Open Source as the Best Alternative

Posted by Kai Kreuzer on June 24, 2014
There we have it. Already one day before Google I/O starts, the Google approach to a smart home ecosystem has been published. So just a few days after Apple's announcement of HomeKit, we developers are confronted with the choice of two completely new approaches: The one from Apple with a focus on privacy, but limited to the upscale Apple device universe. The other from Google Nest, where everything is cloud based and where privacy is at risk. Although Nest currently tries hard to convince people of the opposite, which is especially necessary after acquiring Dropcam - but the evidence is too crystal clear that mothership Google will offer sweet candy to Nest users, so that they sooner or later share their data and eventually get ads on their thermostats and other devices.

So is this the destiny of smart homes? Being either fully equipped with Apple hardware or permanently connected to the Google cloud sharing every single detail? Well, luckily there is a third option - and one that has already proven to be a success story in other domains already: Open source! There are clear benefits of an open source solution:

  • There is no single company having full control and power
  • It is future proof as it continues to exist even if a company disappears or changes direction
  • It drives innovation through community engagement
  • It is flexible as anybody can extend it and adapt it to their needs
The best example for the innovation that is happening in the IoT and smart home space is what people do with the Raspberry Pi - it is incredible what this small little device is used for.
I am therefore very thrilled that openHAB is involved in organizing the "Forget Me Not" Design Challenge together with element14 and the Eclipse Foundation. Participants in this challenge will receive hardware including a Raspberry Pi, EnOcean sensors and a Tektronic oscilloscope. With this equipment, they are encouraged to build an IoT solution based on the Eclipse SmartHome framework. We will provide developer builds of openHAB 2.0 to them as a ready to go solution that is able to talk to EnOcean devices. As a preparation for this, we will present the possibilities of Eclipse SmartHome and openHAB during a webinar on July 8 - so do not miss to register for it and help building the smart home future on open source technologies!