By now we’re all familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of Everything (IoE). The idea is simple: let’s connect everything to the Internet so we can control and know the status of anything and everything from anywhere! And the industry pundits believe there will be 50+ billion (yes, with a”b”) things connected to the Internet by 2020. While the idea is simple, the actual implementation of this is still in its infancy. IoT covers all segments—home automation being one of them. Home automation is an area a lot of people are focusing on since the return of investment is likely to be quicker. Why do I say that? Read on...
Saving money every month on home maintenance is important, but not at the expense of your comfort and how much effort you have to put in to make it happen. At the same time, as you become more environmentally sensitive, you want to contribute to the “green” initiative. This is where “smart” products fit in. When you automate things in your home, they can run with a minimal amount of management on your part and potentially save you money in the process. The added benefit of having these products available through your smartphone, either locally or remotely, enhances the user experience. Imagine if you left your garage door open. You could lock it remotely from your office or even let someone in to your home remotely to fix something while monitoring them through cameras inside and outside of your home.
Traditionally, a more well-known and familiar segment has been the home security market, which has been served by traditional home security solution providers offering professional security and monitoring services to residential customers. This is a sizeable market at over $15B in the U.S. alone. Media service providers (like Comcast, AT&T, etc., in the U.S.) realized that this is an area that they can tap into to get recurring monthly revenues.
By providing home automation solutions like thermostat, lighting, security cameras, and door locks, cable/telco service provider companies are expanding the triple-play services they offer today. While professional services are not going to disappear overnight, these service giants can offer professional or fee-based self-monitoring services. There are also others who are trying to offer just an equipment purchase deal with no fees or with optional subscription requirements. At the end of the day, you and I will decide what we want, but our options are increasing, which is good news for mass market adoption.
Many products are being introduced in the home automation segment—from smart thermostats, to lighting, to security—even grass moisture controllers. Smart thermostats alone are beginning to see a lot of buzz. Recent announcements and acquisitions have fueled interest and growth in this area. Very bullish projections are now coming out from all types of analysts. Many industry initiatives and alliances are taking shape, including home networks (Wi-Fi, ZWave, Thread Group, Zigbee, Bluetooth LE, ULE,USNAP, etc.); peer-to-peer affiliations (Alljoyn, dlna, etc.); and cloud-based alliances (OpenADR). Interoperability, privacy, and security are few of the biggest challenges that these initiatives are trying to address. Both Apple (HomeKit) and Google (Nest/Dropcam/Revolve) are vying to be the platform of choice in this market.
In reality, we will probably have multiple platforms and multiple standards-based or proprietary solutions for a while before they all consolidate into one or two prominent platforms and standards. With big companies joining in—the word is out and home automation is taking center stage.
Micron’s overall portfolio of volatile and nonvolatile memory products are perfectly suited to serve these home automation applications. As the industry transitions to more “smart” products, we will have more opportunities to help our customers with the transition. In fact, we are already designed into production units of several of these applications and continue to be the memory solution choice for several applications coming to market in the future.
We’re able to provide products to meet customer-specific densities, packaging, endurance, power, performance, retention, and price points. It’s one of the reasons customers like partnering directly with a manufacturer like Micron who can develop and offer a broad portfolio of products and support services around the world.
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