Skip to main content

Intelligent Home Automation - Smart, isn't It?

Amazon’s Alexa will now talk to GE’s connected appliances in a smart home push is the headline on Techrepublic that got me thinking today. Home automation is definitely on the rise again.

Wow, that's cool, being able to manage my home without any remotes, which my kids tend to lose somewhere, anyways. Thinking of the kids: How about the ability to have an override on their TV usage ...

Home Automation is the Future

Home automation or smart homes are on the list of hot topics for quite a while. The intelligent fridge that automatically orders food items that are about to run out is a decades old story. Its first mention was about 1998. Even my 12-year-old house here in NZ is fully wired and has some (not so, admittedly – but pretty expensive if you need to repair them) smart controllers which probably could control more than they effectively do.

Technology like this is not only exciting but offers quite some potential to make our lives far simpler and to improve the experience of using the connected devices, well, with that of living in our homes.
Still, many attempts at smart homes have been done over the years, most have failed or were not that successful.

Comes the cloud and massive improvements in computing power.

Comes the mobile phone and the tablet.

Comes working voice recognition.

Comes predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Well, AI is around since at least the mid 60s; Weizenbaum’s famous Eliza dates back to 1966. Alan Turing developed his famous test in 1950. AI was again a hip topic in the 90s (my thesis back in 92 was about knowledge based AI systems; but that is almost prehistoric …).

And now we have intelligent assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, to name but a few – with Siri probably having some of its intelligence directly on the device. But notably, most of these systems have their intelligence in the cloud, or more precisely on servers owned by their makers.

The Way it Works

Let’s go back to home automation again. Having the intelligence that controls my house on a remote server basically means that whatever command is given goes there via my LAN, through my router, into the cloud where it gets interpreted – and all the way back.

At the same time cybercrime is soaring (data from Symantec), reports on hacked cars are coming in at more than a drip rate. Try googling ‘hacked cars’! This query retrieved 780,000 hits.

Home networks are regularly the weakest protected networks. How many people do not even bother to change the default password of their Internet router? With all the hype and also all the admiration for the great tools that have been developed by Apple, Google, Amazon and all the other companies this sounds like a pretty big risk to me. Still none of the vendors says much about security; if anything at all it is about the communication between my gadgets and their intelligence happening via SSL.

A Better Paradigm

With all the hype and admiration of what these companies have achieved there must be another way that exposes the user of these exciting technologies somewhat less and makes her sleep better. And that still works with the Internet connection down …

Think Edge Computing.

Let’s have a look at Tesla, Apple Car, Uber, Google Car. All of these models of self-driving cars rely on a very powerful AI, and on machine learning, too.

But they employ local intelligence in combination with swarm learning. This means that the intelligence is on the car, and for several good reasons that I do not want to discuss here.
Apply this to the smart home!

There is a local intelligence that talks to the devices. This communication is fully encrypted. This communication does not leave the home as long as I am in my home. Local learnings may still get sent to the main brains, in an anonymized way. New learnings get pushed back to my local brains. Fully encrypted, too.

This is far more secure, even in the scenario of me using my smart phone from wherever I happen to be on this planet.

And as a side effect there is increased privacy, too. But this is probably more of an obstacle to Google and Amazon.

The technologies are all there. The experience would be the same if not better. And the customer could sleep better, too.


What do you think?

Last Year's Top 5 Popular Posts

A Love Affair - Nimble Smart Contacts for Outlook Mobile

Social Selling pioneer Nimble has an awesome start into 2017. First it got number 1 in CRM satisfaction by G2Crowd earlier in January, then friend and CRM godfather Paul Greenberg named Nimble a winner of the 2017 CRM Watchlist awards, and now Nimble announces the Smart Contacts add-in for Outlook, a deep integration into Outlook for iOS, with an integration into Outlook for Android coming soon. The Nimble Smart Contacts add-in brings the power of Nimble’s view on contacts to Outlook for mobile users, after the widget and Outlook add-on already offered this functionality for the web- and Outlook clients. The add-on follows the philosophy that for most companies the e-mail account is still their CRM system; given this, this is a straightforward enhancement. Nimble acknowledges that there are two main email systems used in businesses: Gmail and Office365, and now fully supports them both. This integration delivers the profiling data that the Nimble back end gathers practically at any plac…

Mass Distraction - The Case for a Consolidated Marketing Platform

These days, customer experiences increasingly need to be delivered with the help of technology. This does not mean that direct interactions and people are no more important in marketing, sales, or service; on the contrary, but that an increasing number of customers is using the web, social media, chat, or an app to identify suitable products or services or to resolve an issue, when needed. The Customer Executive Board found that 57 per cent of the buying process is already completed before sales personnel get engaged. A Cisco retail study confirms the American Express findings and states that around 60 per cent of all in-store purchases start their journey electronically. The American Express Global Barometer claims that 60 per cent of all customers abandoned a purchase because of poor service experiences. Over the past 20 or so years the way products and services get sold and customer service as well as marketing get delivered to customers changed dramatically. Gone are the times wher…

Google and SAP - A Marriage in the Clouds

On Mach 8, 2017, SAP and Google announced another marriage in the cloud during Google’s Cloud Next event: SAP HANA is certified on Google’s Cloud Platform GCP, and is generally available now. SAP Cloud Platform and more products and solutions are to follow. The Google Cloud Launcher marketplace will be utilized to offer and deploy to and for customers and partners, starting with SAP HANA, express edition, which is already available, too. Further topics that are covered by this partnership are ·Improving Google’s containerization technologies for enterprise workloads ·Security, privacy, and integrity of customer data in the cloud. As part of this SAP software shall act as a data custodian (NB: How that works in legal and political environments remains to be seen) and joint solutions for access control, governance, risk and compliance shall get developed ·Integrate Google’s G Suite into SAP applications. This has already been implemented for Identity and Access Management. More on the still f…

Clash of Titans

Following all those announcements of AI, machine learning, IoT, IaaS, PaaS and what not over the past months, I was beginning to wonder where the big business software vendors are going. What is the game plan of Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP? How does newcomer Adobe fit in there? Maybe Amazon and Google, too; or Facebook. It is a time for another Quo Vadis – this time: Quo Vadis, industry? Clash of Titans In the last about 2 – 3 years we have seen a strong acceleration of innovation, or at least talk about it. -Cloud computing, offering nearly unlimited scalability and elasticity of computing resources has become main stream. Cloud computing also allows for nearly 100 per cent uptime -Since the advent of the iPhone (yes, I know this was earlier than 2013) the proliferation of sensors has increased a lot, resulting in them becoming cheaper and cheaper, allowing for an increasing number of data rich applications -This has also driven fast mobile connectivity, which has become nearly u…

Watson meets Einstein - Elementary my Dear Holmes

This week Salesforce and IBM announced a global strategic partnership to deliver joint, AI based solutions based upon Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson, their respective AI platforms. The upcoming solutions will be designed to “deliver everage artificial intelligence and enable companies to make smarter decisions, faster than ever before. With the partnership, IBM Watson, the leading AI platform for business, and Salesforce Einstein, AI that powers the world’s #1 CRM, will seamlessly connect to enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more.” IBM Watson will be connected to the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform in a way that augments the customer specific insights that are delivered by Einstein with its structured and unstructured data that comes from a variety of sources, in order to be able to use specific as well as more generic, yet industry relevant, information. “Together, Watson and Einstein wil…