According to statistics, there will be a whopping 75 billion connected products available in the market. There has been a steady adoption of IoT devices worldwide and the home automation market if going from strength to strength. The market is no longer confined to the luxury segment but has moved on to capture the middle class sector too. Though consumers are enjoying the benefits of connected devices, they are also going through some connectivity problems in home automation. Let us look at some common problems and some solutions:
Common connectivity problems in home automation
One of the challenges in home automation, which homeowners are facing, is that different manufacturers manufacture the connected devices. Therefore, they depend on different platforms of connectivity. Most times, their network interfaces are quite different too. Nevertheless, the concept of a smart home is the opposite – that all connected devices will work with all other connected devices, and this is rarely the case. This is one of the major connectivity problems in home automation and the solution is that there has to be a common solution that manufacturers should strive to find.
Another connectivity problem in home automation is that there are multiple controls in a smart household to control all the isolated home automation devices. The controls could be display panels of devices or smartphone apps. Too many touch spots create challenges in home automation.
To ascertain a seamless connectivity experience, a single or central point of control to connect all IOT devices. This would create the connected experience, which is the point of home automation. It could be any hub, router, smartphone app or cloud based software, but everything in the house should be connected to this central hub. This would go a long way in solving connectivity problems in smart homes.
Communicating with customers
Communication with consumers of IoT devices has to be perfected. IoT products, both individual and families are constantly evolving. But consumer behavior remains the same; they tend to choose user friendly devices, which are durable and reliable.
Customers do not want to change their user habits, even for smart devices. Manufacturers therefore have to come up with better communication strategies, which will allow them to understand the consumer’s needs. Specifically, they will be able to find out which of the behaviors consumers are most loath to change.
The IoT controversy
The ongoing internet of things controversy all over the world is that the ‘smart’ things, which are supposed to connect to each other, do not actually do so. So if you really like a smart home gadget or home appliance, you first have to check whether it is compatible with other connected devices. How do you control the device – do you talk to Alexa, Siri or type some text or control through an app…? Many people want smart homes to experience automation, and if still they have to keep on worrying about the controls or switching anything on or off remotely, then there is no difference between ‘unconnected’ or ‘connected’ homes.
The other side of the coin
Then again, the other internet of things controversy is that one single point of control will make it easier for hackers to attack a home’s devices. In fact, just one single node that has been compromised will be enough for them to gain access to the whole network. This is because, unlike computers where you can install anti-virus software and other security encryption, the tons of millions of ‘connected’ devices lack any kind of security encryption, authorization and authentication. A recent report by HP found that up to 80% of devices lacked the required precautions.
What are the implications of the lack of security in connected devices
In the worst-case scenario of the connectivity problems in home automation, suppose your automated door lock is connected to your fan or any other device that is not secured; then a hacker might hack that device and gain access to your lock system too! So having a common platform may not be such a great thing either!
Privacy issues are not just about hackers getting hold of your sensitive data. It much more than meets the eye- many devices and networks gain knowledge about their customer’s usage patterns and behavior. Things such as the time when you activate smart lighting, what TV shows you like, applications used by you, and so on, become easily available to big corporations. Using this information from a huge number of customers, big corporations can try to influence customer behavior.
You may think we are digressing from this article, but when talking about connectivity problems, we have to talk about what happens when there would be a single platform of connection. That said; let’s take a look at some ways to resolve connectivity issues with some new devices:
The ALYT hub allows you to control multipurpose devices such as Philips Hue Lights, D-Link sensors as well as cameras and a range of IoT products for power consumption, lighting, security, home automation and digital wellness tools. ALYT also works with WiFi, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, ZigBee connectivity platforms.
Cota from Ossia
For all your smart home devices have to run smoothly, the power supply has to be constant too. A reliable power supply enables operations to be free from failure within your smart home. The connected devices in a home transmit real-time data continuously, and Cota promises unbroken wireless connection. Ossia’s Cota won the Innovation Award for 2018 from CES.
The device can power many devices or sensors, even if you have just a few of them or hundreds of them in your home or office. This can be done by connecting the Cota Forever Battery to the devices, and works in tandem with the Wi-Fi connection in the home or office.
Connectivity problems in home automation are going to be there for some time. There perhaps should be a common platform to connect smart home devices to make it easier for homeowners. But manufacturers should also include more security features so that homeowners do not lose data or reveal data unknowingly.