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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Brain Corporation: The Real Driver for the Connected Consumer is yet to Emerge

Dr. Todd Hylton, EVP at Brain Corporation, explains how to grow and evolve the smart home market prior to speaking at CONNECTIONS™:

What is the most important next step to engage consumers in smart home solutions, connected entertainment services, and/or value-added services like tech support and connected health?

Brain Corporation sees three overlapping challenges that must be addressed in order to effectively address the consumer.

1) Integration: Current connected home solutions are largely “siloed” into independent products providing a particular function or service. Thus, although these products may be connected to their manufacturers and may offer mobile user interfaces, they are not well-connected to each other across brands and functions. Smart home solutions are, for these reasons, a largely disjointed set of products and services that resist integration and ease of use. Service providers are available that offer integration, but most of these solutions are more costly than most consumers are willing to pay and do not easily accommodate changes in the home or in the consumers interaction with it.

2) Context, prediction and adaptation: A home is not a static or simply periodic environment. Smart homes need to adjust to the context of the home, and that context may be frequently changing. For example, a smart home should act differently depending on the presence of children, pets, a party, etc. In other words, a smart home needs to be able to make context-based predictions of what it should do and continuously improve and adapt those predictions with time.

3) User Interface: Instead of users having to learn/adjust their habits to the devices, the devices should learn to adapt to the users. User interactions a typical UI app should be minimal.

What is the biggest challenge your company faces in 2015?

Brain Corporation has developed a technology that allows the user to train the functions of the smart home by showing the system a few examples of the desired behavior. After training, the user can initiate a function using a simple signal (e.g. a gesture, or opening a book) without the need to access a mobile user interface or remote control device. Our challenge in 2015 is to illustrate the value of this approach in a number of use cases and find partners who are interested in its implementation.

What is the biggest driver for the connected consumer market?

We believe that the real driver for the connected consumer is yet to emerge. In order for the smart home to be a reality, the user interfaces need to be much simpler and better integrated and the homes really need to be “smart”. For example, programming the function of smart home is a task that few people will be interested in undertaking, and even those that do will be stuck with the problem of constant maintenance and adjustment as the situation within the home changes.

What are the most important initiatives your company is taking in 2015?

In 2015 Brain Corporation has initiated a Technical Services Division that offers R&D services to those interested in developing the smart, connected home. Our expertise in machine learning, computing and robotics offers our clients access to new methodologies and technologies that might otherwise not be available to them. Our goal is to build strong partnerships with our clients so that we can efficiently deliver state-of-the-art technologies that address the real challenges in the connected home.

Describe your vision for the smart home and entertainment markets in 2020?

The smart home of 2020 will be truly smart. A plethora of diverse devices (sensors, actuators, communication and entertainment) will be connected to a “brain” that automatically learns what the user wants to do and will adapt as those routines change. There will be no clunky user interfaces nor a pile of mobile apps necessary to make your homework. When you get a new device, it will connect automatically to all the other devices and to the “brain” and will begin learning what it is supposed to do simply by experiencing what the user does.

Dr. Todd Hylton will be speaking on the panel “The Future of Robotics in the Connected Home” on Thursday, May 21 at 10:45 AM. Other companies on the panel include Neato Corporation and TechKo Maid Inc.

For more information on CONNECTIONS speakers, sessions, or topics, visit www.connectionsus.com. Registration is still open!

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