Smart Home Smart Home

Smart Home

- + Text size
Print

“Smart” home broadband connectivity will become a cornerstone not only to ensure the necessary coordination, but also the necessary levels of security and safety.

The “vision” of a few years ago is already happening and our homes are just one of the main scenarios of evolution from the world of Machine2Machine to the much more sophisticated IoT (Internet of Things) to that of the so-called “smart things”. What we are facing here is a scenario showing an increase in the services for remote and home monitoring and control even through your smartphone; efficiency and control services in electricity and energy consumption; for temperature and air conditioning control; safety systems (ex. for gas leaks); security systems (such as access control and intrusion alarm systems); lighting systems, automation and home automation; systems for well-being and “wellness” but also for health care at home (the so-called "Ambient Assisted Living"). 

However, this scenario also leads to a transformation of home objects which from "specialized objects" become "terminals" of a service that is usually in the network: a happy definition calls them "Service Avatars", the new terminals of the house.

  • they are composed of a growing number of connected devices and sensors with the ability to process and communicate ;
  • they exploit the cloud ability through common platforms for data collection and processing and no longer silos of vertical and proprietary solutions;
  • they are built on virtualization layers so often a service is also a "server" to other applications or services developed by third parties;
  • they integrate new man-machine interfaces, including interfaces based on image recognition and augmented reality;
  • they progressively integrate social feedback, both from traditional social networks, and through the creation of new communities of interest and communication;
  • finally they are major data generators, and the development of platforms, protocols and APIs (Application Program Interfaces) will allow the development of service models based on the use of the data (BigData).

Here are some examples of applications that are now "commercial" in the field of energy consumption and security. The Energy@Home project, strongly promoted by Telecom Italia, already sums up some of these concepts very well in the field of home connectivity of appliances to each other and to the electricity grid through the broadband network in order to implement automatic saving and efficiency policies, to allow monitoring and control, even remotely and also "social feedback" of personal consumption compared to other similar households. The project has now reached the commercial availability of certain products.

Also on this line we see that in the U.S. the NESTsmart thermostat, Wi-Fi controlled and with the ability to "learn" user behaviour in order to optimize the consumption of home air conditioning, just a year after its launch has already surpassed all sale forecasts, despite the price ($250) which is not really "inexpensive".

Even the "smart locks" are now on the market: Yale Real Living, for example, is a lock for our homes enabled by NFC and mobile phone (and connected to the Cloud): the "key" to enter the house is a software that is downloaded "over the air" via mobile network, on a NFC smartphone

Gabriele Elia gabriele.elia@telecomitalia.it