Within the next few years, you may find yourself talking to household items, but don't worry. You're not crazy, they'll be talking back. That's because IoT technology is going to change the way we live, work and play. To date, techies and cyberphiles have been the most excited about smart devices, but with a new report from PwC claiming that IoT will be a multitrillion dollar industry within the next 6 years, investors may want to hop on the hype train.
Survey says... sensors are in!
In a survey of 1,500 business and technology executives, "sensors" was the most frequently repeated buzz word. Smart fridges, smart thermostats, smart this, smart that, these products will all most likely stratify out by brand across the same spectrum they always do when some disruptive gizmo pops up, but sensors are the force behind the IoT revolution. Although it is not metaphorically accurate to call sensors the brains behind this phenomenon, they're certainly the prime mover.
Like the word suggests, sensors extract data from users, the environment and smart devices. They pick up on changes in air temperature, position and humidity, as well as the heart and respiration rate of users and stress points in machinery. Most importantly, they create all of the million little data points that, when combined, will make up IoT, and in the past year, they have seen investments grow by 3 percent, according to the PwC report.
Out of the 1,500 executives surveyed, 54 percent said they would invest in sensors within the next year, and 14 percent said they thought sensors were the most valuable emerging technology at the present time. Interestingly, Asian markets lead the pack in adoption with 24 percent of Asian companies investing in sensors compared to 18 percent of North Americans.
In terms of industries, sensors are most prevalent in energy and mining with 33 percent of companies employing them to detect emissions and dangerous carbon monoxide leaks in mines. Power and utilities come in a close second at 32 percent. Sensors are the driving force behind smart meters and other aspects of the smart grid, which will intelligently manage power to improve coverage and reduce consumption.
In third place, 31 percent of automotive companies are using sensors and beacons to improve their products and manufacturing. Sensors in cars are used for everything from hands-free parking, accident avoidance and traffic pattern optimization, according to the PwC report. Sensors are also being used in an emerging technology called the Harken system, which monitors drivers' heart and respiration rates. With sensors in the seat belt and seats, Harken alerts drivers if they begin to get tired and nod off.
With the emergence of automation services, it should come as little surprise that 22 percent of hospitality industry reps claim to use sensors to enhance their guests' experiences. Go to an upscale hotel these days, and you won't have to worry about the maid walking in on you during a nap. That's because infrared scanners can detect whether a human heat signature is in a room or not, so the maid knows when the room is vacant. Similarly, a new partnership between Brivo Labs and HotelTonight will integrate more keyless entry systems into popular hotel chains by utilizing near field communication or Bluetooth low energy. This will allow guests to check in and open their room with their smartphone without ever having to wait at the front desk.
IoT is undeniably going to be huge, and smart money will invest in sensors. How do you think sensors could be used to change your business?
-The Brivo Team
The Brivo and Corcoran collaboration advances as we continue to explore ways in which technology can enhance the museum experience. To do this the Corcoran students are using things like beacons, wearables, locks, 3D, virtual reality, augmented reality, etc. to help create a more unique experience for the visitor. For example, through wearable technology there are many options for tracking and detecting. If the space could use these innovations to identify the museum patron as they enter, the entire experience could be tailored specifically to them, from the delivery of specific content, to their language preference.
What would an exhibit experience look like if we were to leverage some of these technologies? A few weeks back, Corcoran participants presented their ideas which focused on personalization and interactivity at Brivo headquarters in Bethesda, MD. Take a look at some of the ideas below.
-The Brivo Team
The Internet is for people, but with more semi-autonomous devices connecting to each other, there is a rising need for a separate Internet for things. IoT has been a buzzword for a few years now, but, as of 2014, most devices connect to the Internet with the same Wi-Fi people use to check Facebook and share cat pictures. A new partnership called the Thread Group is about to change that with a special Wi-Fi protocol exclusively for machines.
