LAS VEGAS -- 2017 Calix Connexions -- This quarter, Calix plans to ship EXOS, an operating system for its GigaFamily home gateways that controls Internet of Things services throughout subscribers' homes.
The OS brings order to the rapidly growing IoT chaos, as consumers buy multiple devices from a variety of vendors. An almost equal number of broadband subscribers have integrated devices -- such as smart door locks, doorbells or smoke detectors -- into their home control systems as have not integrated them, according to a fourth-quarter 2016 survey by Parks Associates.
"Inadequate interoperability options are likely the reason for lack of integration," the report said.
Integration Issues Problematic for Residential Subscribers
(Source: Park Associates)
EXOS creates a native container framework within Calix's customer premises equipment (CPE), and then communicates with software in commercial, off-the-shelf IoT devices. Operators can view connectivity status and add data analysis plus security options. Service providers can then improve customer experience and cut support costs, as well as sell new products or services, such as IoT devices and home security, Calix said.
"WiFi is one thing. It's a challenge. There are some different protocols and speeds, etc., but they're driven by the communications industry. Anybody kept up to speed with the protocols that are being discussed in IoT? You see all sorts of new names: Zigbee, Z-Wave," said Carl Russo, Calix president and CEO, during his Calix Connections keynote. "There are all sorts of new things happening that are designed specifically for classes of IoT devices. But here's the rub. The rub is this is just a set of devices that shows up in the home. If you think managing a shop floor is hard, IoT in the future is the Wild, Wild West. It is a huge challenge but also a huge opportunity."
The new CPE is embedded in various IoT radios in the hardware and also includes direct support for popular home products such as Amazon Alexa and Google's voice assistant. Calix's latest GigaFamily devices support IoT standards, including Zigbee, Z-Wave, HomeKit, Thread, WiFi and Bluetooth. Through EXOS, the radios allow operators to enable service chaining across different protocols. As a result, subscribers can operate multiple devices, regardless of vendor. For example, one motion sensor running through a new GigaFamily gateway could tell both a Z-Wave and Zigbee light bulb to turn on or off.
Residential services are only the start, according to Calix. Enterprises also benefit from integrated IoT gateways, and EXOS, which is "designed to be a white box out of the gate" -- can dwell on the GigaFamily CPE and off-the-shelf, commercial enterprise hardware such as x86 chassis, said Shane Eleniak, vice president of systems products at Calix, Light Reading reported.
The release comes at a time when operators want to leverage their existing relationships with residential customers and subscribers increasingly are cutting the pay-TV cord. But they are plugging in to IoT: The worldwide market for smart home devices will reach $9.4 billion by 2021, up from $3.3 billion at the end of this year, according to IHS Markit.
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Consumers are buying millions of IoT devices, from smart thermostats and security systems to intelligent entertainment setups and furniture. Yet many of these devices remain isolated because home users are uncomfortable connecting them to each other – or even their WiFi. After all, their WiFi network was probably designed only to handle a few laptops, a gaming system and a couple of smartphones. Now, demand on the network is surging and even though you're delivering 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, that doesn't necessarily mean the broadband power is in the right place or reaches every corner of a home.
Even if WiFi coverage is sufficient, typing is not on trend. Voice is far more natural, easier and faster. Using a TV keyboard is archaic when more and more households have access to cloud-based voice services, like Amazon Alexa. This webinar will explore how service providers can create a comfortable, truly smart home for consumers – simultaneously driving up margin and loyalty.
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on Thursday, November 1 at 8 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. UK as Ronan Kelly, CTO, EMEA & APAC Regions at ADTRAN, explores the five pillars of network integrity -- a topic he discussed during his recent Broadband World Forum keynote. Register now!