create extra keyholders and share these keys to other peoples’ smartphones, including creating “one-shot” keys which are only used once. This also has logging abilities so you can know who opened the lock when.

Noke Bluetooth padlock on gate - press image courtesy Fuz Designs

This doesn’t look out of place on that gate

The app for this lock has been ported to both the iOS and Android operating systems but would work with devices that have integrated Bluetooth 4.0 abilities and run iOS 7.0, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or newer iterations of these operating systems.

The lock can run for a year on a single watch battery and has a “phone absent” failover where you press down on the shackle in a particular Morse-code sequence that you determine. As well, it can work with most hasps, padbolts and other padlock-based locking devices but Fuz Designs have also supplied a padlock-storage attachment so you can clip this to your bike when you are on your way.

The Noke Bluetooth padlock can open up a product-development path for solving problems that users may run in to when dealing with padlock-based locking systems such as a lock that was intended for a particular application ending up being used on another application. It can also allow for the much-maligned locking-device class to be integrated in to the Internet Of Everything and tie in with building-automation goals.

Fuz Designs are raising the capital to get this product in to mass production by using the Kickstarter crowdfunding method but who knows whether many will pick up on it at a price that is more expensive than the typical padlock. Here, you would have to stump up at least USD$59 to hook this unit on your shed’s hasp and staple or padbolt and effectively link it to Bluetooth..

What I see of this is that it is a highly adventurous design for bringing the smart-lock concept to another form-factor which is totally driven by price. It can also open up these devices towards an innovation pathway,

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Another company links the existing air conditioner to the home network

Articles

Beat the summer heat with the Monolyth smart AC unit | Digital Trends

Crowdfunding-Kampagne für selbstlernenden Klimaanlagen-Regler | Gizmodo.de (German language / Deutsche Sprache)

From the horse’s mouth

Monolyth

Product Page

Indiegogo crowdfunding page

Previous coverage

Tado Cooling brings the smart thermostat concept to the typical air conditioner

My Comments

Monolyth air-conditioner controller controlling a window air-conditioner - press image courtesy of Monolyth

This is how the typical room air-conditioner will be controlled

Another company has followed Tado’s lead in providing “smart-thermostat” and home-network capabilities to the existing room air conditioner. Here, we control a lot of the recently-installed, usually “split-system”, air conditioners using an infra-red remote control and this device, along with Tado’s device mimics the remote controls we use for these units.

Monolyth, who are seeking funding through the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform are providing this device which is a black obelisk box that links to your home network’s Wi-Fi segment to enable control from your mobile device or to benefit from various cloud services that it has. Here, you use your iOS or Android mobile device with the platform-specific app to control your air-conditioner and can use the mobile device’s GPS facility to have the AC unit off when you are away to save power or have it come on just before you arrive to get your premises comfortable by the time you are there.

Air-conditioner remote control

The Monolyth air-conditioner controller works with air-conditioners controlled by these devices

Compared to its peers like the Tado, the Monolyth implements extra sensors to determine the comfort level such as barometric pressure, humidity and air-quality sensors. This also works along with learning weather-forecast data to optimise your air-conditioner’s behaviour to the prevailing weather situation.

Monolyth also promotes the concept of using the one app to manage systems on many properties as well as multiple air-conditioners on the one property as is becoming the typical case for most installations.

What I value of these devices is that manufacturers are adding a level of network-enabled smart-thermostat functionality to the existing installed base of air conditioners, thus allowing us to see the equipment serve us for a longer time. It also satisfies the reality that we don’t “dump” heating or air-conditioning equipment unless it totally fails or becomes hopelessly inefficient and would rather add functionality to the existing equipment using add-on kits.

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The smart-lock arrives in the key-in-knob form factor

Article

Genie Smart Lock Opens Doors with Your Phone | Tom’s Guide

From the horse’s mouth

Genie Smart Lock

Product Page

My Comments

Genie Smart Lock - press image courtesy of Genie

Genie Smart Lock – as a door latch

Most of the “smart-locks” that work with your smartphone, home-automation setup or home network, and are being pitched through the technology press come in the “bore-through” cylindrical deadbolt form. This style of lock typically has the cylinders (in a double-cylinder setup) or outside cylinder and inside turn-knob integrated in a tapered housing with a deadbolt coming out from the door’s edge.

