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Connected-home Babel: There's an app for that, startup says

Stephen Lawson | Nov. 24, 2014
In the dream home of the Internet of Things, all your appliances would talk to each other. A fragmented IoT industry makes that pretty hard today, but Yonomi says its smartphone app can make it easy.

The company is studying a premium, paid version of the app that would include added features, such as an ability to suggest new routines based on the user's activities. However, there will always be a free version of the app, Dickson said.

Most consumers with home IoT devices, including early adopters, don't have enough of them to make a separate hub device worthwhile, said Andy Castonguay, an IoT analyst at Machina Research. But that may change as more appliances get connected. If it works, a phone app is probably the easiest way for consumers to manage connected homes once they've accumulated a lot of products, he said.

Castonguay agrees the industry won't converge on a single standard for all devices, though it may boil down to just a few.

"This market, especially, is one of heavy fragmentation, and of innovation, which essentially throws a wrench in the works of a single interface among devices," Castonguay said.

Yonomi's job may get harder as more products hit the market, said Technalysis Research analyst Bob O'Donnell. The company will have to scale up its efforts if it wants to connect to each device that comes along, he said.

"Can an app keep up with all the options that are out there? It's a challenge for anybody," O'Donnell said.


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