Written by Scott Bicheno
Just as with the rest of IoT, the connected home has been the subject of a lot of speculation but little end product. One company that hasn’t been afraid to try some out on its customers is Swiss operator Swisscom.
Telecoms.com spoke to Head of Swisscom Smart Living Mathias Prüssing, who started by explaining how he has gone about developing the connected home market. “We have several connected home initiatives, for which I’m responsible here at Swisscom,” said Prüssing. “We try to be fast and to learn by doing because it’s a new area; it’s not an educated market just yet so we are facing different challenges there.
“Our main focus is a solution that we call SmartLife security. The idea behind it is that we try to find a way establish a service business for Swisscom. Being an operator, we’re not trying to sell hardware or have the most fancy design – we try to sell relevant services.”
This is the challenge faced by all companies looking to get into the IoT space: they can all see the potential but what’s not yet clear is either the demand nor the business model. So a degree of trial and error is perfectly reasonable, but the trick is controlling your exposure.
“We did a lot of exercises in finding good use cases and at the end of the day we said we basically have two that might be interesting for this early adopter market,” said Prüssing. “One is the security and surveillance part, which is also the primary focus of the solution we developed, and the other is assisted living. These are a good starting position, or you could also call them Trojan Horses which we present to the customers to make it easier to understand what the connected home is and what you can do with it.”
SmartLife itself is based around what Prüssing described as an “enhanced gateway”, which features a bunch of communications standards, backup functions like SIM card and battery as well as a siren. It connected to peripheral sensors, contacts and switches and offers a degree of flexibility in its use, such as Swisscom’s partnership with security company Securitas to offer a further level of service.
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