Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Watch the mesh: Qualcomm’s forward-looking move

Riccardo M. shared with his thought for the recent Qualcomm’s forward-looking move:

The recent bid for the British chip manufacturer CSR by Qualcomm is a clear symptom of the SmartHome war getting hotter on the mesh wireless protocol front.
A quick recap of the facts.
· Mesh protocols in homes have been available for a long time with Insteon.
· The Thread protocol, announced by NEST and Samsung, will add mesh capabilities to 6LowPan.
· CSR has developed mesh extensions on top of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
It is worth pointing out that BLE has a definite advantage against all other contenders: it is natively supported by both Android and iOS Smartphones and tablets without the need of any hub or gateway. This is a feature wifi has as well, but the low power consumption sets BLE a step above.
An agnostic BLE with mesh extensions might become a de-facto standard in a scenario where a plethora of industrial protocols fight to take a place under the spotlight. In such an “everybody against everybody” war scenario I could imagine Apple supporting a mesh BLE but I have a harder time picturing an iPhone or iPad supporting Thread, ZigBee or Z-wave.
CSR’s knowhow on BLE Mesh might have been one of the most important reasons for its acquisition. When adding all the above to Qualcomm’s important role in the definition of AllSeen/AllJoin SmartHome normalization platform, I am tempted to consider them as the most forward-looking company in the SmartHome landscape that will play a key role in creating the interoperability the SmartHome market needs so badly in order to go mainstream.

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