Most smart environments today, whether that’s at home or at the office, are a hodgepodge of different applications of varying quality, at times collecting information largely unbeknownst to the people nearby.
“It’s still a very immature market,” according to Ted Maulucci, president at SmartONE Solutions, a smart community company.
SmartONE, known for several smart community projects in the Toronto area, is still engaging with a market that mostly fails to grasp the complexities that come with connecting and securing a smart environment, Maulucci told the publication.
Attending a large tech event like the Consumer Electronics Show reaffirmed this notion, he added. While his latest visit to CES did include a few sessions about the business potential of emerging technologies and connected devices, the power of networks was still mostly represented as flash.
“People don’t actually think about all the components and the underlying infrastructure needed to make that happen,” he said.
But there are some signs that the industry is maturing, indicated Maulucci. Making it easier for ISPs to deploy new services at the push of a button has become a clear necessity for the future success of smart communities, and while “very few” companies are developing customer experience management platforms to enable this, the concept is gaining traction, he said.
One, in particular, boasts some strong Canadian ties. At CES last month, WiFi company Plume launched Motion Aware, a new addition to its intelligent services platform for the modern smart home that uses patented Wi-Fi Motion technology designed by its technology partner, Waterloo’s Cognitive Systems. The Wi-Fi Motion tech is integrated into Plume’s wall socket-mounted SuperPod nodes.
Oleksiy Kravets, co-founder and chief technology officer for Cognitive Systems, said additional integrations are expected to roll out later this year.
For some of the world’s largest ISPs, including Bell Canada, Plume has established itself as the go-to intelligent WiFi coverage solutions provider because of how easily, and securely, it allows ISPs to launch new services.
Smart homes and smart offices are just scratching the surface when it comes to the added capabilities of an offering like Wi-Fi Motion, explained Kravets.
Home security is one of the more obvious use cases, he said, but Wi-Fi Motion can enable much more.
“The big one is smart home automation,” said Kravets.
With sustainability becoming an increasingly important issue for businesses, Wi-Fi Motion can, for example, help automate the lights in a room, programming them to turn on only when people enter a room.
The technology also mitigates the privacy challenges and concerns that traditional video cameras present.
In the enterprise, a market that Kravets said the company wants to push further into, understanding how a room or space is being used can yield surprising cost benefits.
“Developing solutions for the enterprise is the natural evolution of the company and where we want to go,” he told the publication. “This technology is not just for security features.”
Echoing Maulucci, Kravets said the biggest challenge about entering a new market and deploying services into a larger environment isn’t the technology development, it’s getting the technology to where it needs to go.
“The integration aspect is something we’ll be looking at more closely and perhaps doing here next year,” he said.