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Why the smart world is still so dumb

18 Jun 2015  | Cees Links

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But nothing gets done with this information unless someone in the home decides to take the time to log in on the utilities' web site and check the power consumption. That is not very useful. And then what do we do about it? If there is a big energy spike, do we know how to identify the source or fix the problem? How do we know which appliance is sucking up all this energy and increasing our bill? There is nothing smart about this meter (or metering). The current crop of smart energy meters are just stupid. At a minimum a smart meter or device should be able to detect and alert exception situations!

To be smart, devices need to do much more than just collect data and then transmit it to a dashboard on the web. It has to be actionable – the device information needs to be analysed using online cloud-based intelligence, and then, if appropriate, some kind of action needs to take place.

Of course, this applies to much more than just installing "smart energy" meters.

Imagine a home filled with life style sensors that track, monitor and understand how the family lives their life. What time does the family get up, when are they are usually home doing the day, when are they gone on holiday. Which rooms should be lit and heated? When should these actions occur? In other words, what is normal in the house and what is not?

By understanding how we as humans live our lives, using truly smart devices and systems, our lives will become much more healthy, efficient and useful.

The Smart Home hype cycle
The term "smart" has been applied to almost every web connected device and system in our homes. In addition to smart phones and smart meters, we are besieged by marketers bragging about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and smart watches.

If you have spent much time in the technology industry, you have probably survived numerous hype cycles. Remember Y2K?

What is the hype cycle and where are we now?

Right now everyone is jumping onboard the Smart Home and Internet of Things avalanche. Many analysts and large companies are making incredible predictions and forecasts which may come true. But it still may take a few years.

So what is next? As the peak of the inflated expectations subsides, these former promoters will get disillusioned and the critics will then launch their attacks. This is already occurring with the IoT and smart home technologies – we are already hearing complaints and tirades about lack of interoperability, ongoing standard wars and protocol disputes, primitive user interfaces, concerns about privacy and security – all of which are valid arguments and need to be solved.

But hopefully, as these concerns get analysed, worked out and resolved, we will get back onto the slope of enlightenment. The IoT and smart home has the amazing potential to totally revolutionise how we live – how we coexist with our surroundings, with our homes, cars, and businesses, as well as with other. We just need to recognise where we are from a technology perspective and make sure that the entire industry moves forward – together – recognising that intelligence is just as important as the connectivity and the Sentrollers themselves.

For the emerging smart home – Internet of Things industry to succeed, it needs to conquer a lot of issues—interoperability, user interaction, standards, etc. – but most importantly , it has to develop, integrate and roll out cloud intelligence that will transform our dumb smart devices into truly smart Smart Devices!

About the author
Cees Links is the CEO of GreenPeak.

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