By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
To whom should ISPs turn for market differentiation other than price? The answer – says Plume – is transitioning to smart home 2.0. But to affect an industry-wide shift to an ‘app store’ with an abundance of smart home services including great Wi-Fi, a common silicon-to-service framework is needed, the company says. That’s why one year ago Plume open-sourced their middle-layer platform under a BSD-3 license scheme and renamed it OpenSync. Today, the company landed another cable giant client: Charter.
Cloud-managed whole-home Wi-Fi, advanced IoT security, parental controls, cognition and sensing, hyper-personalisation, cross-device curated, predictive experiences: All of these, says Plume CEO and co-founder Fahri Diner, are attributes of the emerging smart home 2.0 concept. Today, Plume took another leap forward in becoming a principal enabler of the smart home 2.0 ecosystem by landing cable giant Charter with their OpenSync framework for communicating with the Plume Cloud.
OpenSync has now been deployed to support ‘Advanced In-Home WiFi’ services in Austin, Texas and “provides new customers with greater control and visibility into their home Wi-Fi networks, including the ability to see all connected devices and to pause internet access to any single device,” Charter says. Charter also says it will launch ‘Advanced In-Home WiFi’ in a number of additional markets this year, with broader roll-out planned in 2020.
The decision by Charter to adopt OpenSync means that Plume – originally known mostly for its whole-home adaptive Wi-Fi and iconic pluggable ‘Pod’ APs – in just a year since open-sourcing their middleware platform is now serving half of all homes in North America, millions of homes in Europe, and a remarkable 450 million connected devices in total, the company says. Just a few weeks ago the company landed their first client in Asia: Japan’s J:COM.
Powering-up smart home 2.0
So why is an open-source device framework such a big deal for a company like Plume and why are they investing so heavily into getting ISPs to adopt it? Fahri Diner says powering-up a new smart home 2.0 ecosystem is the goal. The long-term benefits far outweigh any detriment from granting competitors the opportunity to deliver smart home services, too.
“Our vision is that lots of companies – not just us – should be able to create high-value, Cloud-based smart home services and offer these to consumers via ISPs. But in order to do that the industry has to somehow agree on a standard for the link between the Cloud – where the magic happens – and devices in the home. Think of this as the equivalent of what the SIM-card did for mobile telephone. That’s what OpenSync does for your home,” Fahri Diner says.
The end result should be the decoupling of home services from device hardware, says Fahri Diner. “When that happens – and we’re already well on our way – the broadband industry will spawn a new ecosystem of home services that will deliver all the smart home experiences consumers want. And this will of course be of immense benefit to ISPs. Think of this as the beginnings of an app store-approach to smart home services,” Fahri Diner says.
“In command of our own innovation destiny,” says Charter
For Charter, OpenSync is right now all about getting new connected home services to market faster with the right quality and consistency as well as across multiple Wi-Fi router platforms. “With this technology we’re in command of our own innovation destiny and the pace with which we can introduce new market facing services. That’s the power of the OpenSync platform,” says Carl Leuschner, SVP Connectivity, Charter Communications, to Wi-Fi NOW.
The benefit to consumers is clear, Charter says. “Advanced In-Home WiFi provides Spectrum Internet and WiFi customers with the ability to optimise their home networks, offering both detailed insights and providing greater control of their connected devices to deliver an unmatched home Wi-Fi experience,” says Rich DiGeronimo, Charter’s Chief Product and Technology Officer.
Smart home 2.0 will need great Wi-Fi
Charter’s new OpenSync-based Wi-Fi service steers traffic between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands – both bands run on the same SSID – and includes remote telemetry for Charter customer service personnel to identify and resolve support calls better and faster. More features are in the pipeline for coming months, the company says. Read the full press release here.
Still the prerequisite for smart home 2.0 services working in the first place is great whole-home Wi-Fi. “That’s the premier reason why we started with Adaptive WiFi. Without outstanding connectivity in all corners of the home, it’s hard to deliver anything at all,” Fahri Diner says.
For more on enabling great Wi-Fi and smart home 2.0 services don’t miss CEO & co-founder of Plume Fahri Diner speaking at Wi-Fi NOW International in London this November 12-14 – see more here.