Internet for robots
The Thread Group was founded by IoT big shots from Nest Labs, Samsung Electronics, ARM, Freescale Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, Yale Security and Bigass Fans, but they are willing to accept any company that works with home automation. One of the biggest hindrances to smoother IoT integration is that most Wi-Fi systems that people use in their homes are based on an IEEE 802.11 protocol. According to an article in the Gazelle, this protocol was first implemented in 1997, and the Internet has clearly evolved since then. Specifically, IEEE 802.11 was designed to only connect a handful of devices at a time, but as more household devices become Internet-enabled, that presents significant challenges to home Wi-Fi.
The Thread Group aims to resolve this issue by creating a separate form of Wi-Fi that is specially catered to the needs of IoT devices. This new protocol, called Thread, is meant to improve on IEEE 802.11 by being more reliable, secure, simple and energy efficient. They aim to accomplish this by creating a product that is designed for hundreds of devices, from thermostats to TVs and sound systems, to connect to the Internet and each other.
Variable speeds save power
The founding members of the group understand that Wi-Fi, as it is typically implemented, is set up for the way people use it. People want to be able to use the Internet like a racecar. It doesn't matter how much fuel they burn, they want to go fast all the time. Your thermostat doesn't need to stream Netflix, it just needs to know if you're almost home from work, so it can turn up the heat for you. With this in mind, Thread was designed to allow different devices to connect at different speeds. This enables your Internet to scale down the amount of power it draws during times of low usage to save you money.
Ease of use
Anyone who has ever tried to setup their own Wi-Fi can attest that it can be challenging. It can feel like you need a computer science degree to figure out which ports need to be open and which need to be closed. Thread promises ease of use comparable to Apple's AirPort system, to allow devices with limited interfaces to connect more easily while ultimately placing the responsibility of allowing or blocking requests to connect in the hands of the homeowner.
Redundancy reduces chances of failure
Wi-Fi can be fickle, often without cause or warning. If you have Wi-Fi in your home, then chances are it has stopped working at some point, and you had to call tech support. After waiting for hours to speak to someone on a half-muted headset, only to have them tell you to turn off your router and turn it on again. Power cycling is a common solution for wireless routers because of the way their architecture is set up. While it may be easy for you to run over to the router and power cycle when your Netflix stream won't stop buffering, it's not like you can do that when you're at work. Your fridge might be smart, but it's not that smart. As a result, it was important for Thread to be more resilient than older Wi-Fi protocols. To this end, Thread is built on an iPv6 protocol that uses a robust mesh network, so there is no single point of failure.
Thread is still in active development, but it should be available for use in your home within the next few years.
-The Brivo Team
You’re responsible for the safety and security of several building access points for your organization. You love the fact that you can manage who can come in and out of your building locations by utilizing the Brivo OnAir cloud-based access control system. You love that you can view access events from one simple user interface, from anywhere and at anytime. You can unlock doors or receive alerts from the sidelines of your daughter’s soccer game or while enjoying your weekend morning coffee at the local doughnut shop. You can even capture and watch video associated to access events within the same Brivo console.
But there’s something missing. You want to watch and record better quality video so you can more easily review event details. And, you want the ability to store video clips locally at your facility in addition to cloud storage, and access from one place. On top of that, you want all of this in one simple-to-use platform that saves time and money.
Today we announced our partnership with Smartvue® to bring cost-effective cloud and local video storage and management to small, medium and enterprise-sized organizations through the availability of the Smartvue Network Video Recorder.
The Brivo OnAir Online Video Recording (OVR) platform integrated with Smartvue provides the ability for organizations to access both live feeds, and recorded high-definition video to improve facility safety, security and total cost of ownership. With Smartvue powered by Brivo, you can store video at a facility, while accessing it from any web-browser, smartphone or tablet, anywhere in the world! And by the way -- Smartvue reduces total system costs by 30 to 50 percent when compared to industry averages.
