IP&TV News talks to GreenPeak Technologies CEO Cees Links about why the terms ‘smart home’ and ‘Internet of Things’ need to be taken out of circulation!
IP&TV News: Hi Cees. There’s a school of thought surrounding the smart home that it doesn’t really exist yet – that there are individual smart products, but no unifying smart home. Would you concur?
Cees Links: I’d totally concur with this. Actually at GreenPeak we think the term ‘smart home’ is totally wrong. Let’s say I have a smart metre in my house and a leak in my basement. My basement is flooded with warm water for days (and I can tell you I got a smart bill) but there was nothing smart in my metre to tell me that my water and natural gas usage was a little out of line with the ordinary, and able to close some valves and send me a text letting me know.
That would have been a really smart metre, but what we have in our home is a digital metre that’s connected to the internet.
Is the concept ‘smart home’ itself sufficient?
I think the term should be put in the garbage bin and retired immediately. The term I think we need is more like ‘butler’. I’ve been thinking about it for a little while. If you have a bunch of sensors in your house, there is nobody in the house and the back door is not locked, what you would expect your butler to do is lock the back door, and it would be nice if your butler sent you a message saying so.
We need to really start thinking from the concept of function, and this can be in the cloud or partly in the home and partly in the cloud, but something that basically collects information from the sensors in the home and interprets the information, and does something with it. It can do things like turn off the lights if there’s nobody in the room, or turn on the heating if I’m coming home.
Would you extend this kind of reformulation to the Internet of Things?
Well, when you say the ‘Internet of Things’ then all the focus and attention goes to the things – when actually you should think more about function. For instance, I hate the term ‘fitness bands’ – these have nothing to do with fitness. It’s purely a sensor, which communicates via your phone to the cloud. But what’s really cool is if in the cloud there’s a lifestyle coach to motivate and stimulate you if you don’t move enough or sleep long enough, and gives you a kick in the behind if you need it. We shouldn’t talk about a fitness band. It’s a thing, and people don’t care about things. What they care about is someone taking care of them in some shape or form.
We believe that currently the market is learning that it’s not about things, that it’s not about ‘smart’, but it’s about services in the cloud that help you to live a better life, to waste less energy, to be more aware of what’s going on, and to take these things to the next stage. That’s our vision and our viewpoint and that’s what we’re selling to operators.