Industry Focus: Device Controllers
The world is transitioning into a place in which everything is alive, that is, a world where inanimate and abstract objects can have individual identities, memory, processing capabilities, and the ability to communicate and sense, monitor, and control their own behaviours. Device controllers are one example of such life-changing gadgets. For that reason, more job seekers are oriented towards this field, with the understanding that these smart devices represent the future.
What are Device Controllers?
People who own a smart home, or smart home devices, no longer have to struggle with multiple controllers. A home device controller is essential for remote access and control of the home automation devices from a computer, smartphone or tablet. What is important is that the access isn’t limited to the inside of the home. It also allows the owner to access the home devices from anywhere in the world; the only necessary thing is the Internet. No matter where the owner is, this handy gadget gives the control of almost everything in the house; it can turn the lights or appliances on and off, open door locks, shut the garage, monitor energy use, check temperature and humidity sensors or even have motion detectors notify the owner instantly if movement is detected on the property.
As it is cited in an article in International Journal of Advanced Science and Technology:
“According to the Smart Homes Association, the best definition of smart home technology is the integration of technology and services through home networking for a better quality of living.” That is exactly what device controllers provide us with: an easier and better life. Device controllers give people access to their homes, in the palms of their hands.
With the rising popularity of the smart home, the desire for convenience creates a revolutionary new market for device controllers.
Choosing a Device Controller
Selecting the right device controller can be a daunting task, as there are several controllers to choose from, each of which has several features to consider: technology, devices, and function. After reviewing these features, the owner should choose the right controller for the application in a connected home automation environment.
When choosing a controller, an important consideration is the technology that is available and what suits the needs of the owner. Generally speaking, technology in the case of device controllers is referring to the type of communication and/or protocol that is being used to allow different devices to “talk” to each other. Some controllers use hardwired communication and some use Radio Frequency (RF) or Wi-Fi to communicate wirelessly. There are also those that use both the power line and radio frequency to ensure greater reliability. Some controllers are specific to a certain type of technology while other controllers support various technologies.
For that reason, the owner should first take a look at a combination of the technology he or she likes and devices that will be used in order to find the controller.
Device Controllers on the Market
The best way to further inform you about the device controllers is to provide you with examples of such devices and how they function:
- Sentri is an all-in-one home monitoring solution designed to make a home safer and smarter in seconds. It enables the customer to access all their home’s smart devices from one central app. The setup is simple, it lasts a few seconds, with no installation required and the Sentri’s mobile app gives the customer the power to be home anywhere.
- WigWag delivers a powerful, simple platform to make connected devices more manageable, secure and automatic. It lets the customer build intelligent environments anywhere with Internet-connected sensors and devices, by letting them graphically write rules, such as when something should happen and what to do next. No complicated programming languages or computers are necessary and rules are easily built on smartphones and tablets.
- Ivee controls other devices with the sound of the owner’s voice. The customers can use Ivee to adjust the temperature, receive Rush Hour Rewards, and even get friendly messages as they leave and enter their home. The device controller is constantly updated with new features, more devices to control and improved voice engines.
- Insteon is one of the most-reliable home control and automation technologies. Using dual-band technology, both the existing wires (power line) and radio-frequency (RF) communication, Insteon home automation devices add remote control and automation to lighting, appliance and home control applications of all types. From lighting control to integrated security systems, the gold-standard in home automation allows the customer to manage the home the way he or she wants.
Besides effective control over smart home appliances and devices, another benefit of device controllers is the opening of new job positions. This device requires great engineering and enabling of connectivity. New, innovative minds are just the right choice for the companies that produce these devices. Some job positions in such companies are:
You will help build and shape the Sentri experience for all iOS users. Some responsibilities include working extensively with outside data sources and APIs, designing and building a customization framework for developers, and participating in architectural review and design. A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or equivalent practical experience is preferred.
Product Design Engineer
As the Product Design Engineer, you will work closely with the product, tooling, quality, and project management teams to define, design, build, test, and manufacture new products. This individual will play a critical role in defining the look, feel, and experience behind every project. If you have BA/BS degree or equivalent practical experience you may be the right fit.
Backend Software Engineer
You will work actively to build and maintain core software infrastructure that is the backbone for every experience across the platform. The job includes writing clear, maintainable and performant code, researching and assessing the viability of new processing and data storage technologies. A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or equivalent practical experience is desirable.
In order to have an opportunity to work in this field, you will need a corresponding educational background. There are many European universities that offer technology-oriented bachelor and master study programs. Here are some examples:
- KTH Royal Institute of Technology: Information and Communication Technology (Sweden)
- University of Edinburgh: Computer Science (United Kingdom)
- Politécnica de Madrid: Software Engineering (Spain)
- Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne: Computer Science (France)
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology: Master Robotics, Systems and Control (Switzerland)
- Politecnico di Milano: Automation and Control Engineering (Italy)
- Technical University of Munich: Computational Science and Engineering (Germany)
- University of Manchester: Advanced Control & Systems Engineering (United Kingdom)
With new companies producing device controllers, these smart devices are becoming more accessible and affordable, and the ubiquity of smartphones and ease of application development have offered new opportunities for improvements. Therefore, homes in which devices communicate with each other and provide remote monitoring and control features will be reaching the mainstream, as well as the jobs in this field.