The resilience of connected objects in the Smart Home is a subject that is often overlooked by landlords and end-users.
The Lack of resilience across Smart Home Products resides in their recency; gadgets have driven the smart home market in its infancy. Such gadgets had meager resistance to breakdowns and cyberattacks.
There is an increased necessity to operate on a controlled network. Resilience to failure is thus closely associated with safety.
There are three types of communication architecture: point-to-point communications between objects, those that pass through the gateway, and those that use cloud-to-cloud operation.
Unlike cloud-to-cloud operation, point-to-point communication will allow objects to continue to work in the event of an internet shortage; however, it usually provides less functionality.
Voice assistants such as Alexa or Google Home need computing power, but they are not indispensable and thus can stay in cloud-to-cloud.
On the other hand, the connected thermostats must have their basic point-to-point function to prevent them from becoming unusable in the event of a power failure.
For example, in November 2018, Netatmo experienced an incident on its servers controlling its connected thermostats.
The failure affected the cloud-to-cloud command but the command remained functional manually.
The configuration is often linked to the protocol. Zigbee for example does not operate through the cloud but through the gateway.
On the contrary, Wi-Fi objects generally use cloud-to-cloud communication. The software layer of the devices is crucial.
Edge computing stands out as a future-proof solution for performing calculations locally rather than via the cloud and thus ensuring operation in the event of a poor Internet connection.
To date, one of the main problem areas in the Smart Home market is that it is too fragmented.
There is a wide variety of connectivity protocols, and this poses several problems.
First of all, it is very difficult for consumers to navigate. The different devices in the connected home do not rely on the same protocols, and each purchase must, therefore, be carefully considered and checked to avoid ending up with incompatible products.
In order to improve the compatibility, security, and resilience of Smart Home devices, Apple, Google, Amazon, and Zigbee Alliance members have decided to join forces.
Together, they plan to develop a new standard connectivity protocol through the Connected Home over IP (Internet Protocol) project.
This working group will take an open-source approach to the development and implementation of a new unified connectivity protocol.
The project members hope to enable communication between all connected objects, mobile applications, and cloud services and to define a specific set of networking technologies for device certification.
This new protocol will complement existing technologies, and members of the group encourage manufacturers to continue to innovate using these technologies.
Builders, chip vendors and other developers in the connected home industry are encouraged to contribute and participate in the development of this standard.
In addition to Amazon, Google, and Apple, several members of the Zigbee Alliance have agreed to play the game.
These members include IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian.
Despite the support behind the development, it is not yet known when the new standard will be operational and ready for large-scale deployment.