The concept of the connected home has been around for decades. At first, it was an idea that appeared in science fiction novels, but following the birth of the internet, the possibility of the connected home suddenly became real. Home devices such as heating and security systems can now easily be controlled remotely by a smartphone, tablet, or laptop—usually via an app.
However, we’ve only just started seeing a dramatic rise in the number of connected homes. With the growing number of connected devices now available, people are becoming increasingly accustomed to the idea of household-appliance connectivity. What’s more, voice control and artificial intelligence (AI) systems have matured rapidly in recent years, with many of the software bugs fixed, to deliver a much friendlier experience when using these connected devices.
At the forefront of the connected-home industry today is Hubble Connected, which provides its Hubble platform as a service (PaaS) to manufacturers looking to give their products Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity. Its customers include Motorola, which uses Hubble for its Smart Nursery Connected baby monitor devices.
Since its launch, the Hubble PaaS has run on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Mahesh Sapre, director of technology at Hubble Connected, India, says, “Our journey with AWS started around five years ago when we began developing our PaaS solution. Back then, what we saw was a mountain of unconnected devices situated in people’s homes, and the wide use of smartphones and apps. Our goal was to essentially connect the two via the cloud so that people could control their devices using apps.”
The Hubble PaaS enables connectivity for devices—such as baby monitors, home-security cameras, and entertainment systems—in about 1 million connected homes. For all these devices, the AWS Cloud supports the PaaS data streams, provides storage mostly for content such as video, and delivers smart notifications.
“For us, the AWS relationship has been a great success,” says Sapre. “The AWS Cloud is highly reliable, and we’re operating in a market where people are concerned with the performance of their connected devices as much they are with cost. With a baby monitor, the most important thing is that you can trust it will continue to work the moment you leave the baby’s room.”
The stability of the Hubble PaaS is the result of using AWS services. These include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, which support key functions such as Hubble’s media-streaming server, API server, and bootstrap server, which in turn ensure secure streams of communication between the PaaS and the connected devices. Owners of the monitors and cameras keep track of data that the devices are capturing through Hubble’s smart notification system, which uses Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS).
More than 6.5 billion objects, mostly video, are currently stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). This figure is growing by about 150 gigabytes a day as more data is captured by the monitors and cameras. Right now, Hubble Connected is looking to integrate machine learning software—possibly using Amazon Machine Learning—with this vast store of data to develop new services.
The data that helps Hubble Connected manage the Hubble PaaS is held in an Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) MySQL database. All metadata events are stored in Amazon DynamoDB, which Hubble Connected recently moved to from Apache Cassandra. Sapre comments, “Moving from Cassandra to Amazon DynamoDB was very significant for us because we reduced the costs of our NoSQL database by 60 percent. With Amazon DynamoDB, we get millisecond latency, regardless of scale.”
Hubble Connected counts the reliability of the AWS Cloud and the cost-effectiveness of services such as Amazon DynamoDB as two of the reasons that AWS is the preferred cloud provider. “We work with AWS because Hubble Connected and AWS are collaborators,” Sapre says. Hubble Connected is integrating key services such as Amazon Alexa, the voice-controlled digital assistant, into its Hubble PaaS. This will give Hubble Connected customers, such as Motorola, highly reliable voice-controlled features for their products.
Hubble Connected announced the integration of Alexa into Motorola’s Lifestyle Audio products at the CES 2018 convention in Las Vegas. At the time, Dino Lalvani, chairman of Hubble Connected, said, “Combining Amazon Alexa with our true wireless audio products is a natural progression, and this announcement puts us at the head of the AI-by-voice revolution. We have consciously made the decision to implement the Amazon Alexa service across all our products.”
To learn more, visit https://aws.amazon.com/iot/.