The smart home ecosystem will combine a variety of applications, with the set-top box, the home control box, acting as a centralized home hub. Not only will this set top box handle the entertainment such as television, movies, gaming and remote purchasing, it will also be the entry point for the home’s phone, Internet, telecommunications and Smart Home services – see Figure 4.
Figure 4: The Smart Home ecosystem will use a standardized technology
such as ZigBee to communicate via the set-top box to local controllers
as well as smartphones and mobile devices over the web.
Click on image to enlarge
Of course, what we call the set top box will evolve as well. It does not need to actually sit on the TV or even be directly connected to the TV via cables. Instead, it can be located anywhere in the home, in a closet or a cabinet, and then use either ZigBee to connect to the various low power, low data sensors, device controllers, and remote controls located throughout the home, or by using Wi-Fi, transmit high data rate, high quality video and audio signals to the home’s various entertainment devices. Wi-Fi can also be used to connect the wireless VoIP handsets to the set-top box as well. Driven by the cable TV and Internet providers, this new paradigm for total home control is enabled by reliable low power wireless technologies like ZigBee. In parallel to this Smart Home – Fifth Play evolution, new businesses will emerge that will create and feed devices and solutions to the operators.
Until now, the big challenge to the Smart and Connected Home was the plethora of devices already on the market which could not talk or interact with each other for the lack of a standardized communications protocol. The growing acceptance of ZigBee could solve this issue. Another challenge – the technical difficulty and cost of installing and maintaining these systems will be taken from the home owner and instead be put on the shoulders of service providers who will also be handling the monitoring and reporting for these in home systems. This will create new opportunities for service providers and equipment makers together, bringing our homes into a new digital era.
About the author:
Cees Links is the CEO of GreenPeak Technologies - www.greenpeak.com
Courtesy of EETimes Europe
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