By Mike Coop, GreenWave Reality
Another Consumer Electronics Show has come and gone; as usual, vendors announced technologies ranging from broadly beneficial to patently absurd. Based on actual product introductions, a number of categories seemed to make concrete market progress over the previous twelve months, including less insanely expensive ultra high definition television (UHDTV, also known as 4K for the nearly four thousand horizontal pixels in its 3840×2160 format, delivering four times the resolution of today’s 1920×1080 sets), advanced vehicle infotainment and navigation solutions, even more Android-based devices, and—as one might expect—a wide range of smart objects.
IPSO members stood front and center at CES with announcements incorporating IP-connected devices; whether classified as Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything (IoE), or machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions, members announced and demonstrated a wide range of solutions ranging from software and hardware ingredients to complete systems for networking smart objects using the Internet Protocol.
Two IPSO Alliance members won prestigious CES Innovations Awards, recognizing their solutions as key innovators in the worldwide consumer electronics marketplace. Atmel’s XSense flexible touch sensor won the Embedded Technologies category, while GreenWave Reality’s connected lighting solution won the Integrated Home Systems & Multi-Room Audio-Video category. Atmel and GreenWave also demonstrated additional solutions for connecting IP-based smart objects, with Atmel showcasing products incorporating Wi-Fi Direct technology from recent acquisition Ozmo Devices, while GreenWave demonstrated whole-home energy management systems targeted for both utility and retail channel fulfillment. Cisco, Sigma Designs, and STMicroelectronics showcased solutions to enhance consumers’ multi-device video enjoyment; NXP and Silicon Labs demonstrated solutions for smart home connectivity; and Bosch, Ericsson, Freescale, and TI unveiled cutting-edge automotive systems.
A key theme this year was simpler provisioning, whether adding sensors to a network or initiating a video stream from a mobile device to a television. Both near field communications (NFC) and quick response (QR) codes shined, enabling provisioning to be as simple as touching two devices (NFC) or snapping a photo (QR). Establishing a secure physical connection between two devices is the first step in enabling the benefits of IP connectivity; eliminating manual entry of a password or the need for near-simultaneous button pushes on multiple devices moves the market one step closer to truly ubiquitous connectivity for the Internet of Things.
Other IPSO Alliance members demonstrating connected smart object capabilities last week included National Instruments, Sensinode, and Toshiba. National Instruments demonstrated their LabVIEW for Lego Mindstorms robotics platform, providing consumers a programming tool to build their own smart objects combining Lego bricks with NI’s industrial-capable system design software. Sensinode showed their NanoService Platform, designed to facilitate cloud deployment of M2M nodes, leading to larger, easier-to-manage smart object networks. Last but not certainly not least, Toshiba showed a prototype of a smart watch, designed to connect to iOS and Android devices; in addition to display of e-mails, calls, and appointments, the watch contains a sensor which will deactivate the watch’s smart functions if anyone other than the owner puts it on. A smart object, indeed!