IoT and Smart Home is Making Living Easier like Never Before

Abhed Misra: System Applications Lead, LPRF, Texas Instruments

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Smart Home and IoT definitely makes life easier. When you compare the life a person with IoT to that of someone without, you truly appreciate the convenience it can bring. Looking back just five years, imagine your daily morning routine –  you wake up to the buzz of your bedside clock, brush your teeth, make coffee, read the papers, turn on the geyser, exercise, bathe and leave for the office. Once you’re back home in the evening, you have your dinner, put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and turn off the lights before hitting the bed. Fast forward into the IOT home of today – your morning alarm goes off on the Smart phone, your regular brush is now a motorized battery brush that tells you how effectively you’ve brushed your teeth, and whilst your brushing, your coffee machine keeps your favorite coffee ready! . Moving further into the future, now imagine that while you’re sipping coffee, your smart TV comes on and displays the e-newspaper with latest updates tuned to your taste and preferences!

By the time you finish your coffee; your health advisor on your smart phone prompts you on your daily calorie burn and reminds you to exercise. As soon as you finish your exercise and head for a bath, your geyser is already switched on at the configured time and your warm water is ready. On the way to the office you realise you’ve forgotten to lock the door, so you simply use your smart lock app on your phone to remotely and electronically lock the door.

When you’re ready to leave the office, your smart phone detects you’re headed home, and it switches on the air conditioner, so you can step into a pleasant and comfortable home! And what if you’re friend has arrived early for dinner, and you’re an hour away from home – you use the smart lock app to give access to your friend’s smart key to unlock the door!

With every passing moment, we are moving towards a smarter world. And the smart home will be a big part of this new world. One of the most essential features in a smart home is the ability to configure and control the appliances with the applications present inside the home which are connected smartly to each other.

As we all continue to enjoy the smartness of our home, let’s see what goes behind it to make it smarter. It’s not just the smart gadgets which make a home smarter, but also the smartness in using these gadgets. Starting with the technology which connects them, Wi-Fi and BLE are the most popular wireless technologies used in Smart Appliances or gadgets to connect to cloud, especially because of the smart phone, tablets and laptops ecosystem they have to support them.

smart house

We can see smart home solutions becoming much more affordable and a normal part of daily life for the   average household. Smart surveillance cameras, wireless speakers, smart doors, watering systems and so much more can all communicate, create local networks and be controlled and accessed from practically anywhere.

You can control the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system and other home appliances; unlock and open doors; turn lights on and off; and view video surveillance, all controllable from nearly anywhere in the world through your smartphone.

The actual story begins now. With so many devices going online using Internet of Things the amount of data being pumped to cloud is enormous, but just before you get online is the link which plays a very critical and rather crucial role in our lives. That is the hardware which wirelessly connects you. The advantage of IoT and the smartness of homes which is to make our lives comfortable is unquestioned, but how secure is it? How much is the hardware refined and defined, tuned and rimmed, scalable and futuristic, is the question which we all need to ask.

smart home

When it comes to wireless connectivity what we have seen lately mainly corresponds to:

  • Faster data transfer rates
  • Security, security and then some more security
  • Lower power consumption – longer battery life
  • Smaller footprint – smaller and more affordable products

With support of multiband in wi-fi and long range mode in BLE (BT 5) innovation is really helping the above cause. Challenges of wireless network management, frequency band planning, and quality of service, feasibility and cost are effectively addressed, by solutions from companies like Texas Instruments.

With engineers and designers investing time in developing futuristic solutions, some elements in the eco-system continue to challenge the integrity of those designs from the perspective of security and functionality. Hacking of data in wireless networks is one of the most talked about subjects and majority of investments are focused on these areas.

And the most vulnerable point in the entire ecosystem of connected nodes and people is the people itself.  Protecting your data is the most important challenge and requirement.

Highly differentiated and integrated solutions of simplelink family of devices from Texas Instruments, precisely and sincerely address each area of the wireless solution development and deployment. Texas Instruments offers simplelink wi-fi family of devices like CC3220S/CC3220SF which are highly secured and support the advanced certificates based security, making your appliances, gadgets and products highly secured. With a single chip solution architecture the design and development becomes easier and quicker, ensuring a win-win situation for both the designer and the user.

When BT SIG announced the BT 5 standard, highlighting the Long Range Mode (Coded PHY) and High data rate physical layers, the much awaited beast was unleashed. BLE being one of the most popular and adopted wireless standard was taken to a new level with enhanced beacon support for better network planning and at the same time security too was greatly enhanced. The typical range which used to be around 10m, now scales to 10x, thanks to coded physical layer with enhanced error correction. Texas Instruments simple link family of low power connectivity devices by name CC2640R2F are completely compliant to BT 5. The important point to note here is that this family of devices was launched 2 years back, but because of its highly scalable and advanced nature it can comply with future technologies too.   These technological advances make Texas Instruments an industry leader in innovation and path breaking solutions.

The paradigm shift in making homes smarter is driving people to design things on their own. In other words ‘design it yourself ’. With the highly integrated solutions from the total design perspective being offered from Texas Instruments, one can look at transforming the regular into the smart and extraordinary. TI website under TI- Designs section offers vast collateral for ready-to-refer and use designs. Just how Star Trek showcased a future, which is now becoming a reality, we need to imagine and visualize future design and development to make the smarter world a reality!

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