We believe that this solution is key to a successful video and access management program. So go ahead and get started!
-The Brivo Team
IoT is going to change the way we interact with our environment. Within the next few years, it is likely that your mobile device will house much of your identity, not only as a consumer, but as a person. It will have information like your birth date, as well as your purchasing history and what brands you prefer. Your digital identity might even have critical medical information about you, which could help save your life in an emergency. This means that other smart devices in your area will be able to interact with you as an individual, which will lead to the emergence of what we call "social spaces."
Sure, the people around you might still be wrapped up in their own little digital worlds, but if you enter a social space with a smartphone, you'll be greeted by name by the space itself. Walk into the building where you work, and it will welcome you personally, and fill you in on any important information. For instance, if one of the elevators is being worked on by maintenance, or if the cleaning staff is in the third floor men's restroom, the building will let you know. Although no one wants to think about it, this information is even more critical during emergencies.
The walls have ears...and eyes
For the past few decades, buildings have alerted their occupants to fires by sounding alarms. Although they are effective for getting people's attention, they do not provide any meaningful details. If your building was smart, however, it would be able to tell you where the fire was, what stairwells were inaccessible and how to efficiently evacuate. In the event of a terrorist attack or a gunman, your building could alert occupants to the location of the shooter, giving people a better chance at hiding or evacuating safely.
I know what you bought last summer
Social spaces won't just be useful for greeting you in the morning and guiding you through emergencies, they will also be able to help you with your shopping. When you enter an IoT social store, the store will be able to pull a record of your buying habits, and make suggestions based on your previous purchases. Perhaps you are about to purchase some Skippy peanut butter, but there is a sale on Peter Pan peanut butter that you didn't notice. The store might alert you that the other brand is on sale if you were interested, then tell you where you could find the display.
Eating healthy can be hard, and it's only worse when you try to go food shopping while you're hungry. Despite your best intentions, that fried chicken at the deli smells delicious, and it can be overwhelmingly tempting to cave in and pig out. Maybe the regular sour cream is on sale, but the reduced fat sour cream isn't. If you're on a budget, you might try to justify saving a few cents on the full fat sour cream. If your store is a social space, it might be able to help you stick to your diet plan simply by reminding you of the caloric content of the item you are considering purchasing, or by suggesting a healthy alternative based on your unique identity.
One of the best things about shopping on a website like Amazon, is that it will recommend things to you based off of what you have previously purchased or considered purchasing. This feature can be really helpful for discovering new products, artists, movies or whatever else you spend your money on. This same principle could be employed by stores to advertise new products related to other things you have purchased. For example, if you go into your local wine store, the shop could recommend labels that either pair with or are similar to other wines you have bought from them.
People might not be as social as they used to be, but in the near future, places like offices, venues and stores will be. Not only will they be able to greet you by name, they will be able to make suggestions and provide important information catered specifically to your needs and preferences.
-The Brivo Team
IoT is proving to be the next battleground for trend-setting mega-corps Google and Apple, but in late June, a dark horse entered the race. Quirky, a New-York based startup, has introduced Wink, a new product intended to function as a kind of control panel for IoT devices.
Who is Quirky?
If you haven't heard of Quirky yet, you're about to. This small company has made waves with their popular crowdsourced prototyping services. Quirky is a great example of the amazing potential for monkeys with typewriters, or in this case, 3D printers. Each week, the team at Quirky's Manhattan offices sifts through thousands of product ideas, selects three of them and begins making those products a reality. To date, their most popular products include a flexible power strip, a milk jug that tells you when your milk is sour and an egg crate that let's you know which eggs to prioritize when you're making breakfast.
While they were knocking out all of these whacky gadgets, Quirky noticed one recurring theme: smart devices. People were really excited about items that communicated with one another over IoT, but there was no unifying platform for managing all of these new brainy gizmos. In an effort to make a kind of operating system for IoT devices, Quirky began developing their own, which they call Wink, and now they have caught the attention of goliaths like Google and Apple.
