Interoperability is the key to smart home adoption. If a device can’t receive information, process it and act upon that information, it won’t function as consumers hope. Without full functionality, the product may not provide value.
We purchased a two-story home to create a real-world environment to observe how devices communicate with one another, and find a way to solve interoperability issues.
Communication between two people in a house is often affected by distance, closed doors, ambient noise, etc. Similarly, transmission between two devices may suffer from some of the same factors, which can’t be accounted for in a traditional lab.
Here’s some factors unique to a home:
We’ve taken steps to help ensure we’ve purchased almost every commercially-available smart device you could find a home. Everything from smart locks, internet routers and appliances, to sensors, speakers and lights are found in this house. Here’s a pretty comprehensive list:
For now, interoperability issues among smart devices have largely been contained to performance; however, what happens when communication discrepancies bleed into safety — like being locked out of the house, or without a working smoke alarm?
Now, UL is not just testing to help ensure devices are properly communicating during normal operating conditions, but are looking at what happens when the Wi-Fi goes down, there is a low internet signal, the power goes out, and all possible scenarios which may affect connected devices.
Through testing and inspection, UL is helping to make the house of tomorrow and what was once tech mythology, a reality.