Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Gregor Petri, Liz McMillan, Samuel Scott, Continuum Blog, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Agile Computing: Article

Why Home Automation Needs a Real-Time Service Provider

Using a real-time service provider rather than a custom, in-house built real-time solution has numerous advantages

You may not realize it, but your house is getting smarter. Devices that were once entirely manually controlled, whether it's your thermostat, the locks on your doors, or your porch lights, are now entering an era of autonomy, and the list of devices in the home automation spectrum is continuing to grow. Now that the masses are armed with smartphones, why shouldn't you be able to control your home...when you're not home?

Home automation is getting more advanced, smarter, and more streamlined by the day. When you flip a light switch, you expect that light bulb to turn on instantly. For a home automation solution, you need that exact same functionality when controlling your home from a smartphone app; the same speed and reliability.

It's gone beyond just being able to schedule your lights to turn on at a certain time. Users now expect to be able to monitor their home's "health," make changes on the fly, and operate and command their home remotely at the exact moment they want to. As a result, real-time interaction through a real-time network is now a key component of home automation. Without being able to signal your home in real-time, whether you're on a phone or iPad, you're not getting that real-time connection and functionality you need.

So where exactly does real-time come into play?

Say you have an event that occurs, like hitting a certain threshold or being located within a specific proximity from your home. You need a system that is bidirectional, one that can constantly send updates through a dedicated channel relaying photonic/thermo sensor broadcasts, but also a signaling channel that can trigger events (a light bulb turning on, a thermostat adjusting temperature, or a garage door opening as you approach it). You need real-time signaling for that on both the send side and the receive side.

What Issues Will A Developer Run Into When Building a Home Automation Solution?
To allow users to control their home in real-time, you need to establish an open connection between Point A and Point B to allow that signaling. Today there are open source technologies like SignalR and Socket.io that use this web socket technology. However, with these technologies, it's tricky to scale and maintain a system with an always-on heartbeat. With home automation, a user needs to be able to immediately interact with their home when they want to, so an open connection is vital to the functionality of the home automation solution.

Using a real-time service provider rather than a custom, in-house built real-time solution has numerous advantages, including reliability, easy scalability, and security, the most important being reliabiltiy. When you flip that switch, or that threshold is triggered, that signal needs to go through, 100% of the time. This can only be achieved if it's backed by a redundant, distributed system. The best way to do that is through a globally distributed network with multiple physical buildings around Earth, with fallbacks in the event that one of these datacenters fails.

Let's just say, if you lock your door through a home automation app, you want that door to lock, every time.

When using a custom solution, you can't get this unless you invest a substantial amount of money and build a massive real-time infrastructure. That can be challenging to maintain on your own, especially in terms of cost and technology requirements.

How to Use PubNub to Power a Home Automation Solution
PubNub allows you to keep a reliable and redundant connection open between the user and their home automation solution. The PubNub Real-Time Network can easily power the real-time functionality of any home automation solution. By embedding PubNub into a microprocessor, the device has the power and capability to to communicate with your house. With an active, outbound connection through PubNub, 100% firewall closed (so you don't need to open ports, like Skype or VOIP), you can directly signal your house commands securely in real-time.

See how easy it is to Publish and Subscribe. Here is the copy-and-paste ready code.

To get started, it's the same function calls as all of PubNub's other SDKs, a simple two functions, publish and subscribe, send and receive. As always, our APIs are easy to use and implement. I recommend checking out our arduino SDK, https://github.com/pubnub/arduino.

More Stories By Stephen Blum

Stephen Blum is the founder and CTO of PubNub. His vision and strong technical chops drove the initial architecture of PubNub, building a core engine that has successfully scaled to the some of the largest real-time deployments in the world. Stephen has been a successful software entrepreneur his whole life, starting his first company, LTSun, at age 17, and joining Microsoft after its acquisition. Stephen was the chief architect for TrustedOpinion.com, a 50-language social recommendations site that grew to over 1 million users across over 100 countries.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
A producer of the first smartphones and tablets, presenter Lee M. Williams will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, COO of ETwater, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater.
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...