Interview with Bob Dahlberg from Arrayent:

22/02/2010 - 10:44

Bob Dahlberg from Arrayent:

Where do you see Arrayant in 5 years?

"While our prospective customers have called us the "Cisco of things,"  rather in five years we see Arrayent providing the best cloud computing environment for "things.""

What is the meaning of content in your system?

"Essentially think of Arrayent as a communication pipe, connecting the consumer product to communication servers in the cloud.  To us, content is pass through.  Today our system has been optimized for telemetry or "light media" applications. {C}{C}{C} Typical examples are energy measurements and control, blood pressure readings, battery level reading, alarm going off.  We can support a .jpg a second (from a door bell, or garage door camera), or downloading mp3s (stories to be read by the toy.)  NO streaming video however."

Is there a lack of standards?

"Yes, there is a lack of standards in home area network domain.  But even where standards exist, there are problems.  For example Zigbee compliant doesn't mean Zigbee products can inter-operate.  It well known that zigbee products from different vendors don't interoperate. The good news is that don't think you need interoperability at the physical layer.  We see the data coming from a home area network coming together in the cloud as one big mashup.  Its the only practical way to get energy from smart utility meters (that uses Zigbee on a utilities closed network),  talk to my clothes dryer on whirlpool.net, connecting to my z-wave door locks, proprietary 2.4 GHZ connected window coverings,  400MHz lighting system, to my 300MHz garage door opener.  As long as there are open APIs in the cloud, the issue of standards goes away.  If the Microsoft Media Center experience is any guide, the last thing the customer wants is a '"death star" box in the home that gets all these "standards" talking together."

Do you foresee entirely new kinds of objects that will be designed with the kind of connectivity that you offer?

"What we are seeing now is that product managers are just starting to realize is that their product can live outside of its physical shell. Internet connected products can have "virtual features" that are accessed via a smartphone browser.  An example is the smoke detector sends an sms to my cell phone, rather than just an audio blast.

A second example is that features can be added overtime, and made available for "up sale".  For example, I buy a DIY home security system for my aging parent's home.  I place some presence sensors in hallways, stair cases. Down the road software could be written by a vendor that essentially tracks the daily patterns of the house occupants.  When the Tuesday pattern goes out of compliance, a text message would be sent to me.  Now I can call my aging mom and ask her if everything is OK.  I summary, I originally purchased the product as a home security system, but by purchasing a new "server application" I have morphed the home security system into a elder care support system.  This "being alive" capability is something you cannot do with physical isolated products.