A foot in the door of the smart home: IoT home hubs

Catchy takes a look at the smart home, focusing on home hub hardware and developer programs.

The internet of things (IoT) is a rapidly growing area of interest for large corporations and developers.

We want to share some insight we’ve gained during research into the area, specifically into the smart home IoT market.

Something has to connect the connected home, and that something is usually a hub or router. I think that home hub will become an increasingly important part of the smart home, particularly in terms of developers adopting a company’s IoT technology stack.

At the moment, consumers and developers have something in common when it comes to smart home gadgets. They have a lot of options, but the chances of all the options working together are slim. Companies in the smart home space have to position their products for these two groups with care.

The internet of things is a complex area for developer programs- business and partnership challenges overlap with those of product design and software development. Fragmentation characterizes the IoT landscape. In the connected home, meaningful consolidation is a long way off.

The way companies approach hubs can tell us a lot about IoT and the smart home in 2017. There is a strong focus on increased consumer demand for WiFi, but some companies are taking the opportunity to prepare consumers for IoT connectivity and voice assistants with the same products.

Voice assistants can do something rather unexpected- give boring old routers and hubs an interface people actually want to use.

The success of Amazon Echo has some companies scrambling to refocus their efforts on voice assistants, while others still see mobile as the default control mechanism. There are those who want the control method to be your TV remote, and there are still others who imagine a system that predicts what you want and does it without being asked.

For now the primary purpose of a home hub remains the provision of WiFi in the home. However, this previously boring but essential piece of kit can become much more. Network hardware providers can truly differentiate their products by entering the smart home IoT space. If they follow that with an open and interesting third party developer program then great things will happen.

The next blog in this series will look at the different ways companies are bringing network hardware to market in the connected home space.

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