The integration challenge
Adding IoT hubs to deliver smart home services has been the favoured mechanism because those hubs offer a highly-targeted, cost-effective solution, with dedicated processing resource. Furthermore, a reasonable level of security is afforded by the fact that the hardware is typically designed for a single purpose.
Relocating that hardware – specifically the radio technology – into the home gateway is relatively straightforward. More challenging however is the massive software integration exercise this creates. Diverse IoT ecosystems, such as home security, smart lighting and e-healthcare, must now be combined within the gateway, each requiring multiple standards, each with their own resource requirements, and possibly even using different operating systems. And this doesn’t even begin to factor in the extended development time due to quality assurance and testing. In summary, it’s complicated!
But this assumes a single software environment that maintains essential core gateway functions alongside smart home services such as home security, smart lighting, and e-healthcare solutions. The challenge is providing a secure environment in which all these applications can coexist and run independently within the home gateway. In essence, we need a new architecture: one that is flexible enough to enable all use-cases, easy to develop software for, simple to test and validate, extensible so as to offer new services, and one which also provides enhanced security. We need virtualization.