An open platform that allows multiple home devices to interact with each other has been created by the Thread Group, and it includes partners such as Samsung, Nest, Silicon Labs, BigAss Fans, ARM and Freescale. It uses IPv6 technology with 6LoWPAN as the foundation, and is designed to be used with home technology such as climate control, energy management, lighting safety, appliance, security and more.
“We wanted to build a technology that uses and combines the best of what’s out there and create a networking protocol that can help the internet of things realize its potential for years to come,” according to their website. Thread is not the only group to create such a system. The AllSeen Alliance was established last year by major players such as Sharp, Panasonic and Microsoft for a similar purpose.
Meanwhile Apple also has their Homekit, which would allow a user to employ an iPhone or iPad to interface with a home automation system.
The Internet of Things
For some, the ability to control their home appliances and climate through a mobile device is very appealing. There are all sorts of things, like being able to look inside a refrigerator or freezer from a remote location to check the contents that could save not only energy, but also food and time.
For example, some freezers and refrigerators are overly full, but the food is old and unlikely to ever be consumed. Still, it remains inside, which requires energy to chill and keep it frozen.
Would it be possible some day for food expiration dates to be automatically entered when the food items are swiped at grocery store bar code readers, so that information can be sent to a mobile device? Alerts could also be set up so that before food is set to expire, owners can get messages that it needs to be consumed or removed. So not only would you reduce energy usage by not cooling expired food, but you’d also save money by reducing food waste, which in turn means less trash heading to the landfill.
It isn’t just the capacity to manage multiple devices; it is also the dashboards and their analytics that are exciting. Having intelligent home automation systems might usher in a new interest in energy management when users see how much data is available to them. People could be coached and encouraged to reduce energy usage, and just knowing what appliances use the most power could lead to a reduction in their use.
Home networking technology is not new; people have been creating and tweaking their own systems for years. What we can do with home networking is what’s really exciting, and the growth of data-driven home management holds a lot of potential that is only expanding.