Category Archives: Smart Homes

Deutsche Telekom is making 1.2 million German households smart every year

  • New Speedport Smart router now controls Deutsche Telekom’s German end-customer offer Magenta SmartHome
  • Magenta SmartHome Basic contains many features free of charge
  • New Deutsche Telekom design line for devices with the DECT ULE cordless standard

Speedport Smart

Nearly 13 million consumers trust in Deutsche Telekom’s products and expertise for their telephony and Internet surfing. The German telecommunications service provider now wants to smooth the way for its customers into smart, connected homes – and is integrating Magenta SmartHome features in its Speedport Smart router.

Effective immediately, the routers do not just manage phone calls, Internet and TV; they can also control smart home devices. “We have been a reliable partner to our customers for many years when it comes to telecommunications and entertainment. So it’s only natural to act as partners for security, convenience, and energy conservation, too,” says Niek Jan van Damme, member of the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management responsible for Germany.

To this end, in addition to Wi-Fi, the Speedport Smart now also supports the DECT ULE cordless standard – enabling the integration of smoke detectors, thermostats, and many other smart devices. Other protocols can be retrofitted via USB port. A USB stick for the ZigBee protocol is already available and a stick for the Homematic IP protocol is scheduled for release in fall 2017. Newly shipped Speedport Smart routers will gain the additional features, and routers already installed by customers will receive a firmware update. “That means we equipped 170,000 households in Germany with a control center for Magenta SmartHome overnight,” explains Henri Vandré, Head of Smart Home at Telekom Deutschland GmbH. “And we will be shipping around 1.2 million additional smart routers every year.”

Free-of-charge look at Magenta SmartHome

Deutsche Telekom is also eliminating other barriers for customers who want to get started with smart home features: the installation of the smart home features in the Speedport Smart routers includes a free version of the company’s SmartHome service, with many basic functions. Undecided customers can test the benefits of Deutsche Telekom’s Magenta SmartHome Basic offering for themselves. “A single sensor on your door or window is all it takes to make your home safer. Together with the Speedport Smart, the free starter package and the Magenta SmartHome app, you can set up an alarm system for your doors and windows quickly and easily,” explains Vandré. “If a sensor-equipped door or window is opened in your absence, an alert is sent to your smartphone.” An upgrade from the free starter version to the full range of features is possible at any time, through the Magenta SmartHome app.

New Telekom devices in the Magenta SmartHome portfolio

Deutsche Telekom is also launching a new portfolio of components for Magenta SmartHome under its own brand. The devices, with their exclusive Telekom design, feature the established, secure DECT ULE cordless standard and include smoke and motion detectors, door and window contacts, and indoor sirens. Other devices, such as a connector plug for outdoors, will be released soon.

Source: Deutsche Telekom

IoT-Connected Smart Meters Are Enabling the Internet of Energy

In 1859, in an unremarkable Pennsylvania field, oil was struck for the first time, changing an industry and transforming the world. Oil had many more uses than coal, leading to faster ships, warmer homes—and eventually the combustible engine.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is now poised to be the most transformative force in the energy industry since that black-gold day. But, as with all revolutions, digital transformation is disruptive, and innovation is needed to gain competitive advantage. The adoption of IoT technology means that the industry has increasing access to cellular data, and the market itself is starting to fragment as grids become decentralized.

To stay competitive, many utility companies have turned to smart meters. These IoT-enabled devices are more efficient and ensure more accurate diagnostics and billing. But one of the contradictions of modern life is that the technology that allows us to do amazing things often leaves us more vulnerable to it malfunctioning. And while smart meters are a great idea in theory, they can fall short without a consistent cellular connection—currently lacking in many environments.

That’s why businesses like Aidon, a progressive European technology company that specializes in advanced smart metering and smart grid solutions, are embracing Sierra Wireless Smart SIMs to ensure they have resilient connectivity. Promising reliable backend communication, Smart SIM technology is enabling the next step forward in the utilities industry.

