Kill your hub – time for IoT to decentralise

Lights, plugs, cameras, baby monitors and smart locks are all getting connected. In fact, some 20.8 billion devices will be online by 2020, according to Gartner.

So far, the Internet Of Things’ first adoption wave has been muted – demand still trails the hype. Well, enjoy the quiet while it lasts. Because, whilst today, IoT runs smoothly, tomorrow we are heading for a crunch, thanks to outmoded network infrastructure thinking, says Philipp P. Spangenberg, CEO of baimos technologies.

As it stands, today’s connected devices don’t benefit from the internet, they depend on it. Whether you are a thermostat, a smart lock or a lightbulb, you communicate over one, exotic radiowave – say, Zigbee or Z-Wave – with your own, centralised hub, tethered to your owner’s internet router.

That’s fine for today’s spartan device landscape, and for small, closed systems environments, like homes. But consider how growing adoption will challenge available radio spectrum, and think about larger-footprint IoT deployments.

The inverse law of IoT is, the more devices consumers connect at home, the more device-specific hubs they will need, overloading both their local airwaves and their own router. Besides, why does your lightswitch command need to go over the internet anyway?

 Philipp P. Spangenberg, CEO of baimos technologies
Philipp P. Spangenberg, CEO of baimos technologies

The problem becomes more chronic in commercial environments. Imagine the hotel with an ambition to make hundreds of rooms’ door locks openable by a guest’s smartphone. Over such a wide area, many dozens of hubs would need to be purchased and powered to ensure every door is within range, meaning extra-high installation and maintenance costs.

How did we get here? Because, conceptually, the Internet Of Things was conceived too soon, before appropriate technology was really ready for the job.

Five years ago, Bluetooth existed, of course – but implementation was poor, and end users knew little about it.

So TCP/IP became a logical next choice, the internet became the long, circuitous route for simple local device instructions, as OEMs made smart homes that were more or less controlled by a website.

Despite the rise of apps, this orthodoxy has not much changed. But consumers are now beginning to want faster, more direct connectivity. They deserve it, and they can get it – if the industry re-thinks connectivity.

A better solution, in many cases, is to simplify connected devices by eliminating over-the-internet connectivity, opting, instead, for local communication – skip the hub and go direct. A simple, local standard Bluetooth Low Energy is the key – and not just to the hotel door.

Osram’s Lightify bulbs don’t depend on internet for flipping the switch. If Sonos, the high-end connected speaker maker, can abandon its hub to let consumers control devices directly, why can’t more OEMs?

When you think about hardware like a car or a house lock, it is clear that you should not be depending on the uptime or range of a hub to relay instructions from your phone to the device. For example, car sharing users – who could unlock their vehicle from their phone from any location – could accidentally find their car unlocked, leaving it vulnerable.

We all know that IoT standards are not adequate today. When you look at the smorgasbord of competing systems coming down the pipe tomorrow, however, it seems few of these have the right idea either.

To really satisfy consumers, it’s time we simply simplified.

The author of this blog is Philipp P. Spangenberg, CEO of baimos technologies.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_ OR @jcIoTnow

RECENT ARTICLES

SiTime expands addressable market with its new precision timing solution for autonomous vehicles

Posted on: September 30, 2022

Santa Clara, United States. 27 September, 2022 – SiTime Corporation, a provider in precision timing, introduced a new automotive oscillator family, based on SiTime’s advanced MEMS technology. The new differential oscillators are 10x more resilient and ensure reliable operation of ADAS across extreme road conditions and temperatures. The launch of the new automotive oscillator, AEC-Q100 SiT9396/7,

Read more

Semtech’s LoRa devices featured in Kiwi Technology gas metering solution

Posted on: September 30, 2022

Camarillo, United States. 29 September, 2022 – Semtech Corporation, a global supplier of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms, announced that Kiwi Technology, an advanced internet of things (IoT) turn-key solutions and data analytics provider, is using Semtech’s LoRa devices for its new third party class B network control unit (NCU) that connects gas meters

Read more
FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox