Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Lack of standards a barrier to smart home automation: ABI

Iain Morris
June 5, 2014

Lack of standardization continues to be a hurdle for operators targeting addressing Internet of Things opportunities in the home security and home automation areas, according to a new study from ABI Research.

The market-research company recons nearly 30% of North American households will have installed a managed smart home automation system by 2019, but says that selecting technologies and overcoming standards fragmentation continue to represent sizeable investments.

Those issues need to be addressed if set-top boxes and broadband gateways are to be more tightly integrated, says ABI, allowing services to enter the mainstream.

What’s more, while North American operators have focused on home security and automation that provide “peace of mind” – as ABI puts it – European operators have focused more on energy management, and those in the Asia-Pacific have tended to concentrate on the smart home and making the user experience more efficient.

Although a number of initiatives have taken shape to solve this problem, the overall market remains very diverse.

iControl’s (Redwood City, CA, USA) OpenHome Partner Program is designed to help third-party device makers ensure interoperability with service provider IoT implementation, while the AllSeen Alliance (AllJoyn) has secured early support from South Korea’s LG (Seoul) on connected TVs.

Other platforms include Imagination’s (Kings Langley, UK) FlowCloud, openHAB, Technicolor’s (Issy-les-Moulineaux, France) Qeo (which is also working with AllSeen), Nagra’s (Cheseaux, Switzerland) JoinIn and Prodea Systems’ (Richardson, TX, USA) ROS – all of which are working on making services, applications and devices work together.

“Interoperability is a key challenge facing not only the service providers but any company working in the IoT space,” said Sam Rosen, a practice director at ABI. “iControl has done a remarkable job securing the most pay TV service provider contracts in the North American market, but market-wide interoperability will come from open software frameworks and protocols.”

“This will help devices and services communicate with each other instead of individual silos – truly making it the Internet of Everything,” he added.
Michael Inouye, a senior analyst with ABI, says the market still has a “Wild West feel” but expects companies to pull together on the integration of services, applications and technologies.

“The next evolutionary stage will [include] virtual assistants, indoor positioning and connected CE,” he said.
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