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27 February 2015

Evrythng signs Gooee’s smart lighting up to its cloud PaaS

Evrythng, a hardware agnostic PaaS platform for IoT apps, has partnered with Gooee, a new entrant into the smart lighting game. Gooee makes sensors which it hopes will be integrated into lighting systems. With Evrythng controlling the backend, the pair hope to “build a global sensory network platform and become the operating system for smart connected lighting.”

Gooee’s light engines, the term for a device that integrates an LED light with some degree of compute power, include sensors and two-way communication, which means that they can be deployed to form a network. The company hopes that the engine’s compatibility with a variety of control systems will allow them to be deployed in high volumes – with Evrythng managing up to tens of millions of individual devices and the data they generate in the cloud.

Aurora, itself a rather large lighting supplier, has also licensed the Gooee platform to integrate it into Aurora-branded products, including its specialist retail lighting division Microlights. Gooee’s CTO Simon Coombes told us that Aurora was a key launch partner for the platform.

Gooee provides all the hardware required for a smart lighting system, including the LED light engine, ASICs, sensors, actuators and switches, as well as system integration for OEM and ODM customers looking to deploy a turnkey product. It also supplies gateway devices to control deployed lights, but also manufactures standalone light fittings.

The company’s range of sensors include daylight levels, temperatures, CO2 and smoke, and Gooee says its systems can provide “access to multiple applications such as security systems via motion detection, environment management and product scanning for logistics and tracking applications.”

Based on this vision, and the complete lack of any mention of the smart home in the press materials, it’s safe to assume that Gooee is initially targeting industrial and business installations. It is effectively offering smart lighting as a service, and will use its systems integration expertise to try and win over businesses that have yet to make the jump to a connected lighting system – and those who can be persuaded of the benefits of collating environmental data from their premises to garner additional operational data.

“This partnership creates a robust operating system for the lighting industry that increases velocity and adaptability with multiple applications connecting and pulling data into one place,” said Gooee’s CEO Andrew Johnson. “Our approach is based on interoperability and universal accessibility to give the lighting industry a turnkey solution to connect with a multitude of systems.”

Back in October, Evrythng announced that it had begun a “new partnership with Samsung via its global investment arm.” This looks like Samsung betting on the platform becoming a pervasive or industry-standard platform that can be used to connect all manner of devices – but perhaps with a focus on the smart home given Samsung’s ownership of the SmartThings brand and its DIY connected home product line.

Details of the Samsung deal were fairly scant, but Evrythng’s announcement said the deal was an endorsement of its technology and platform. With the Gooee win, the Evrythng platform is poised to expand into a much wider install-base, as businesses opt to install smart lighting systems and exploit the benefits of backhauled sensor data that can be gathered from any room which needs a light – i.e. pretty much every room in every building in the world, eventually.

So what has Samsung thrown its money at exactly? Well, the Evrythng Engine is an identity management system used for categorizing and then handling connected objects – which the company offers in a PaaS model. The platform creates a unique identity that can then be plugged into APIs and ported to a required end-point – allowing, for example, a business (and its customers) to track the activity of a connected product via a smartphone app, or a lab manager to monitor the progress of experimental equipment. Slightly less glamorous but equally useful examples would include the usual range of inventory management, industrial automation and geolocational services.

The Active Digital Identities (ADIs) for each device are likened to profiles on a social network, which Evrythng can then use to connect devices to end users and back to the manufacturer. Evrythng has previously partnered with smart-labelers Avery Dennison and Thinfilm, providing the PaaS for managing the labels on Diageo’s Thinfilm-enabled products, as well as providing its Active Digital Identities for ARM’s new mbed ecosystem, building an IoT marketplace with IBM and being selected by Deutsche Telekom to develop enterprise apps for its M2M Partner Program.

Evrythng CEO Niall Murphy explained that the ADIs for each product are extremely granular, in terms of the information that can be supplied to partners who might want to access the data. Certain third-party applications might want access to certain data, such as a connected fridge wanting to know the serial number and dietary information of a product, but perhaps not needing the purchase price or location. This granular approach can be used to shield private information.

Murphy said that the Evrythng platform is currently run using Amazon’s Web Services, with a business model that charges for each active ADI in a given period, typically on a monthly or annual basis. He also noted the difference between consumable products, such as a bottle of Johnnie Walker, and a durable one such as a Gooee light fixture – with consumables typically being cheaper to manage but deployed in higher volumes than durables, which are lower in number deployed but higher in data generated.

The consumable devices will typically generate less data in a given time frame, as the durable item’s higher frequency of events means that it logs more status updates with the PaaS. The whisky bottle might only log its arrival in a store, its purchase, and then perhaps its arrival in a home – whereas a light fitting with a motion sensor will be constantly updating the cloud on its sightings every time it needs to turn its luminaire on or off.