Insteon: Reliability and range are critical in the IoT space

Insteon: Reliability and range are critical in the IoT space
Insteon, which recently announced its $39.99 new hub late last December, puts its ahead of the competition in terms of retail price. Joe Dada, CEO of Insteon, spoke to that the price range is introductory, and the company is looking to offer the hub for free in the Insteon kit sometime in the near future.

“We’ve demolished barriers in order to reach the broadest customer demographic,” Dada said. Insteon has partnered with tech giants Google, Apple and Microsoft to help it reach the broadest possible markets. According to Insteon, the leverage is enormous because they hope to build a large audience whereby for every product they build, it can reach users over half a billion compatible phones and tablets, whether it’s iOS, Android or Windows.

The partnerships deliver a big difference to Insteon. Before these platforms came along previously, if a company wanted to support a manufacturer’s light bulb, it had to write codes for that manufacturer. Now, according to Insteon, it can just write codes for the platform and gets all the compatible light bulbs. “We can do one product development cycle and reach a very large audience. Likewise, on the software side, we can do one app-development cycle. Instead of gaining support of a single brand, we gain support of numerous brands,” said Dada.

DIY versus SI

According to Dada, there is a lot of overlap of the two markets. “A lot of people might buy something in the store to bring it home and install it, and that very same person might hire someone to install a different product for them,” he indicated.

Dada sees a big difference between the service providers that are charging steep monthly fees and the rest of the marketplace. He explained that for the most part, service providers are definitely an installer-based-only-channel. But increasingly there will be more and more blending of the two.

Dada said, “I believe we are going to see more consumers adding both systems. Most of these items are not that difficult to install where many of them are just plugging and screwing. Why in the world would you need an installer to do that?”

If the product in the application is designed right, the consumer should be more than ready to install it, he added.

Insteon equates to reliability and range

While leading standards such as Z-Wave and ZigBee continue to battle it out head-to-head, Insteon goes by its own protocol that employs a dual-mesh networking topology in which all devices are peers and can each autonomously transmit, receive and repeat messages. The Insteon standard enables devices to interoperate through powerline and RF technology. 

“Both frequencies can be used simultaneously and can generate by far the greatest range and reliability,” Dada explained. “The way we do it is very scalable so it’s common that our customers have hundreds of our products in the house. You can’t do it reliably with the other two technologies.”

Consumers demand reliability. By throwing electrical wires to the mix, range and reliability are significant factors with which consumers consider before making a device purchase. “Reliability is really important in this space. When you can’t see what you are controlling, it’s really important to know that it works right.” Dada added.

Communication between standards

Like a language barrier, the different protocols cannot communicate with one another, such as Wi-Fi radio cannot talk to Bluetooth radio, or Insteon radio cannot talk to ZigBee or Z-Wave. However, through the use of hubs or routers, it can be achieved.

Dada stressed, “I think people make too much about the technologies. It’s about the product, it’s about the consumer, and it’s about the experience. How much does it cost, how easy it is to install, and how reliable it is will always be some of the questions consumers ponder.”

“In the end, consumers will make their choice,” Dada said.

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