Why smart homes are the future of smart business

Cupertino, February 14, 2021

The first HomeKit compatible Thread accessories are starting to appear, and while it's good news for consumers, it should be good news for enterprise users.

What thread?

Originally designed by Nest, Samsung and ARM, Thread is an IP-based connectivity standard for smart devices. It is a low-power mesh technology protocol that uses existing standards, such as IPv6, BLE and others. In the simplest way, it means that devices from different manufacturers should be able to work together safely, responsibly and at minimal cost for battery life.

Now accepted by Apple, the HomePod mini can be used as a base station for a Thread network, with Eve Weather clearly destined to become one of the first new Apple-focused products to be delivered with support for it. (Eve Systems began updating existing products to accept Thread in the fall of 2020.)

"By activating Thread on their devices, Eve offers significant value today and lays the groundwork for a scalable and robust smart home ecosystem," said Sujata Neidig, vice president of Thread Group.

The thread is also a key element of the Connected Home over IP (CHIP) standard, which is currently being developed by partners, including Apple. And, while the current focus is on smart homes, recent years have shown us that technologies that are gaining mass market adoption will eventually be implemented throughout the enterprise.

IT consumption

Consumption of IT means that it is no longer acceptable for the technologies used in the workplace to be more complex or less efficient than those we use in our daily lives. We know that productivity, efficiency - even job satisfaction and staff retention - all suffer when people are forced to endure poor technological experience.

These changes in expectations are accentuated when employees work from home. Think about it: Home workers can actually experience better technologies and applications in their personal lives than at work, side by side on the same desk.

One of the implications of COVID-19 that has not yet been addressed is how to ensure that the technological experience that employees receive in the office is at least as good as the one they have at home, once people return to work. work more often.

Employers who achieve this balance will find it much easier to attract better and more loyal staff, even if they do not visit the office very often.

But IT surpasses the elites

What is important here is that although this is a typical experience for those who can work from home, is likely to reflect those who can not.

The Apple iPhone has defined an expectation of smartphone use that every smartphone maker strives to meet. Continuing the company's annual iteration of user experience lifts all boats.

Which means everyone you meet, from point-of-sale workers to delivery, maintenance and public staff, is already using - and expecting - the same kind of high-end user experience.

That is where the Internet of Things (IoT) will enter (increasingly), given the rapid proliferation of IoT systems in many of the same key companies that have insisted that employees participate in the workplace during recent blockages. It should be clear that consumption exceeds the so-called "professional classes".

Every business is a digital business

As businesses become digital, we see the increasing use of sensor-based solutions, data analysis and the implementation of connected smart devices. The devil in this detail was the existence of sometimes conflicting IoT standards, which means that business data was stored in incompatible silos.

As management systems enter the cloud and efficient multi-cloud management solutions emerge, we see a better use of this valuable information. We also see the emergence of new connectivity standards in consumer markets, which can help substantiate the deployment of IoT throughout the company.

After all, if reality follows the path of IT consumption, we can expect at least part of the future enterprise's IoT connectivity to appear in consumer markets. Thread and future developments of the project, also supported by Apple, Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), should intervene there.

We have to put it together

These systems aim to make it easier to deploy smart home devices from multiple manufacturers, using a variety of proprietary standards in a compatible way. CHIP remains in development. The thread (which uses the IPv6 standard, which is itself adopted in the CHIP model) is already available.

It is important to note that this latest protocol is designed to complement Thread (and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth BLE), which means that these devices should work together quite well when CHIP introduces the first specification later in 2021.

The imminent emergence of an interoperable IoT standard should help ensure buyers from consumers and businesses that any system they implement will be supported in the long term. And yes, although we still have to wait and see how these protocols accept privacy and the extent to which they are secure, this is a step in the right direction.

Because, in the end, it shouldn't be harder to deploy (and manage) a smart car than to install a smart light bulb or thermostat at home.

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