Some of these “smart-locks” are “new-install” types that either are to replace an existing deadbolt and make its keys redundant where as some come as a retrofit kit that is installed in lieu of the turn-knob on an existing single-cylinder deadbolt without making its keys redundant. This is most likely because this form-factor is very popular in North America as a residential front-door lock and most of these “smart-lock” products are designed in that area.

At last someone has offered a highly-capable “smart-lock” that is in a different form-factor i.e. a “key-in-lever” lockset that is intended to replace the main door latch. Locks based on the form factor typically had a locking mechanism integrated in to a door-latch mechanism, typically with a “push-to-lock” button or thumb-turn and access from the outside via a key cylinder integrated in the outside knob or handle.

Here, the Genie Smart Lock works like these “key-in-knob” units but allows you to unlock the door either with your smartphone running a Genie-supplied app, a Bluetooth key fob or the traditional metal key. This setup is installed in that same “bore-through” manner as what is expected for most residential door hardware in America and some other countries. For some people, the usage experience may be very close to the card-driven lock on their room door when they stay at their favourite hotel.

This smart lock will offer the typical “asked-for” functionality with access logging, integration with smartphones and the Wi-FI home network, and the ability to “send” keys to others. But it even runs rings around most other residential and commercial access control setups by providing a display on the front surface that shows more than “success” or “failure” information. Here, this unit shows the current time and temperature and the name of the user who just unlocked that device. Personally I see this feature as an opening for a programmable text or graphics display on these units such “special-occasion-text” or “reminder-text” applications.

What I see of the Genie Smart Lock is a device that brings uncharted territory to the smart-lock device class, whether reaching to another common form factor or adding a programmable display to these devices. But do I still see the smart door lock still become the “tech-head’s” door-accessory-to-have rather than something that most of us can accept as part of the home?

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Honeywell answers the Nest with their own smart thermostat

Articles

The Honeywell Lyric: This Is the Thermostat the Jetsons Would Own | Gizmodo

Honeywell’s Lyric thermostat has the looks and smarts to take on Nest | Engadget

Honeywell Finally Has a Thermostat That Can Compete With Nest | Mashable

From the horse’s mouth

Honeywell

Press Release

Product Page

Lyric microsite

My Comments

The success of the Nest Wi-Fi-connected home thermostat which has the “learning” abilities and the distinctive round shape was bound to bring on an imitator.

Honeywell came up with the Lyric Wi-Fi thermostat which works in a similar manner to the Nest but also capitalises on their round-shaped room thermostat that was popular during the 1950s suburban housing boom.

This unit can work with most central heating and cooling systems offered in most countries where the furnace, heat pump or other equipment is managed via a low-voltage thermostat. It can link to most Wi-Fi-based small networks with a single passphrase for Wi-Fi segment security.

The network connectivity is to allow your iOS or Android smartphone to become a remote control for your heating or air-conditioning as with the Nest.

There is the ability to support GPS-driven “geo-fencing” to have the heating go to the “AWAY” temperature when you are away from your home or start “coming to” your comfort temperature as you get nearer to home, and can also work with multiple smartphone apps to allow all of the hosuehold to benefit from the “geo-fence” functionality. This may also have a limitation with households where there is that risk of one leaving their phone behind as they rush out quickly and could throw the “geo-fencing” functionality a bit. 

It works with the AccuWeather weather-forecast service to optimise the HVAC system to assure consistent humidity no matter which part of the US you are in

The Lyric system supports the ability to set up preset comfort settings for particular situations such as to have stronger heat or cooling and a high fan speed when you host a party for example. There is even a reminder function with the app where you are let known when to change the system filter or to book a service call to keep that furnace behaving properly and safely.

But most of these devices work on their own “app-cessory” island where they only work with a smartphone app developed by the manufacturer. As well, not many of these smart thermostats are optimised to permit advanced control of the more sophisticiated HVAC setups which implement energy-saving behaviours like modulating burners or variable-speed heat pumps.

This will be the way these devices will work until there are application-level “device classes” that permit other member of the smart home ecosystem or “Internet Of Things” to exchange status data with each other.

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Tado Cooling brings the smart thermostat concept to the typical air conditioner

Article

Make your air conditioner modern with Tado’s smart thermostat | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Tado Cooling

Kickstarter Page

My Comments

Air-conditioner remote control

The Tado smart thermostat works as a smart alternative to these air-conditioner remote controls

Most smart thermostats like the Nest thermostat are being pitched at central heating and cooling systems but there are a lot of places where the standalone air-conditioner is seen as a preferred option to heat or cool the home.

