New M2M radio specs could challenge mobile networks

13 April 2013 by Steve Blum
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Wide area of possibilities.

Two new low power standards for wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) communications have been released in the past couple of weeks. The Zigbee Alliance and the Weightless special interest group have published specifications for wide area networking standards that address the low power, low bit rate needs of many M2M applications. Both are initially targeting the smart grid sector, which is growing rapidly as electricity providers deploy tools to intelligently manage power distribution systems in real time.… More

Oh, you mean a Maxwell Smart home

“Chaos is an opportunity for people like me,” said Tom Kadlec, one of the founders of The Homeworks Group. They do the hard work of integrating and managing home automation systems for about a thousand subscribers. Both he and his partner have electrical engineering degrees, which is great for them but not so good for the home handyman who majored in, say, political science.

Come quick, 99. I’m surrounded by ARMed phones.

Protocol agnostic and easy to use: home automation needs heavy helpings of both if it’s to ever find its secret sauce.… More

No mass market home automation players yet

Incremental advancement but no break through into the mass market for the home automation sector at CES this year. It remains a niche for hobbyists and specialty contractors.

Core technology companies, such as Qualcomm, NXP and Marvell, continue to support it. And there’s no shortage of companies offering, or at least developing, home automation products and services.

Part of the problem is the multitude of standards. Some device makers support more than one, but interoperability is the exception rather than the rule.… More

Unnatural opportunity in M2M

10 January 2012 by Steve Blum
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Consumer electronics products have a natural limit to growth. With only 7 billion or so people on the planet, even if some people buy more than one of any gizmo you can’t get past, say, 10 billion deployed units within the life cycle of any given product category.

Of course, that’s a theoretical limit, as a practical matter even one billion is wildly out of reach for the vast majority of products. The mobile phone has hit the 6 billion range, because it’s a personal item rather than a family purchase, such as, for example, a television.… More