The Internet of Things has already revolutionized many industries, but probably it’s biggest influence thus far has been in the home. ‘Smart homes’ are slowly but surely becoming the norm as households increasingly seek the benefits of ‘connected living’, namely: more convenience, more safety, less energy usage, and lower bills.
According to IDC, the smart home market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of nearly 17% over the next five years. That’s huge when you consider the number of potentially IoT-enabled smart devices in the average home and all the different ways there are to connect and use them.
As the Internet of Things continues to expand at a mind-altering clip, brands and retailers are understanding that the time to get in is now. However, there are various ways to adopt an IoT platform and take the IoT plunge, and there are of course various IoT platforms to choose from.
Smart Home Iot Platform
One thing is certain, though: every company wants to get in as quickly, securely, and affordably as possible, while still maintaining product quality.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the four most important things to look for in a smart home IoT platform.
The Internet of Things is, of course, all about relationships: relationships between devices and their data. But in this particular instance we are referring more to company or IoT ecosystem relationships. Your IoT ecosystem supplier should have worldwide supplier and manufacturer relationships that make it easy for you to quickly find the best particular manufacturer — or brand, if needed — for your smart home product.
Furthermore, they should be able and willing to recommend manufacturers and suppliers based on your budget and go-to-market needs—the ones that will get you from manual to smart easily and rapidly. Without these already-established relationships, you will be reaching blindly and have to invest a lot of time and money into ultimately dead-end ventures.
2. Options and Flexibility
Do you want to develop your own smart home application or use someone else’s? Do you want to build your own IoT hardware or use someone else’s? Which cloud provider will you want to use and which connectivity protocol would you prefer to use to connect to that cloud provider?
A great smart home IoT platform gives you options on all of the above, allowing you the greatest possible breadth of choices to give you the greatest amount of flexibility when it comes to how you want to approach the smart home market.
3. IoT Cloud and Connectivity Power
You’ll want your IoT ecosystem to provide compatibility with all of the major public cloud providers so that you have the flexibility to change, if needed. You’ll also want to have the option to use the best possible connectivity protocol to connect to these clouds, be it Wi-Fi, ZigBee, or Bluetooth. Certain protocols work better for certain products and situations, so having the ability to use any of them gives you the opportunity to get the most out of your IoT ecosystem.
4. Military-Grade Security Data security is of course a top concern not just of IoT companies but of the consumers who use these IoT companies’ products. Articles like this one, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/kzdwp9/this-hacker-showed-how-a-smart-lightbulb-could-leak-your-wi-fi-password, point to the ease with which improperly secured IoT products can get hacked.
When it comes to your IoT platform, you really need to look at how the platform provider approaches security. Some key questions to ask are:
1. Which cyber security company and/or software are they using to secure their IoT products and ecosystem?
2. Do they address security at every stage of the data lifecycle, from collection and processing to transmission and deletion?
3. What kind of data encryption tools and methods do they provide?
4. What kind of intrusion detection system do they use?
There are various things to consider when it comes to IoT platform security, so when it comes time to choose your platform, be sure to ask your prospective platform providers these questions.
With so many companies jumping into the IoT space, your chance to make your own move is coming quickly, so don’t miss it. Choosing the right smart home IoT partner and platform is paramount to your success. Remember to think about relationships, flexibility, IoT cloud connectivity, and security. Have a checklist ready, and be sure everyone on your team plus the “powers that be” fully understand what you should be looking for in your IoT ecosystem. That way, you will be ready to capitalize on this rapidly growing market.