From small businesses to big manufacturers, most companies are now converting to the Internet of Things. One topic that affects them all is the lack of interoperability caused by the proliferation of smart devices that do not communicate with each other or only poorly communicate, along with platforms that can’t always understand data from certain devices.
What is interoperability anyway?
Interoperability is defined as the ability of independent, often heterogeneous products or systems to communicate with each other and work together. It is made possible by standards and norms, in an ecosystem where data is produced by different devices and solutions that don’t speak the same language. Interoperability is a dealbreaker for market players seeking to work together, marking a shift from a silo mentality to a user-centric approach. Clearly, the stakes of interoperability reach far beyond purely technological considerations.
Aligning ambitions and challenges
Everyone in the IoT supply chain, including manufacturers, service providers, distributors, and users, has their own aims and challenges. Manufacturers want to preserve their market share, their competitive advantages, and their control over high-value usage data. Users are looking for simplicity, seamless automation between different manufacturers, transparency in the complexity of proprietary interfaces, and personal data protection. Meanwhile, service and intermediary platforms are ready to offer connectors in exchange for monetary payment or privileged access to precious data.
When asked about these topics, Overkiz is confident that successful interoperability depends both on the willingness of manufacturers to work together and on that of IoT market players to open up their technology to the outside world. But it’s easier said than done! We’re talking about a wide range of companies and markets, from residential housing to collective housing, as well as the non-residential sector. On top of that, there are other factors at play, including the ease of installation and use, which depend on whether the work is done in a new build or renovation and whether the user hires a professional installer or buys everything online on their own for a self-installation.
Rest assured, there are several solutions available:
- Go with common radio technologies – Be careful though, because this option depends on the manufacturers themselves.
- Promote the use of hubs or voice assistants that can translate and converge multiple technologies.
- Integrate the APIs of partner manufacturers, outside of specific radio technologies.
- Use digital services offering plugins/validations created on platforms by each manufacturer to “open” their commands.
This is why it is important to know how to cultivate an ecosystem over time to promote cohabitation among different types of equipment manufacturers (lighting, heating, entertainment, air quality, security, etc.). It is also necessary to accommodate the increasing number of interfaces and simple uses, such as activation, deactivation, and device programming, and also offer enhanced scenarios.
Cloud IoT + interoperability = the right equation for handling data from smart devices properly
To address the risks associated with a lack of interoperability, we recommend choosing a “universal” platform that can nest everything into an existing IoT ecosystem and understand all previously installed equipment so that nothing has to be replaced or reset. The platform should also be able to analyze and process data from a variety of operating software to minimize expenses and investments.
The greatest advantage of the Overkiz IoT platform is its ability to handle interoperability within the most comprehensive ecosystem on the market, encompassing multiple brands, products, and protocols, all while supporting device management and user-created scenarios within a single user application. An expert in automation solutions, Overkiz builds lasting partnerships with construction and real estate professionals, including manufacturers, service providers, distributors, developers, and installers.
What is the added value for individuals and businesses?
Interoperability generates potential improvements in comfort, security, energy savings, and even health through clear, slightly fragmented offerings provided by trusted players. Beyond individual uses, the goal is to have a broader vision for creating an ecosystem of smart buildings, eventually leading to the development of smart cities. Data collection will not be limited to the business or home, but to the greater community.
Market players are starting to move in the same direction, and many companies, including Overkiz, now offer solutions that combine cloud technology with open usage. Trust is key. Every provider of smart devices will need to be open to associated consortia and interoperability platforms.