RECAP: October Innovation Review + SmartHome
On October 12, the IoT Forum held our Innovation Review at our host, Nest Labs’ facilities in Palo Alto.
Nest was an appropriate host, as they have recently revealed new Smarthome products, as has parent company Alphabet/Google.
Our meeting had presentations of a variety of interesting smart home and connected IoT products, including:
- AI layer for the smarthome. It took a while for the audience to get comfortable with the no-hardware approach of Caspar.ai. After we understood the architecture, CEO Ashutosh Saxena, presented their success to date in deploying voice-controlled smart apartments in a few different regions of the globe. The key differentiator between a “Smart home” and an AI home is the learning and complexity that AI is capable of versus simple timer-based programs.
- Remo + is the Smart Home brand of Olive and Dove. With successful white label deployments across several Korean carriers, Remo + is set to launch a new door camera that promises the simplest installation of any home security camera ever! It hangs over the front door, with no tool installation, and runs on D cell batteries. This puts the cam outside, but the WiFi radio inside.
- Sutro.ai founder Ravi Kurani shared his vision for making pool maintenance less of the mad science it is today and bringing it into the 21st century. Their upcoming microfluidic sensor eliminates the need for consumers to test the water by hand, floating in your pool and monitoring water conditions and temperature in real time, providing notifications to users only when an intervention is needed. The device tells you exactly what chemical to add, and how much. It is connected to the cloud via Wi-Fi, or NB-IoT.
- Tim Johnson from Alpha, who are incumbent in pole-mounted cable company amplifiers, showed us their new Gateway product. Designed to hang on poles or cable TV overhead runs, the Gateway is a platform for any IoT network operator, and the platform offers real estate, power, and Ethernet drops (PoE). This is a power and backhaul solution for new small cells, Smart Cities, or Internet of Things using the existing HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax) infrastructure. This enables cable and fiber providers to leverage their existing real estate, bandwidth and power to offer new services to new B2B partners.
- Retrolux’s CEO Leif Elgethun enlightened us with his insight that the adoption of smart building solutions is inhibited lack of the retail channel to support the complexity of the system that requires as much IT knowledge as construction knowledge. Retrolux enables the customer to manage the entire process of designing, provisioning, installing and commissioning using their on-line platform, saving time for the customers and helping partners see 20% increases in revenue because of their participation in Retrolux.
We also enjoyed a presentation from Nest and their carrier partner Telus. Telus is selling Nest products through their retail locations in Canada. But the integration goes beyond sales, since the Telus retail staff will onboard the Nest user, and on the back-end, the Nest devices cloud-storage fees are added to the Telus telecom bill
Our panel discussion with IoT buyers had a few representatives from smart-home VAR and installers to Intel, to TELUS. The panel wrapped up the session by adding insights about the differences between $30k smart-home customers of the past, and the $200-1000 smart-home customers of the future. Ultimately, with the advent of technology and dropping prices, we want to give the $30k experience at the sub $1000 price. The notion of selling smarthome through builders was discussed, but it was noted that most builders are still leary about increasing the cost of construction for uncertain payback. They want to be sure their customers are willing to pay for smart homes, so should not be expected to be early adopters.