Typically these are either in the form of a classic single-piece unit installed through a window or wall or the increasingly-popular “ductless-split” system with an outdoor unit connected to a wall-mounted indoor unit via refrigerant pipes.  But these systems, especially the units pitched at the residential market, aren’t able to be controlled by a thermostat that can be hard-wired in to a central-heating or central-cooling system. Rather they are either controlled using knobs on the device itself in the case of older single-piece systems or an infra-red remote control in the case of most newer systems and the temperature sensor is integrated in these systems.

What Tado Cooling is working on in their current project is a “smart thermostat” that transmits infra-red control signals to remote-controllable air conditioners to have them work to a user-determined schedule or sense when a person has entered or left the room in order to have them not running when no-one’s there. These devices, like the smart thermostats used for central-heating systems, also connect to the home network to allow you to control them (and the air conditioner) from your smartphone or or work the air conditioner to provide cooling just before you arrive while having it off while you are out of the premises.

The capital for the project is being raised through the Kickstarter crowdfunding arrangement with the ability for people to have these controllers at a cheaper price so they can have better control of their air conditioners.

At least it is another way to bring the concept of smart HVAC and the “Internet Of Everything” to the large installed base of ductless-split air conditioners.

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UPnP+ links non-IP devices to wide-area networks

Article

UPnP+ links non-IP devices to wide-area networks | EETasia

My Comments

The recent extension of the UPnP Device Architecture specifications, known as UPnP+ is being worked on at the moment by the UPnP Forum. This is to extend the reach of the UPnP Device Architecture specification sets to satisfy certain new realities.

One key reality is to make UPnP work properly with the “Internet Of Everything” concept. This is where devices are able to interlink with each other and share their information in a manner not dissimilar to the concept associated with the Internet.

It will be achieved with native support for IPv6 across IP networks. This takes advantage of the huge number of addresses this standard offers compared to the legacy IPv4 which most of the Internet works on at the moment.

As well, a SensorBridge Device Class will be defined. This caters for the “bridge” device that links sensors and similar devices that work on non-IP networks with IP-based networks. The article talked of the non-IP wireless-sensor networks as being Zigbee, Z-Wave and ANT which take advantage of low-power low-overhead operation suited for those fields. These devices could be represented by “black-box” devices that stand between an Ethernet or Wi-Fi-based home network and the sensors or controllers such as the Honeywell Evohome Mobile Access Kit, but could also be represented as software integrated in either a router that also has a Zigbee or Z-Wave interface or a smartphone, tablet or laptop with Bluetooth 4.0 Smart interface.

There will also be inherent support for cloud-based “hosted” services to be part of the UPnP ecosystem. Of course, I find that the term “cloud” alludes a lot to services hosted by other parties away from the main home network, typically to provide remote access from smartphones, tablets and other computers connected via the Internet. In the context of “Internet Of Everything”, it could extend to service providers like utilities or monitored-alarm companies using this data to participate in the “Smart home” concept.

I would see this come in to its own with home and other networks that are operating along the line of “Internet Of Everything” and this could be supported with newer devices that have newer UPnP+ firmware in place.

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One of the first smart thermostats now arrives in the UK

Articles

Nest thermostat arrives in the UK ahead of an ‘aggressive’ European expansion | The Verge

Nest’s Learning Thermostat lands in the UK for £179 | Engadget

Nest débarque au Royaume-Uni | 01Net.com (France – French language / Langue française)

From the horse’s mouth

Nest Labs

Product Page

My Comments

Nest Learning Thermostat courtesy of Nest Labs

The Nest Learning Thermostat now can work with that central-heating boiler

Nest Labs have been associated with a room thermostat that is described as the “iPhone of thermostats”. This unit, which was available in the USA for the last few years, connects to your home network and your central-heating system  This also allows for a continual “learning-mode” for its operation and your computer or mobile devices work as extra control surfaces whether through a Web front or a client-side app.

But the UK has a different central-heating-control need especially as most houses use a boiler which heats up water which is pumped to radiator panels located in each room of the house. These systems also heat up the household’s domestic-hot-water supply either through the boiler itself or a heat-exchange tank located upstairs in the house.

