A couple of years back Qualcomm began an effort to become as powerful in IoT (Internet of Things) devices as it is in smartphone. I recently got an update from Qualcomm, and man—it has made progress. Now Qualcomm just has to link the parts together into a true solution but it has a ton of parts.
Let’s talk about Qualcomm’s progress and the variety of things that will now quickly and easily connect to your smartphone or tablet to control parts of your present and future smarthome.
Building A Smarthome
The issue with a smarthome today is you need to start with a hub and then buy stuff that works with that hub, or you’ll end up with a ton of apps that don’t talk to each other that you have to manage separately. In my own house I have apps for the gate, garage door, security system, lights, and cameras—few of which are even aware of what else is installed in the home. Amazon’s Echo is stepping into this breach but it doesn’t do scenes which means you have to name each individual device you want to control and call it out by name. This is pretty awkward when you need to set a mode or turn off everything when you are going to bed.
Fortunately, there is a hub that Qualcomm supports—the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator—but it is built into an appliance. The good news is it also appears very similar in coverage to its SmartThings hub which is far more affordable, but even it isn’t yet compatible with every Qualcomm device so you can’t use Qualcomm’s brand to assure it will operate with the hub. Supported devices are increasing all the time so the best path is to start with the hub and then pick devices that show up on the supported list. It is interesting to note that Samsung’s Hub does talk to Echo now so you can add voice control to it.
I do struggle with the idea of putting something like a hub into a refrigerator because that type of appliance has a typical useful life exceeding 8 years and hubs are changing at nearly an annual rate—suggesting you may have to change out the refrigerator more often than you otherwise would or lose a ton of functionality. Be aware that this refrigerator isn’t cheap either, coming in at nearly $4,500. But it will most certainly impress the neighbors. The display on the outside is amazing.
Qualcomm is in a bunch of other devices but—if you want to build a solution–you’ll need to make sure each connects to the hub you’ve chosen to start with. For instance, if you start with the SmartThings hub you’ll find a list of supported devices here.
Qualcomm has a ton of things using its technology including:
- GE/Jasco BT Smart Switch and Dimer
- FEIT Electric HomeBrite
- Kuna Smart Light
- Megaman Ingenium BLU
- Avi-on Movable Smart Switch
- Minebea Smart Adjustable Light
- Mipow Play Bulb/Candle/Garden
- ecobee Thermostats
- Samsung Smart Appliances Family Hub
- LG Appliances
- Edwin the Duck (yep a Smart duck)
Of these only the ecobee Thermostat is supported by the SmartThings hub but Apple’s HomeKit also supports that device and the Kuna Smart Light.
Wrapping Up: Qualcomm’s Made A Ton Of Progress But…
Qualcomm has made a great deal of progress getting folks to use its technology in the growing IoT segment but the next step is to ensure these devices interoperate so that people can control them en masse and not just individually though an app unique to each device. Whether it is Samsung’s SmartThings hub, Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit or something else—getting these devices to play well with each other will go a long way toward giving us the smarthome we want in our coming highly-automated future.