The Challenge of Smart Meters
Aidon, which operates primarily in Finland, Norway and Sweden, is at the forefront of smart meter technology. Their smart meters offer a streamlined way of communicating with backend systems on important metrics, such as data usage and electrical quality. The meters monitor low-voltage grids and distribution substations, helping ensure the faultless delivery of electricity to end users. Utilizing their internal mesh radio solution, they collect data from more than a hundred meters in a local neighborhood into a local hub, where it is transferred via the mobile network to the datacenter.

As with all other IoT devices, this system requires constant connection. Lack of connection means a decrease in the agreed service level and, in regions with particularly challenging topography, such as the mountainous Nordic countries served by Aidon, that’s difficult with traditional SIMs. Aidon turned to Sierra Wireless—and Smart SIMs—for an optimal reliable wide area network solution.

Smart SIMs Provide Full Connectivity to Smart Meters
Smart SIMs are optimized for the IoT, with its wealth of connections, as well as for existing cellular structures. This is because they are not beholden to any one network. Instead, they’re programmed to automatically select the best available. If one signal is weak, the Smart SIM can easily switch to the next, ensuring unbroken communication with backend systems.

Every local hub Aidon deploys in the field is equipped with a Sierra Wireless SIM card. This Smart SIM allows for access to nearly every operator in any given location—anywhere in the world. By using a patented smart network steering technology, Smart SIMs can connect dynamically to the ideal carrier network any time a data-service failure is detected.

There is also an element of choice: The Smart SIM’s electronic profile can be defined according to customer preference. In other words, it can do more than just select the strongest signal—it can be programmed to select the signal that’s best for your meters.

This eliminates steering issues and eradicates the costly downtime that comes when a device must repeatedly hunt for an appropriate connection. We estimate that a typical utility company could save up to 30% over five years by making the switch to Smart SIMs. This also has the downstream effect of reducing costs for end users.

The Sierra Wireless AirVantage IoT Platform

But having data at all times is one thing. Managing it is another. Sierra Wireless’ AirVantage IoT Platform, can help utility companies take this next step.

AirVantage offers an integrated and easy-to-use approach to collecting and transmitting smart meter data. It’s a connectivity management interface that allows companies to order, place, and track all their SIM cards, as well as their connectivity subscriptions.

AirVantage handles all the management activities that are necessary to keep Aidon’s devices online and communicating. This includes:

  • Remote monitoring and updating. AirVantage lets companies know about and fix potential problems before they impact their customers.
  • Organization and storage of transmitted data. Each of your technicians needs to be able to access well-organized smart meter data. AirVantage makes that data available on a variety of applications, such as the portal that you use to monitor statuses and schedule deliveries.
  • Customer management. In the Information Age, customers demand the ability to understand and control their usages and expenditures. We can help you give this to them. The AirVantage platform can also be used in conjunction with the mobile apps many customers use to view and manage their accounts.

A Look to the Future: Smart SIMs and eUICCs to Unlock Every Market
Europe is leading the way with both smart meters and Smart SIMs. Some areas have yet to embrace the technology, but this wave of transformation is unavoidable and is beginning to spread to other continents. It is easy to see why. To harness the power of the IoT, other countries must start preparing to embrace flexible networking.

And it doesn’t stop with Smart SIMs. The transformation of the energy sector is ongoing. The next wave of Smart SIMs are poised to include embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Cards (eUICCs). These offer utility companies even more flexibility since they will allow you to change carriers by downloading new operator profiles over the air. Since the SIM cards in smart meters are designed to last in the field for 10-15 years, this will enable more flexibility, as IoT devices need to operate for years yet keep pace with changes in service.

It’s economically infeasible to send technicians to manually switch every single one of your SIM cards every time you want to change carriers. The ability to switch automatically ensures that SIMs will remain fully functional for the lifetime of the IoT device, which could significantly reduce service costs. eUICC systems have yet to be deployed in Europe but are likely to be rolled out this year.

