With great technology comes great incompatibility! You probably remember the mess of proprietary chargers and cables in the early days mobile phones before micro-usb standard was adopted across the electronics industry — except on Apple products because their chargers are obviously better (read pricier)!
The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution – particularly home automation – is going through a similar transition phase of shaky standards. Companies like Philips, Nest and Sonos are bringing smart home devices to consumers in a big way but they all use proprietary wireless solutions in the absence of a universally agreed upon protocol that can reconcile the two elephants in the room – latency and battery life. The lower the latency, the more effectively the device communicates and co-ordinates its “smart” activities but also ends up using more battery, forcing users to charge it often. And that just doesn’t sell well. Yes, there are wireless charging solutions but it faces the same ordeal of having way too many “standards”!
Thankfully, the wiseguys (not the Italian kind) over at Yonomi have come up with a cross device handshake solution that will have you controlling your home like Tony Stark!
About the Startup
“Earlier in our careers we believed that the consumer Internet of Things was going to go one of two ways – either a commonly used standard would emerge (as happened with the Consumer Web) or a single vendor dominated ecosystem would prevail. Neither of those things happened”, says CEO and co-founder of Yonomi, Kent Dickson. He and other co-founders, Joss Scholten and Garett Madole, have all been working at the leading edge of Smart Home technologies for many years and decided to connect the (dis)connected smart home devices.
Joss and Garett have worked on custom high-end home automation systems and then founded a company together to build a Cloud platform to provide integration for traditional systems. Kent was CTO of Tendril which built a first of its kind Cloud platform to manage and monitor connected devices in homes.
Kent talks more about Yonomi, “It’s inevitable that we’ll be surrounded by connected devices – in our homes, on our bodies, where we work. Several of these devices have already crossed the chasm and are gaining mass market adoption (Sonos, Nest, FitBit). Users are getting great value out of the products individually but they are all stovepipes of functionality – the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts since proprietary protocols prevents mutual awareness among devices.”
Yonomi is an app that allows you to create “routines” – which are like “recipes” in IFTTT – that triggers your smart devices whenever and however you want. Kent explains, “The Yonomi app runs in the background and simplifies your life by automatically turning the lights on when you come home, announcing the weather in the morning, adjusting your thermostat when you leave your home, pausing the music when you get a phone call, and so much more. It all happens automatically — from discovering devices to synchronization of routines — you’re up and running in no time!”
IFTTT for Smart Home
If someone tags me on Facebook, then send me a text message — IFTTT (If This Then That) is a great tool for orchestrating different web services to do your bidding but its reach falls short when it comes to real world devices. There are many physical hubs that integrate smart home devices but Yonomi is unique in its implementation. “Yonomi requires no hub or controller box. Instead, we have invented a Virtual Gateway technology that leverages the fabric of mobile devices and the Cloud to interact reliably with connected things. This hub-less approach makes this sort of rich device coordination accessible to virtually everyone”, explains Kent.
The innovation doesn’t stops there as the company is developing algorithms to anticipate users’ desires and implement those either automatically or via an easy to reach set of dynamic contextual controls – you won’t have to fuss about fine tuning routines, the app will simply “know” what you want!
The app is completely free and currently Android-only (for a change!) but iOS support is coming soon. The company is focusing on adding more compatible devices to an already extensive list and wants to avoid trying too many things.
Kent is hopeful about his product and wants to win hearts before getting into the money part, “We have some very exciting monetization plans but today, we’re primarily focused on making peoples’ lives better. Everyone will be living with connected devices – and many of us already are – and we’ve been stunned to see that in just 6 weeks since launch we already have users in 89 countries!”
Head over to Yonomi to download the app.