Running with the big dogs
Earlier this month, Apple announced HomeKit at their Worldwide Developers Conference. HomeKit is Apple's entry into the market of platforms for IoT devices, and (big surprise) it runs on iOS. Although Apple was first on the scene to announce their IoT control panel, Google is close on their heels.
Several months ago, Google acquired Nest for the cool price of $3.2 billion, and since then the two companies have been very busy. Recently, Nest purchased DropCam, a web-enabled home surveillance systems company for $555 million, and they have been rapidly incorporating their new acquisition. Nest is soon expected to make another announcement regarding their software solution for managing IoT devices.
This all comes as exciting news for IoT enthusiasts and technophiles who can't wait to be able to ditch their keychain for a home automation app, but if the last decade has taught us anything, it is that when Google and Apple compete, the consumer has to choose sides. This is where Quirky's Wink might gain some traction and pull ahead in the race. Wink is meant to be an open operating system. This means that it will be able to interface with IoT devices across company lines, and that might just spell success for the tiny New York startup.
Big brand backup
If you haven't been in the market for a smart milk jug or contributed to the maelstrom of innovation at Quirky's main site, then you probably didn't hear about the startup before they announced Wink. However, Wink has some serious brand recognition and corporate muscle behind it.
Already 15 major manufacturers have announced their intentions to work with Wink and develop products that will be able to interface with the open-source platform. Among these companies are time-tested giants like General Electric, and Phillips, as well as upstarts like Rachio. These companies have already promised 60 smart devices that will be controllable through the Wink interface. With these devices and Wink, users will be able to control everything from the lock on their front door to video cameras, lights, water heaters and lawn sprinklers.
Google's Nest is taking a similarly product-centric approach to carving out a niche in the IoT market. Already, Whirlpool, Jawbone and Mercedez-Benz have pledged their support to Nest. In an article written for the New York Times, Nest co-founder Matt Rogers explained that "No one wants to buy a platform. People buy products. You need critical mass." He continued, "you build great products, and through that a platform emerges." The truth of this statement has been proven time and time again over the past decade. As Apple and Google jostled for brand supremacy, consumers did not seem to be swayed by which company had the better software, but by who had the better phone.
As a third-party candidate, Quirky is a valuable addition to the Apple / Google standoff. They present a viable option for bridging company lines and offering consumers more control over what IoT devices they choose to incorporate into their lives. However, even more important than a market-centric evaluation of this announcement is the fact that all three of these companies are taking measures to streamline control of smart machines.
Right now, human users have very little control over the M2M conversations that occur over IoT. This is a good thing for services like Brivo Labs' frictionless access systems and social spaces, which allow users to move seamlessly through all of the locked doors in their lives without anything more than a smartphone. However, when it comes to harmonizing the cacophony of dozens of appliances all trying to coordinate and talk to one another at the same time, an efficient, unified, software platform will be essential. Mainstream brands moving into the IoT space is great and we are excited to be a part of the movement. It only legitimizes what we have believed for years - the virtual world and physical world can and will interact with each other adding value and an enhanced experiences to everyday functions. We look forward to working with all of them as the authority on authenticating identity and opening access points like doors, gates, turnstiles and more.
-The Brivo Team
In our last blog post, we talked about the broad implications of IoT for industry and commercial organizations, reserving a detailed discussion of the relevance of M2M frameworks for CIOs for this piece. Beyond transforming everyday life for consumers, IoT may present challenges along with opportunities for major advances in IT and business performance.
In addition to the sheer novelty of the technologies used, the growing world of connected devices poses a number of difficulties that have made companies hesitant to hop on the IoT bandwagon, despite the enticing promises of IoT and M2M. In fact, CIO, citing a Forrester whitepaper, noted that technological immaturity was only one among a variety of concerns inhibiting executives from turning to M2M innovations.