This coming Internet of Energy will change the way utilities, businesses, and individuals use their resources. But like any great technology, the front end is dependent on reliable infrastructure on the backend. Smart SIMs give meters the flexibility they need to ensure full coverage, and eUICCs will help provide continued long-term viability in the field.

No matter the topography, no matter the country, connectivity is key to fulfilling the potential of the IoT. That’s why Aidon turned to Sierra Wireless. Our Smart SIM system allowed them to revolutionize energy use in challenging conditions. Start with Sierra to learn more about how our innovative wireless solutions can help your company prepare for the Internet of Energy revolution, or listen to our expert panel webinar with Aidon presenting.

Co-Star supply the range of Sierra Wireless Routers. Click here for more information>

 

 

02 Home The Smart Way To Future Proof Your House

smart_homes

  • Nearly three quarters of Brits want to future proof their home with smart technology
  • Almost 50% of us want greater control of our home’s energy usage
  • But 80% are putting off updating their homes due to a fear of not knowing how to install the technology and a lack of confidence about using it
  • O2 Home, launched today, comes with professional installation included and makes monitoring and controlling a smart home easy

New research announced today reveals that despite a massive 73% of people interested in future proofing their homes with smart technology, only 5% are currently planning to install it in 2016.

According to the survey by O2 for the launch of O2 Home, a new service which lets people control their heating, lighting, locks and more from their phone, a significant 61% of people lack the confidence to install and run smart home technology, while 15% were not sure they even understood what smart home tech was.

“O2 Home is smart technology for everyone, not just the tech-savvy.”
Nina Bibby, Marketing & Consumer Director, O2

The research also revealed that those aged over 55 years are the least confident with the new tech with 19% reporting being unsure of what smart home technology actually does. However, all those aged 24 and under O2 surveyed reported being completely or fairly comfortable with smart home kit. In addition to a lack of confidence, cost was another factor stopping people from adopting the latest home trend with 47% of respondents listing concerns over price as a reason they continued to live with outdated technology at home.

O2 Home, available from today in the London area and rolling out to the rest of the country in the near future, makes turning a home into a smart home simple and easy. Available in three customisable packages, customers taking O2 Home can choose from a range of smart technology, each piece working seamlessly with O2’s Smart Hub and phone app. Options include open and close sensors, which send an alert when a door or window is opened, as well as a range of cameras andpresence sensors to give additional peace of mind while away from home.

Those looking to stay in control of their energy usage – something nearly half of people surveyed said they wanted – can choose smart plugs, which can turn electrical equipment off and on remotely. O2 Home customers can also opt for a smart thermostat which uses their phone’s GPS to automatically heat the house as they return home, as well as giving them complete control of their heating from wherever they are.

Unlike some other smart home technology, O2’s new O2 Home packages don’t come with large upfront payments, with contracts starting from £20 per month helping spread the cost over 24 months. O2 Home technology is also fitted professionally for free by O2 Home installers, meaning no complicated self-installations, and O2 will conduct an annual health check on all the equipment. Finally, they will also visit customers’ homes for free to fix anything which can’t be resolved remotely by O2’s UK based customer service team.

Nina Bibby, Marketing and Consumer Director at O2, said: “O2 Home is all about connecting our customers to the people and things that matter. Keeping your home up to date with technology shouldn’t be complicated – so we’ve brought together connectivity and smart technology in a simple package to give customers peace of mind wherever they are. We’ve made everything simple – with installation experts to help set things up and an app to monitor and control your home 24 hours a day. It’s smart technology for everyone, not just the tech-savvy.”

Customers who sign up to the O2 Home between 1st September 2016 and 14th September 2016 will be able to receive the first 12 months of O2 Home, free. Terms and conditions apply. For more information and to buy online, visit home.o2.co.ukor see the technology at one of four specialist O2 Home retail destinations including Westfield White City, Tottenham Court Road, Kingston and Watford.

About O2 Home:
O2 Home a new service providing smart technology solutions for greater control of your home within one easy app. It’s available from today in the London area and rolling out across the country in the near future.

 

Source: 02