A lot of these systems are managed by a time switch located near the boiler as the main control surface and may not have a room thermostat, with the householder overriding or “playing around” with the time switch for the heat to satisfy their comfort requirement. This kind of system has become a challenge for anyone designing a smart thermostat that is intended to work with any residential heating system and I have previously wrote an article about a network-enabled thermostat system targeted specifically at these systems.

Nest have modified this network-capable thermostat to cater for the UK central-heating system by implementing a control module that is connected to the boiler. The thermostat uses a wireless link to control the boiler to provide heat as necessary. At the moment, it doesn’t have the ability to manage the domestic-hot-water function that these heating systems also provide.

It is released now with an installed price of GBP£249 or a “do-it-yourself” price of GBP£179. This has also been the chance for Nest to release their Nest Connect connected smoke/carbon-monoxide alarm which also implements a “dashboard” on your smartphone. As well, Nest releasing their online smart thermostat in to the UK market is the start of them “getting their claws” in to the rest of Europe where most countries their implement this kind of heating system.

Personally it is the sign of a trend where this year could be the availability of smart heating controls for the UK and European markets.

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Honeywell Evohome–a network-based controller for UK-style central heating

Article

Honeywell’s evohome puts a smart heating system in every room, is now available in the UK | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Honeywell Evohome

Product Page

My Comments

Honeywell are pitching to the UK market a zoned central-heating control system that works with the kind of central-heating setups that exist there. Here, these typically have a gas boiler which heats up water which is passed on to radiators installed in each of the rooms, with this heat source also being for the household’s domestic hot water needs.

This system, known as the Evohome, implements wireless control using a proprietary 800MHz radio system. The main control surface is a temperature controller that is equipped with a colour LCD touchscreen but a householder can also purchase a “remote network gateway” that links to the home network to allow control from their smartphone or tablet. It doesn’t matter whether that are at home or away with this control.

There are various “wireless relay boxes” and “wireless controllers” that pass the control signals from the controller on to each other to manage the heating system for comfort and efficiency. Honeywell also even supply special thermostatic radiator valves that are part of this system to provide for room-based zoning so that this system can cater for local comfort needs in an efficient manner. The zoning ability also allows for management of the domestic-hot-water temperature to suit safe efficient provision of this service.

It is also able to work in a “learning” manner that adapts the central heating system’ behaviour to follow the household’s daily routine and lifestyle rather than the household revolving around the system’s requirements. As well, there is support for OpenTherm functionality for compatible boilers so as to support simplified installation and monitoring of that appliance from the controller.

But there are questions that can be easily raised about this system such as whether this system implements Zigbee or Z-Wave for inter-device communication especially if other devices do the job better than the Evohome devices. Similarly, the use of other common standards for network-based HVAC control could open paths for hardware, software and service providers to allow for a heterogenous approach for building-automation applications.

What I see of this is an attempt to provide “per-room / per-radiator” heating control for a UK-style hydronic central-heating system at an affordable cost with the ability to know what’s going on in each room and providing the ability to manage it from your home network.

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Consumer Electronics Show 2014–Part 3 (Wearables, Home Automation and the Open Road)

This final instalment of my coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show will be focusing on some areas that have had high media coverage. This are the connected wearable devices that work with our smartphones, the connected home along with car-based technologies. The latter two are underscoring the idea that the online life is more than the home office or living room but more pervasive.

Connected Wearable Devices

The arrival of hardware and operating-system support for Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy for smartphones, tablets and laptops has opened up a flood of connected devices that we can wear.

This is primarily in the form of the smartwatch which is today’s connected iteration of the “nerdy” digital watch of the late 70s and early 80s. Some companies like Archos have started to join the smartwatch party by offering one that implements the e-paper display technology for US$85. This is while Samsung and Pebble came forth with newer smartwatch models.

Rather than have a smartwatch like the Galaxy Gear, Casio has gone down the path of premiering a Bluetooth-connected sports watch. Here, this one-time king of digital watches implemented a regular sports-watch design which uses a Bluetooth link to work with a fitness app and support a notification display on the watch. Another company also fielded a Bluetooth-linked notification watch that is equipped with an analogue dial, something that could come about for targeting the “dress watch” segment.

A similar device that is covering an increased amount of floor space is the “fitness band” which is a connected bracelet or wristband that measures physical activity and reports it to your smartphone or other computing device. They have been brought on by the success of the Nike FuelBand which provides this functionality when in use with the Apple iPhone.

