Tag Archives | smart homes

Mozilla Leading the Transition from Internet of Things to Web of Things

Smart home automationLast year, Mozilla announced Project Things, which is a framework of software and services that help bridge gaps in communication between connected devices by giving “things” URLs on the web.

And days ago, the company began delivering on its earlier promises by announcing a new solution designed to enable anyone to build their own Internet of Things (IoT) gateway.

As Engineering and Technology pointed out, this is a pretty big deal as it allows IoT devices to communicate with one another “regardless of which tech company developed them.” Enabling all IoT devices to be managed through a single secure web interface allows users to directly monitor and control their home over the web, without a middleman.

“Last year, we said that Mozilla is working to create a framework of software and services that can bridge the communication gap between connected devices. Today, we are pleased to announce that anyone can now build their own Things Gateway to control their connected device directly from the web,” the company wrote in a blog post.

What’s more, this first-of-its-kid “Things Gateway” can be set up by anyone, technical knowledge notwithstanding. All you need is a Raspberry Pi, a microSD card, a dongle and the new Things Gateway software.

From IoT to WoT

According to Mozilla, for as long as accessory makers and service providers continue to create products which cannot communicate with each other, building a connected home will remain expensive and the IoT will not take off: the market is “fragmented and slow to grow,” the organization has warned.

“The ‘Web of Things’ (WoT) is the idea of taking the lessons learned from the World Wide Web and applying them to IoT. It’s about creating a decentralized Internet of Things by giving Things URLs on the web to make them linkable and discoverable, and defining a standard data model and APIs to make them interoperable,” the company wrote.

Though Apple, Google, Amazon and even Samsung have been battling it out around the clock to create their own standards of controlling connected home devices, it seems Mozilla beat them to the punch. For now.

Get Up To Speed or Get Left Behind

The future of connected devices is still up for debate, but organizations need to begin preparing for this industry-altering shift now. IEEE Continuing and Professional Education offers a multi-course IoT series to educate employees on how the Internet of Things will impact their day to day business. It’s available now on IEEE Xplore.

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How to Make IoT Batteries Last Longer

Make IoT Batteries Last Longer: IEEE Wake-Up Radio InfographicAnalyst firm Gartner predicts that there will be 8.4 billion connected “things” in 2017, which will then expand to 20.4 billion Internet of Things (IOT) devices by 2020. That number is staggering. And it is reasonable to expect that a great many of these devices will run on batteries. Yet battery life can be limited. How do we make IoT batteries last longer?

Consider the use cases:

  • Wearable medical devices that cannot be hard wired
  • Logistics sensors on vehicles, moving from place to place
  • Agricultural IoT devices in the middle of fields
  • Smart home consumer devices that are easier to install without hardwiring, increasing market adoption

…and these are just a few instances of the many IoT use cases that will require battery operated devices. Given the sheer number of devices, it is essential that IoT manufacturers create devices that have a long battery life while maintaining optimal performance. We must make IoT batteries last longer.

This is why the IEEE 802.11ba standards working group is developing the IEEE Wake-Up Radio standard. This technology has the potential to increase battery life in IoT devices from months to years. When you consider the cost of replacing 20.4 billion batteries (both the batteries themselves, as well as the time involved), this will have significant economic impact.

How it Works

IoT devices have an embedded radio that has to “wake up” in order for data to be transmitted. The longer the device is awake, the more power it consumes, but the higher the performance. To solve the power issue, a 2nd, low-power, duty-cycled Wake-Up Radio is added to the device that waits for transmissions. This Wake-Up Radio only wakes up the main device when it is needs to, allowing a longer device sleep state without compromising performance. Ensuring that the Wake-Up Radio uses duty cycling increases the battery life even more.

The result is a high-performance IoT device that last for years rather than months on a single battery.

The impact is clear. IoT devices that will run on IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®) connections need IEEE Wake-Up Radio. Device manufacturers need this information now, in order to build this into their IoT devices of tomorrow.

IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio

To help IoT device manufacturers prepare for IEEE Wake-Up Radio even before the standard is released, IEEE is offering a technology report that outlines the technology, use cases, and more. The report will be released on 2 November, 2017, and is available for pre-sale now. Device manufacturers that begin planning for IEEE Wake-Up Radio now will have a competitive advantage, especially in consumer categories where IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®) connections are ubiquitous. They will be able to make IoT batteries last longer in their devices.

