LAS VEGAS — Marvell came to the International CES to pitch a ready-to-customize home server/home networking/IoT gateway system, called “Smart Home Cloud Center.”
The highly integrated unit, small enough to hold in one hand, enables consumers to manage their wireline and wireless network connectivity, store home media, automate home devices (i.e. lighting) and access digital home entertainment.
Marvell's Weili Dai
In an interview with EE Times, Weili Dai, president and co-founder of Marvell, called it “common sense IoT solution for home.” While acknowledging “a religious war” on the IoT market among devices using different operating systems and separate ecosystems, Dai said, “Our hope is to bring IoT to the masses, by offering a dynamic smart translator based on Kinoma.”
Kinoma, originally developed as “a next-generation virtual software platform,” had been used by companies such as Palm, Sony and Sling Media, before Kinoma was acquired by Marvell in 2010. Today, Marvell’s Dai sees Kinoma software as “an integral ingredient” to tie disparate IoT products and services.
IoT goes turnkey
Marvell’s Smart Home Cloud Center, a sort of IoT gateway on steroids, is a reference design. It’s designed to be easy for vendors to build their own IoT gateway/server system, so that different IoT devices can work together in the home.
Marvell shows off IoT gateway on steroids
While a host of vendors are promoting IoT building blocks -- including many connectivity chips and sensors -- Marvell has gone ahead and built a whole system, allowing customers to visualize what they could develop in order to get in on the IoT action.
Marvell’s system is designed as a “turnkey solution” for OEMs and service providers with little to no experience in connected homes. In theory, they can pick up the reference design, select the features they want and get a head start in IoT.
Marvell’s target audience for this reference design includes “OEMs with their own brands, hard disk drive companies and service providers,” according to Dai.
Integrated into the Smart Home Cloud Center are: Marvell’s ARM-based SoCs, coupled with the company’s wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, NFC) and highly integrated wireline connectivity (SOHO Switch, G.hn).
Cloud service and carrier markets
Marvell says the system will work well on the cloud service market, since the Smart Home Cloud Center can enhance mobile Internet user experience of home cloud services.
It’s also applicable to the carrier market. The Smart Home Cloud Gateway “can replace existing home gateway developed by major carriers worldwide,” according to Marvell.
In essence, the Smart Home Cloud Center is a “smart IoT gateway” enabling aggregation of local sensor information and process local analytics before sending data to the cloud.
Marvell's Smart Home Cloud Center lets consumers manage their wireline and wireless network connectivity, store their home media and automate home devices (i.e. lighting).
The demonstration at Marvell’s booth included digital entertainment features, integrated cloud services and home automation management enabling video surveillance and recording and LED lighting control.
Connectivity is essential to any home IoT devices; but some digital entertainment content can be easily downloaded and stored in the Smart Home Cloud Center. This allows consumers to stream it later and manage data locally without connectivity.
The smart hub equipped with storage space can help users to store and share content, avoid peak hour connectivity and help security as well, Dai explained. “That I call ‘common sense,’” she added.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times