LG even has developed the Lifeband Touch which is a hybrid device that serves as a  fitness band or a discreet smartwatch that works as an external display for your phone, courtesy of its touch-enabled OLED display. Herem the Lifeband uses sensors in the form of a 3-axis accelerometer and an altimeter. Razer also premiered the Nabu which is another of these fitness bands that double as a smartwatch.

Archos and Samsung have joined the fitness band party with the latter calling theirs the Galaxy Band to fit in with their Galaxy online lifestyle devices. Garmin even came forth with the Vivofit fitness band that is more about reminding us to be active rather than tracking actual activity. Pulsense even worked on a fitness band that also can “see through” skin to measure heartrate without the need for other awkward sensor requirements.

Sony Smart Band - Sony press image

Sony Smart Band – an example of the many connected wearables surfacing this year.

Sony has taken another path through the use of a “Core” wearable device that works with different accessories and works on what they call “Emotion” rather than activity.

Other sports and fitness applications that are being drawn out include a Bluetooth-connected basketball with its own motion sensors to measure basketball technique, LG’s in-ear headset that tracks heartrate, a connected headband with integrated speaker, a heart-rate monitor for swimming goggles along with a brain-sensing EEG headband for games with exercise and an impact monitor for sports injuries.

Eyewear is also becoming an important “connected-wearable” device class thanks to Google Glass with its “augmented reality” function. Epson have answered Google by offering an Android-based augmented-reality glasses system in the form of the Moverio BT-200.

Even the concept of making jewellery connected has not escaped a British chip-maker’s mind. Here, CSR who are known for the Bluetooth aptX audio codec for Bluetooth applications have released proof-of-concept designs where a Bluetooth Smart chipset can be integrated in to jewellery to give it software-driven notification abilities.

But from what I see, I would find that the smartwatches and the fitness bands, especially those that have smartwatch functionality would be the more credible class of connected wearable devices. Similarly, devices for personal healthcare monitoring may earn some credibility with fitness enthusiasts, sports people and those of us who are managing chronic illnesses.

Internet Of Things and the connected home

This year’s CES is showing that this trade fair could follow the same path as the Internationaler Funkaustellung where small and large household appliances acquire show floor space alongside consumer electronics and personal computing. This is being underscored by the “Internet Of Things” and the desire to see the “connected home” come to fruition in the name of energy efficiency, security and convenience.

Samsung and LG have been using their stands to premiere their advanced whitegoods which interlink with their communications and AV equipment in their product portfolios, using these devices as an extra control or monitoring point.

Of course, this is being underscored by the various home devices being connected to your home network via Wi-Fi and working on the “app-cessory” model where you install controller apps on your smartphone. This has been underscored heavily with a lot of LED-based “app-cessory” lightbulbs that are being marketed in the US due to that market moving away from the classic incandescent bulb towards more efficient lighting and the LED lighting can allow for highly-controllable lights that can change colour at the flick of a switch.

Belkin WeMo Crock-Pot slow-cooker - Belkin press image

Belkin WeMo Crock-Pot slow-cooker – an example of the app-cessory appliances surfacing this year

Belkin had shown more of their “Wemo” smartphone-based home-automation subsystem and added LED lightbulbs to this equation. They also partnered with Sunbeam Appliances to premiere a Wemo-enabled Crock-Pot slow cooker that can be managed from your smartphone. As well, they have the Wemo Maker which is a sensor or controller that links garage doors, sprinkler systems and the like in to the Wemo ecosystem.

The Lowe’s hardware-store chain have launched extras for their IRIS home-automation system with leak-detecting smart-shutoff valves, a sprinkler-control system, a garage-door controller, a voice-command interface along with smart-grid compatibility. This latest feature can allow for integration with off-peak tariffs or load-shedding practices that the grid may use.

Things were relatively quiet when it came to the “smart-lock” devices with two such devices being premiered as credible products. One of these was the Okidokeys smart-lock retrofit kit that adds NFC smartphone, touch-card and key-fob functionality to an existing tubular deadbolt. This kit has been based on Openways smartphone-enabled hotel room locks and has been pitched as a “wide-reaching” device while maintaining the user’s existing key as an entry path. Another deadbolt offered by Goji implements an integrated outside display, an integrated camera and implements Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology.