Increasing battery life in IoT devices is essential. When it comes to devices that run on IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®) connections, IEEE Wake-Up Radio is the solution. Pre-order the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio now, and prepare your organization for a competitive advantage in the future.



Tung, L. (2017, Feb 7). IoT Devices Will Outnumber the World’s Population this Year for the First Time. ZDNet.

McCormick, D. (2017, Nov 2). 802.11ba Battery Life Improvement – Preview: IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio. IEEE Xplore.



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Millennials, Ownership, and the Internet of Things

Millennials, Ownership, and IOT PrivacyMillennials are concerned, and rightly so, about connected devices and security. Nearly 75% of Millennials surveyed by KPMG indicated they would be likely to “use more IoT devices if they had more confidence that the devices were secure.” (Strother 2017) As developers of IoT devices consider the market viability of their devices, this creates a two-fold challenge. Not only must they develop more secure devices. Developers also need to convince Millennials that these devices are more secure, and worth adopting.

As digital natives, Millennials potentially have greater exposure and access to devices. As a result, this is one area Millennials can offer some insight and guidance to older generations. While Millennial use of IoT products is lower than other generations, one considerable factor is because they are not yet homeowners. (Strother 2017) Many of the developments in IoT devices are in smart home technology, which Millennials may just not need yet. Yet there are also other concerns, most notably IoT privacy.

The Millennial reaction to privacy concerns and adoption of IoT devices can lead the way in how other generations should view these devices. Perhaps because they are digital natives, they have a different understanding of ownership, and having control over your things continues to evolve in our digital world.

Those in Gen X and Baby Boomers were raised during times where the definition of ownership was simple. You bought something and it was yours. Today, however, we are more likely to rent access than own anything. And often times that access comes at the cost of the information collected by our devices. Today an individual’s private information is currency, one we often give up in exchange for the convenience of digital devices. Since IoT devices generate and pass a great deal of personal information, the cost of these devices can be high, paid in the currency of privacy. IoT privacy is a pressing concern.

So, how can one build and develop IoT devices that consider the new ideas of ownership and take into account growing privacy concerns?  There must be a fundamental understanding of how standardization will play a role in IoT privacy and ownership, as well as plans to evolve as quickly as technologies and questions arise.

Could your organization benefit from a more comprehensive understanding of the Internet of Things? IEEE offers courses to help businesses prepare through the online course program IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things.



Strother, N. (2017, March 24) IoT and Millennials. Forbes.

Michels, D. (2017, September 12) Today’s Property Rules Don’t Work in our IoT World. Network World.


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How Smart is your Smart Home?

How Smart is Your Smart Home? from IEEE Continuing and Professional Education

The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly cropping up all around us, especially on the smart home front. Voice assistants responding to your verbal requests or smart phones serving as all-in-one remote controls over various home devices are only the first rays of this dawning digital revolution. A recent study by Intel Corporation revealed that 71% of consumers believe that all homes will own at least one smart-home device by 2025. But despite the increasing number of capabilities that these smart devices boast, just how smart are they when it comes to efficiency and power usage?

Not too long ago, the popular Nest device experienced an unexpected malfunction for many users. According to Nick Bilton (2016), “the ‘smart’ thermostat suffered from a mysterious software bug that drained its battery and sent [their] home into a chill in the middle of the night.” Bilton further pointed out that such a malfunction posed particular risks to the elderly or ill, or to those who have infants. Fixing the Nest required users to follow a nine-step procedure, including recharging the device via USB cable for over an hour.

While smart home devices carry many benefits to users, such an incident underscores the need for IoT devices to maintain efficiency and reliable, long-lasting battery life. Having to recharge batteries or wait on delayed responses is not only irritating, but it can also be dangerous for consumers.

Wake-Up Radio is one way that future devices can significantly extend battery life of smart devices while preserving efficiency. Find out more about this groundbreaking solution in IEEE’s Wake-Up Radio Technology Report, coming soon!


Bilton, N. (2016, Jan. 13). Nest thermostat glitch leaves users in the cold. The New York Times.

Forbes Technology Council. (2017, June 6). Best smart home devices and how IoT is changing the way we live. Forbes.



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