Intel’s acquisition of Lantiq is great news for everybody involved in the smart gateway field, for it will galvanise the market and win over anybody who still doubts that such a dedicated device on the premise will be essential for the intelligent connected home of the future.
It highlight’s Intel’s recognition that its vision of making “everything smart and connected” depends on having a home gateway as the custodian of security and privacy, acting as an equal partner with the cloud. The gateway will play a crucial role combating emerging threats, which could include someone taking control of your PC, or remotely operating your home security system to unlock doors for a burglary.
The Lantiq takeover further reinforces the growing consensus that the home gateway will be pivotal for the emerging IoT market, which at last is really on the radar screen for all potential players in the connected home and where Intel wants to be a key provider of silicon. As well as acting as the portal to the cloud over broadband, the gateway will guarantee connectivity within the home and provide a unified point of integration and control over all connected objects, irrespective of the underlying wireless communications protocol. There is a profusion of Smart Home radio protocols today.
At some point, we should see one emerge from Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, DECT ULE, Bluetooth or maybe Thread, but there could be others. So the gateway will play a significant role as an interconnection device as it will give a unified view to the end-user.. That will provide the platform for the device interoperability that will enable additional services in the home. For one of the most exciting things about IoT is the prospect of enabling new applications and services no one has yet conceived by exploiting synergy between the different sectors such as energy, security, environmental control, entertainment and health.
A simple use case shows the benefit from such integration: your gateway can automatically call you, warning you that smoke has been detected in your home. You can then check your in-house camera to realize that the oven was left on in your kitchen. You can simply switch it off from your mobile app. There will be countless other examples.
Intelligence can not only be located in the cloud. It is necessary to put intelligence in the Home Gateway for better latency and the best quality of experience. In case of Internet unavailability, it is important to have local actions within the home, and this is possible only thanks to a Home Gateway.
For Intel, the Lantiq acquisition dovetails neatly with its unfolding smart gateway strategy. That strategy really started with Intel’s acquisition of the Texas Instruments Puma chipset range for cable modems in 2010, since when it has become strong in the cable gateway market. Intel was lacking a corresponding product line for DSL and fibre at a time of accelerating growth there, but Lantiq plugs that gap perfectly.
This comes at a time when all the major chipset makers are jostling to gain a firm foothold in the digital home. Qualcomm for example is leading the AllSeen Alliance to promote interoperability among IoT components, based on the AllJoyn system enabling devices to advertise and share their capabilities with their neighbours. Then Broadcom has its Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) platform designed to assist development of Internet connectivity among consumer devices, particularly those without existing on board communications support.
As a key software platform provider for the digital home, SoftAtHome supports all these chipsets and is working closely with them to ensure that our operator customers can enter and exploit IoT as easily as possible. We are delighted that Intel has now given the market a major endorsement with its full entry and commitment to our vision of the highly connected and intelligent home. It will make it that much easier for us to deliver on our promise to enable and equip the digital home of the future