Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Scott Allen, Sanjay Zalavadia, Dana Gardner, 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
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
industrial company for a multi-year contract initially valued at over $4.0 million. In addition to DataV software, Bsquare will also provide comprehensive systems integration, support and maintenance services. DataV leverages advanced data analytics, predictive reasoning, data-driven diagnostics, and automated orchestration of remediation actions in order to improve asset uptime while reducing service and warranty costs.