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Vivint and Cloudera Analyzing Big Data from the Smart Home

by Alex Giamas on Aug 05, 2014 |

Vivint recently announced that it is partnering up with Cloudera to analyze more efficiently data coming from Smart Home sensors. Vivint has more than 800,000 customers at about 20 to 30 sensors per home installation. The sensors in a residence vary from thermostats to security oriented devices. Analyzing this data centrally, Vivint can make correlations and provide actionable insights for customers that can provide energy savings. Heating ventilation and cooling(HVAC) accounts for more than 40 percent of residential energy consumption. Using sensors consumers could see their energy bill dropping by 20 to 30 percent.

In addition to that, sensors from a smart home can interoperate with connected vehicles enabling for innovative applications spanning around customer’s lifestyle. Sensors in a car can notify sensors at home and office to turn on and off various appliances and get ready for arrival or departure. Sensors in clothing can interoperate with HVAC systems giving real time feedback of the perceived temperature inside venues.

Interoperating sensor usage is not a new idea but is one that is rapidly expanding because of the commoditization of the underlying technology. Commonly referred to as IoT (Internet of Things), loosely coupled sensors can interoperate and report data back home using a wide array of wireless communication technologies. And it looks like IoT is coming. Various analysts and Cisco Systems are estimating that the market will approximately quadruple in size in the next six years.

Technology advances in batteries or even developing sensors that don’t need batteries can give a tremendous boost to adoption of IoT. But for all the interesting applications of IoT there are definitely some issues that need to be resolved in a way that customers will feel safe.

Privacy and security is definitely the first point of concern. Cisco Security Grand Challenge is an effort by Cisco, already underway, seeking for innovative ideas to secure the IoT. Vivint is approaching the security issue from a customer oriented perspective, adding extra layers of human interaction to make sure that customers can distinguish between a Vivint employee and an imposter that would try to social engineer his way in.

But the main issue for customers may ultimately be not that of data leaks from the service provider, but just the fact that the service provider for IoT has so much data about the consumer. For many customers this could be good if it results in savings or more targeted, meaningful and non-disruptive advertising. But if it means higher insurance premiums because of their eating habits, they may not like it. Sharing data from a video enabled sensor located inside a house with the smart home sensor supplier may also not be of interest to many customers.

Whether it is about collecting IoT data like Google’s acquisition of Nest or about analyzing them, one thing is for sure that IoT will continue to be of interest for the years to come.

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