But these concerns are already being mitigated as power brands, like Google and Microsoft have started advocating the technology. Google's acquisition of Nest, and Microsoft's recently announced initiative to kick start a homebrew team of IoT devs are paving the way for new M2M interface technologies and improved IoT functionality.
Few businesses today are bold enough to take their first steps into the novel realm of IoT; however, we will start to see more and more adoption as companies realize the variety of advantages that can benefit corporate operations and customers alike.
Capitalizing on connected devices
It may seem easy enough to herald the promise of bleeding-edge advances, but the general consensus among IT experts is that IoT will be a critical component of the future of commercial operations. CIO indicated that the Forrester research specified four major issues that CIOs must grapple with when it comes to the future of M2M environments:
- Assessment and enhancement of employee software competencies
- Recognition of business results
- Management of information privacy and security complications
- Guaranteeing the alignment of organizational and skill inventories by establishing alliances with company leaders
That is, CIOs will need to ensure that both personnel and computerized systems are capable of collaborative functioning in a manner that is relevant to enterprise goals. Accomplishing this task will require both technological and procedural solutions. Much of the burden of this change will likely fall on IT, who will have to research and purchase software that helps them manage IoT-enabled devices. However, everyone will have to do their part by being more aware of the number of computer-controlled devices connecting to networks and other devices.
"CIOs will be a crucial catalyst for their organizations to capture emerging opportunities and harness the power of connected-world solutions," Pelino and Mines explained in a Forrester research document, CIO revealed. "Context-aware, location-based applications and services change how companies engage with and serve their customers. CIOs should straddle the line between what's possible from a technology perspective and what's meaningful to the business."
The transition to an IoT space that contains social identity management and big data analytics that are integrated with wearable devices may not be a walk in the park for CIOs at first, but it will be well worth it in the long run. IoT technologies like those from Brivo Systems and Brivo Labs are what customers are starting to expect.
-The Brivo Team
Due to the nature of their field, CIOs are constantly confronted with new technological developments and the challenges that come with them, from mobile communications to connected devices. IoT is among the newest--and most intriguing--advances on the horizon for IT executives.
Because the M2M environment is still in its earliest stages, it's hard to tell what increased connectivity will lead to and what consequences it will have for CIOs. This uncertainty hasn't stopped industry experts from discussing and speculating on the impact that IoT is bound to have on commercial organizations.
In an article for Forbes, for example, Howard Baldwin wrote about a recent gathering of technological and business specialists who focused on the challenges and prospects that will come with a world of connected devices. IoT was one of the primary topics covered during the event, which was hosted by the Washington Post, with Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute providing a helpful characterization of the new phenomenon:
"[IoT is the] extension of the Internet to the physical world," Mandel explained. "The Internet has transformed digital industries, while the Internet of Things will transform physical industries."
While it seems simple enough that IoT brings the digital world into contact with the physical realm, it remains ambiguous which sectors will be particularly impacted by increased connectivity. So, who will be most influenced by the new age of M2M spaces?
Impact on Physical Security
Though there are several answers to this question, one of the standout candidates is the physical security industry. Why is that? Primarily because this segment provides one of the clearest links between virtual and physical transactions. This connection is made clear by the fact that the word "security" is relevant to both the world of computers and the realm of bodily access control.
That sounds all well and good, but exactly how can IoT affect this industry? We at Brivo Systems are working toward answering this question through the constant development of contextual security systems that use connected devices and social identities to provide customized and convenient security solutions. Specifically, the SAM API is a platform that gives physical spaces the ability to recognize users based on digital credentials and grants or refuses them access based on their virtual personae.
This is just one example of how IoT is transforming physical industries, and its impact is not limited to security. In fact, M2M frameworks have the potential to have a major influence on the world that CIOs have to navigate everyday, a matter that will be discussed in greater detail in our next blog post.