ADT who are well-known for service-based monitored security have joined in to the connected-home scene while keeping their service-driven business model alive. They have fielded the Pulse home security package which adds voice commands via a smartphone app along with the Canopy smartphone app which offers protection on the go. They also offered extra hardware in the form of remote controls for garage door openers and ceiling fans, along with a touchscreen controller for their alarm systems.

They are still underscoring the serviced-security model even by extending this to your computer and home network by partnering with McAfee Security (now Intel Security) for a home data-security solution. As well, they are working with Ford to provide dashboard integration for your monitored-security solution using the Sync technology that Ford offers.

Technology on the open road

This year, the Consumer Electronics Show has also been been a chance for vehicle builders to show the latest online technology for their vehicles.

Google and Apple have made steps to integrate their mobile operating systems in to motor vehicles and are partnering with vehicle builders to further this integration. For example, Google partnered with Audi to build an Android-driven infotainment system for the car and underscored this with a 10.1” Android tablet that docks in to the centre console of various new-issue Audis to become a display and control surface in that vehicle.This is while Apple had support from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, General Motors and Honda for iOS integration.

GM are underscoring this with some Chevrolet vehicles being equipped with 4G LTE mobile broadband as well as the creation of the OnStar AppShop where you can add extra functionality through apps. They even offered a telemetry recorder app for use with the Corvette Stingray.

Even the chipmakers are cashing in on the connected car with Qualcomm pitching the 602a connected-car CPU while NVIDIA offered a variant of their Tegra K1 for automotive use.

Advanced vehicle techologies were being pitches at this show such as Toyota presenting a concept vehicle that is powered by a fuel cell. As well, Ford integrated a solar panel in to the roof of their C-Max Energi Concept electric car which allows the vehicle to charge itself from that panel to add extra driving range. BMW even put up the idea of a parallel-parking “auto-pilot” for their i3 electric car where you can press a button to start your vehicle parking itself in that shopping-centre car park.

The aftermarket car infotainment scene is still kicking along with Alpine offering the X009 9” navigation receiver that fits in the dashboard of trucks and 4WDs and interlinks with smartphones including having MHL support for the Android phone. JVC also is supplying a double-DIN car stereo with MHL connectivity, touchscreen while app-link functionality and Siri Eyes Free is also appearing on cheaper JVC head units. Pioneer are even offering car AV equipment that “doesn’t miss your smartphone” by offering various methods of connectivity such as AVICSync, MirrorLink and AppRadio.

Sony has also gone about this in a different way. Here, they have a double-DIN CD receiver which works as a smartphone dock. Here, your Android smartphone can be set up with NFC paring and, with a companion app, becomes the control surface for the car stereo.

Conclusion

What I see of the Consumer Electronics Show this year is a strong foothold for connected wearable devices, increased presence by vehicle builders at the show, a blending of computer classes that aren’t really delineated by operating system or display size along with a make or break for 4K ultra-high-definition TV.

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Alliance to provide a level playing field for Internet Of Things

Articles

A New Alliance Will Let "Internet Of Things" Devices Talk To Each Other  | Fast Company

Home Appliance Makers Connect Open Source Internet Of Things | PC World

From the horse’s mouth

AllSeen Alliance

Web site

My Comments

As the hype builds up about the “Internet Of Things” where devices can use a heterogenous network for exchanging data or receiving commands, there is oomething that can easily go wrong here. This is where particular vendors see the “Internet Of Things” as being the “Internet Of Things Around Our Products”, something that can stifle competition and, especially, innovation.

But steps have been taken towards creating a truly heterogenous Internet Of Things which is similar to what has happened with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless technologies. Here, it involved the creation of industry-based multiple-vendor alliances who put forward what is required for all devices working to a technology to communicate with each other.

The Linux Foundation have set up the AllSeen Alliance in conjunction with Qualcomm with their AllJoyn protocol which was just lately made “open-source”. The goal is about implementing heterogenous transport layers that work without need for Internet connectivity and work in a vendor-independent manner.

At the moment, they are working on modular services that look at the following functions: discovery, pairing / set-up, message routing, and data security. THis will include proper user interface requirements including a rich user experience with the Internet of Things; along with an application-specific requirement  for streaming audio over many connected speakers.

There will still need to be an effort to assure secure interoperability on a function-based level so that a system based on units from different vendors can work as a system rather than having he need for software or hardware function bridges to allow devices of one manufacturer to work with those of another.

Once this happens, this can allow the Internet Of things to be affordable for most users and be a breeding ground of innovation.

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