Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Smart Home Summit 2015

Cozify attended the Smart Home Summit in London in late September. We introduced people to Cozify Hub at our own stand and also participated in a few interesting panel discussions. Read on to learn more about the event and our observations.


The organiser had booked a relatively small space, to be on the safe side, but widespread interest in the event meant that the event was sold out even after extra space was added. The event drew some 400 participants who represented an interesting range of industries. Perhaps the largest group consisted of mobile phone and broadband operators, but the event also attracted insurance companies, energy companies and consumer electronics retailers. In addition to Cozify, the exhibitors mostly comprised manufacturers of various smart devices, such as smart thermostats, sensors and lighting systems. 

Research

Several research companies were invited to the seminar to discuss their recent findings. Martin Garner from CCS Insights encouraged businesses in the smart home space to take decisive measures to share their knowledge and expertise. He also pointed out that many older routers used in today’s homes are unable to serve the dozens of devices that a modern home can contain. This means that the routers will have to be replaced in the near future. This gives operators the opportunity to integrate smart home functionality into their own routers. Cozify was also asked about this possibility by a European operator. 

Bill Ablondi from Strategy Analytics was on hand to talk about his research on different user groups and their interest in smart homes. He highlighted two groups in particular: Green Nesters, meaning people with families who value the environment, and Impressers, meaning those who want to impress other people with their homes. According to research conducted by Strategy Analytics, these two groups are more likely to invest in building a smart home, although their motives for doing so are obviously quite different. 

Becoming a mass market

The event participants also included representatives of traditional home automation. Some were clearly annoyed by us new entrants thinking that this is a market that is only just being created. They made several comments to remind us that home automation has already been done for 20–30 years. I don’t think anyone denies this, but the traditional home automation companies way of working has unfortunately restricted the comfort and security of home automation to a very small segment of the population. We, along with other new entrants, have a mission of bringing this comfort and security to everyone, even those who rent rather than own their homes. 

However, I do agree with the representatives of traditional home automation that this will become a mass market through entertainment and convenience rather than security and energy-efficiency. Of course, it makes sense to incorporate all of these areas into a single user interface to make the system easy to use. 

Big numbers 

We should also note that between traditional automation and today’s era of the Internet of Things, there is a first class of rebels. Manufacturers such as the Germany-based e-Q3 have been developing and selling inexpensive devices using the 868 MHz frequency for several years. According to them, a device that fails to exceed half a million units in sales is a failure. 

AT&T from the United States has invested a lot in their own security-oriented product, with rumours suggesting that they are now selling tens of thousands of units per month. In Hong Kong, which is considered similar in size to the Finnish market, Huawei says they received 50,000 home automation orders through a local operator in just six months.

These numbers mean that home automation among ordinary consumers have already got off to a strong start in certain markets. Europe is trailing these markets slightly, but this is also the region that is developing the freshest concepts at this time.

Read more about Cozify Hub at www.cozify.fi.

Antti / Cozify

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Support for Proove and Nexa devices, and Verkkokauppa.com as a new retail partner

We are announcing support for wireless devices from Proove and Nexa. The list of new supported hardware includes devices such as inexpensive outlets, temperature sensors, motion sensors and remote controls. Here is a summary of the new devices and a few examples of fun and interesting applications. The devices and the Cozify Hub are now available for purchase at Verkkokauppa.com.

Proove and Nexa have had smart home devices on the market for several years. They are often controlled by wireless remote controls, but they are equally compatible with other smart devices as part of a smart home controlled by Cozify Hub. By combining the functions and features offered by different devices, you are able to elevate your life to a new level of comfort and security.

A few examples of new applications

  • Remote controls and wireless wall switches can be used to conveniently access lighting and music to suit different moods and different times of the day.
  • The lights in the shower turn red when the relative humidity of the air exceeds 90%. The smart lights signal that it’s time to finish – a good function for a family where teenagers seem to lose track of time when taking a shower.
  • Cigar aficionados no longer need to guess the relative humidity of the air in their humidor, and wine enthusiasts are always aware of the temperature in their wine cabinet. A thermo/hygro sensor sends a notification to your mobile phone if the temperature or the relative humidity of the air rises above or falls below your predetermined limit.
  • A swimming pool thermometer can also be placed at the end of the jetty in a lake, allowing you to check the water temperature even before you drive to your summer cottage.
  • A thermometer and a fan heater connected to a socket are the perfect combination for heating your greenhouse in the autumn. Using one simple rule, Cozify will ensure that the temperature stays at 15 °C or above, leaving your tomatoes unharmed by any night frosts.
  • Your car can be warmed up in the morning by using a remote-controlled outlet, in accordance with your weekday morning schedule and the temperature.
A few words on technology

Devices that use 433 MHz radio are usually cheaper than ZigBee or Z-Wave devices, for example. The lower prices are due to the devices’ economical design and simple technology. Communication is one-way and unencrypted, which is why the equipment cannot be recommended for critical applications, such as locking. On the other hand, the equipment works smoothly and without delay in good conditions.

My experiences of Proove devices connected to Cozify Hub are very positive. Motion sensors, daylight sensors and door sensors have worked smoothly with Nyce Zigbee sensors and Osram Lightify bulbs and lights. The Hub makes it easy to set up the devices and the connection covers the entire house, through several structures, even reaching outside. The range can be expanded even further with “range extenders”, but in my case they have not been necessary. 

What’s next?

Proove devices are already supported by Cozify Hub today. Nexa devices are very similar to Proove devices, and we will extend our support to cover Nexa equipment in the next few days. Our support for Nexa also means the introduction of new device categories, such as a daylight sensor, wall switch and doorbell.

Once we have released support for Nexa, we will turn our focus to adding support for devices such as IP cameras. We are always happy to receive feedback and ideas on new devices to support. Join the discussion on new devices on the Cozify discussion forum.


Where can I buy these new devices?

Our support for 433 MHz equipment is based on our newly launched cooperation with Verkkokauppa.com. The smart devices they sell include Cozify Hub as well as Proove and Nexa products. Check also our own web store http://en.cozify.fi/pages/shop.

Wishing you a cozy autumn,

Kimmo / Cozify


This is Cozify’s blog, where we ruminate on home automation technologies and practices and share company news. Articles come from our own team as well as other experts in the field.

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