-The Brivo Team
The world of technology is constantly transforming, leading to upheavals in every industry, from computer applications to physical security. The growing prevalence of software as a service has been one of the major trends in IT in recent years, with the advent of cloud functionality necessitating changes in enterprise data structures.
In fact, Juniper Research recently published a study that predicts a multimillion dollar increase in SaaS earnings over the next several years. Revenues for the sector reached $23.2 billion in 2013, but are expected to hit a high of $53.5 billion in 2018, more than doubling in the course of only 5 years. This growth is partially the result of the awareness of the relative dangers and advantages of contracting cloud-based applications as well as the comparative prevalence and sophistication of the product scheme.
SaaS is also projected to comprise 59 percent of the enterprise public cloud computing segment by 2018. Additionally, the platform as a service and infrastructure as a service markets are set to see major developments during the coming years. These advances are expected to result from the use of programs designed to capitalize on big data analysis workloads within the cloud and other applications.
Physical security with SaaS
Like numerous other business application domains, traditional hardened physical security is now moving "to the cloud" and using SaaS to meet changing customer and market expectations. The physical security market finally caught up with the IT market's adoption level of IP networking technology and ushered in numerous IP-based products of its own, from cameras to control panels to browser-based user interfaces.
In 2001, Brivo Systems was the first to introduce a cloud-based solution to the physical access control market with its ACS5000-S control panel. Users enjoy the benefits of being freed from technology ownership and seeing more rapid deployment of new features.
The recent fusion of digital and physical operations brought about by developments in the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) allows for the SaaS model to be applied in ways that were previously impossible. It's becoming far more feasible to manage material spaces with virtual programs these days, thanks to the integration of M2M environments with software applications.
Using SaaS within IoT holds out some enticing potentialities, including contextual access control systems. These novel networks can use forward-thinking platforms, such as the SAM API from Brivo, to facilitate more convenient user experiences within spaces while increasing the level of security of those areas.
Companies looking to get the most bang for their security buck may make use of social access management platforms to create a more integrated and frictionless system for handling visitors. These improvements are achievable by harnessing social identities as tools for authorizing people's entry into spaces.
For instance, the SAM API, which uses a REST architecture, can act as a hub for a wide range of applications that traverse the realm between the digital and material worlds. Its cross-platform compatibility can link many connected devices and put them to use within a security framework for streamlining accessibility functions.
Imagine if your workplace or favorite restaurant could recognize you, seamlessly customize your experience and grant you access to particular spaces based on an invisible digital passport -- this is just one of the many exhilarating possibilities opened by linking contextual security to physical access control.
-The Brivo Team
Last week we celebrated our 15 year anniversary, which means Brivo has been serving the tech community since 1999. To put it into perspective, let's take a look at what else took place that year:
What a year it was! This was also the year we launched our first product, the “Smart Box,” a connected personal locker that enabled secure package delivery for consumers and businesses. Amidst the Internet bubble and stock market decline in 2001, Brivo took the Smart Box core technology to the physical security market and introduced the concept of cloud-based access control. We started out managing access to a small box, and generalized that to manage large boxes, like buildings and other public spaces.
- Blackberry launched
- iMac introduced
- IE 5.0 released
- WiFi (IEEE 802.11) standard finalized
- e-Commerce took off
- MP3 craze began
- Bill Clinton impeached
- Lance Armstrong won Tour de France for first time
From dot-com era logistics solutions, to cloud-based physical access control, our most recent milestone is launching Brivo Labs, an innovation unit that focuses on connecting social identities to physical places—a concept called “social spaces.”
Brivo continues to innovate and evolve, while maintaining our commitment to providing both convenience and forward-thinking technologies. We’re excited to see what’s in store for Brivo’s future, and hope you are too.
Interested in learning more about the Brivo Story?
- See more pictures from our anniversary event
- Read our anniversary press release
- Watch the Brivo Story video below
- The Brivo Team