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January 5, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 12:19pm

O2 connected hub set to offer IoT smart homes to 25m Brits

News: System allows users to control the home remotely and machine learning lets it learn users’ habits.

By Joao Lima

The UK is set to take the lead in the European smart home space as O2 plans to offer its 25 million customers a connected hub by next summer.

As a result, a further eight to ten million British homes could be made smart on top of the current four million households.

The company will put out to the market a connected home service that brings together central heating, home security and energy management under a single internet-based platform, according to the FT.

O2 has signed an agreement with telco AT&T which will see its Digital Life home management and automation platform being used in Europe for the first time.

The announcement will be officially made at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) being held in Las Vegas this week.

AT&T has been tasked with providing the software. Thermostat maker tado° will also be involved in the venture.

According to reports, O2 will launch a set of devices that will link to a single hub, including smart plugs, cameras, intruder alarms, door locks, water and smoke sensors and other services to manage the home both remotely and automatically.

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The Home system will use a hub and smartphone app that will allow consumers to control different areas of the house. The embedded software will also have some machine learning capabilities to learn homeowners’ habits and control different verticals, such as energy, autonomously.

The scheme will firstly launch in North London this summer and it will be expanded to other areas of the UK throughout the year. Engineers will be tasked with installing the hub at customers’ homes. The hub has also been designed to be used as a back-up broadband service and contains a 4G SIM card.

Speaking to CBR, Dean Adkins, CTO of Ampersand Mobile, said that those attempting to enter the smart home business to primarily focus on the homeowner or end user.

He said: "They must ensure that what is being developed is easy to use, seamless and does not hinder the day-to-day lives of the people living in the home. The technology must help and improve the quality of life of the occupants and therefore have meaning and purpose.

"A real smart hub must use the cloud and machine learning to better enrich the life of the homeowner and predicatively anticipate an occupant’s requirements."

In line with O2‘s announcement, Adkins also said the user will have decreasing amounts of interaction with the apps and the hub, making everyday life easier. "It also ensures that users’ eco footprint runs at its optimal level, both helping the environment and potentially providing a cost saving to the occupant."

As 56% of Brits are interested in the ability to manage or automate parts of your home remotely via a smart device, security also plays a big role in this segement.

Adam Simon, Global MD Retail at CONTEXT, told CBR: "The secure disposable of smart home equipment [is a big question today].

"There is this kind of nightmare scenario of people dumping their device in a skip, and that device has all the IP addresses and passwords in their for someone to get into your home. How do you dispose goods securely?

"60% of people do not know enough about smart home products, they need to be educated. It is a journey that goes through education, and then purchase, and people are trying to jump straight into purchase, without knowing."


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