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Why an open smart home platform makes sense in 2020?

Boom in Smart Devices

We are in the era of smart technology, IoT, smart curtains, smart lights, smart-whatever-you-call-it. With the current state of smart home, this technology is in a mess.

In recent years, every supplier is looking to smarten their own devices. This has become a trend in every supplier. Daikin's smart air con is on its way. Philips, our favourite light supplier, has started the HUE series long time ago. Somfy, our most welcomed curtains & blinds motor company, has also created a hub - Connexxon that connects to the internet.

Boom in Smart Home Ecosystems & Smart Home Apps

Each device has its own app (per say). Some suppliers even ventured out to white-label smart devices to tag on their "brands", hoping to encapsulate their clients into their own smart home ecosystem; and eventually dominating the smart home world like how Pinky and the Brain tried.

This seemed like a peachy and logical solution for any established, well-reputable company. Simply invest in a range of factory-made devices, with the only agenda of mass producing smart home devices at low prices.

Why an open platform makes sense in 2020?

Specialization

Specialize in Smart Home

One thing for sure, manufacturers should focus on manufacturing devices/systems they specialize in. This should make logical sense to anyone; you simply can't get someone trained in history to work on accounting. Either the historian takes a few years to fully understand the intricacy of accounting, or he simply falls into the pit hole of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Investing in factory-made solutions is a quick way to solve the current "goal" (just like outsourcing). Outsourcing always lead to one problem: you tend to lose the company's identity & focus. Fulfilling the “goal” of achieving a smart home ecosystem is easy, but the goal of customer satisfaction may be compromised.

Future-proofing

Future Proofing your home

An open platform, vastly different from a closed ecosystem, allows users to pick and choose the best brands of their device. “Best” is often subjected by the user’s needs and wants and choices often vary amongst clients. The closed ecosystem may provide an affordable and working smart home solution. Whilst, limiting the clients on other smart devices such as home theatre systems, sound systems, TV choices and even voice controllers.

The ultimate objective of dominating market share will only come close if the solution is well embraced by many. This will require usability, robustness and stability of the system.

Accessibility

Sonos with Alexa & Google Home | Smart Sound System

Sonos, became all time popular after it's integration with Alexa/google home was made possible. On its own, it may not be the best sound system available in the market (really all depends on needs of the clients). With high expectations of clients these days, being the best is no longer the unique selling point. Being able to access the device, either through an app, through voice control, or even through buttons, has become the new selling point of the system is.

The most cost effective method is to use the device more often so as to maximize the use of its lifespan. If the device is built to be the best, but setting it up takes a while, users may use it for a short period of time and the frequency of use will eventually decline.

Is an open platform worth it?

For the flexibility, stability and usability, it is definitely worth it. For me to be able to reuse my current devices is a sure yes. An open platform will cost more than a closed ecosystem, due to its regular maintainence on making sure the codes are updated regularly, even when the device’s codes are buggy/unstable. We have experienced bad codes/bugs from big companies and had to fix the bug on our end, just to ensure that our clients’ smart home continue to work.

On top of that, new devices are constantly being considered based on demands from clients. While a closed ecosystem fulfil the role of a smart home, it will not satisfy the needs of a user in the long run.

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