Archive for SURE Universal

SURE Universal Brings Order To Market Confusion, Creating The ‘Soul’ of IoT

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 17, 2018 by itnerd

As the IoT continues its explosive global growth, “smart” hardware devices have been taking up all the media headlines. However, smart devices are only as valuable as the software that runs them. The smart money is migrating to software, recognizing the benefits and services software brings to consumers, and the business opportunities it creates for vendors.

Telcos in particular are well-positioned to dominate the smart home/IoT space says Ariel, because they hold an insurmountable lead on hardware and services penetration of households.

For Telcos and other service providers, the missing pieces aren’t new gadgets, but interoperability, security, and most importantly, a business model that can work alongside their existing models. SURE Universal’s OCF-compliant software offers all of these benefits; we make new IoT and smart home deployments easy, fast, safe, and profitable.

Using SURE Universal Platform, the operators can choose their own IoT hardware based on any existing radio protocol, such as, Wi-Fi, BLE, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Lora, NB-IoT while SURE is providing the API for connection between the OCF application layer and the smart device radio protocol. This way the operators avoid the hardware supplier lock while enjoying the interoperability and security of the OCF standard.

SURE Universal is employing Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) business model because it is completely aligned with the most prevalent Telco revenue model.  For Telcos and other providers, SURE Universal’s revenue model is a low-overhead business extension that also provides an interoperable, secure, accessible, and cost effective solution for the many devices used in today’s smart home and IoT.

For more information, visit: http://www.sureuniversal.com.

SURE Universal And Open Connectivity Foundation Deliver Interoperability For The Connected Home

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 18, 2017 by itnerd

SURE Universal will spearhead a series of product demonstrations at the 2018 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that will represent a milestone in IoT market development.

The company has been selected by the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) to showcase the groundbreaking interoperability between home electronics that are NOW possible through the emergence of the OCF standard. SURE Universal will conduct demonstrations that will effortlessly operate multiple smart home and IoT devices of different types and brands, such as set-top boxes, gateways, smart TVs and appliances, using its OCF compliant software. The OCF standard is now supported by over 300 global technology leaders, including Samsung, LG, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Cisco and Electrolux.

As the first client software certified by OCF, SURE Universal will participate in the OCF Pavilion at CES, demonstrating products from multiple OCF member companies working seamlessly with other through SURE Universal Remote. In addition, SURE Universal will be showing both Linux and Android gateways and set-top boxes featuring its award-winning smart home solutions. The company will also announce certification of its iOS mobile client, which will join the company’s top-rated and massively popular Android SURE Universal client (30 million downloads) as the universal remote control solution.

Interoperability and Security Through OCF

Until now, one of the greatest obstacles to IoT and smart home adoption has been the lack of a universal IoT standard for manufacturers to use when designing smart home products, and one that consumers can trust to work as expected inside their homes. The market has so far been confused and constricted by proprietary systems from large and small tech companies that don’t communicate with products that exist outside their own branded ecosystems.

By contrast, the OCF standard provides a universal language for device interoperability. The OCF technology incorporates and builds on the proven technologies of both the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) and Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) standards, which have been successfully deployed in billions of electronics products worldwide. OCF takes these core technologies deeper into the smart home environment, particularly through the inclusion of a security architecture that manufacturers can count on.

Security against hacking and other intrusions is a primary concern for consumers as they fill their homes with smart, connected IoT products. However, many simple smart devices, such as light switches and outlets, cannot provide genuine security because of the lack of built-in computing power in such cost-driven products. As a result, many manufacturers don’t enter the market, because no one manufacturer or business can take responsibility for attack vulnerabilities that might hit millions of smart home networks. By adding its own layer of security, particularly through the cloud and the gateway — the prime entry points for unwanted intrusion — OCF is able to assume responsibility for network security. This brings tremendous value to the IoT market, especially for manufacturers.

The International Consumer Electronics Show is held January 9-12 in Las Vegas NV. SURE Universal will participate in the Open Connectivity Foundation pavilion, which is located in the Sands Expo Center, Booth 42914.

SURE Universal To Revolutionize Set-Top Box Market With the Universal Smart Home Solution

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2017 by itnerd

SURE Universal, creators of next-generation IoT software for electronics and appliances, is extending its leadership in the interoperable smart home market with powerful new solutions for set-top-box (STB) manufacturers.

At IBC 2017, held September 15 – 19, in Rai, Amsterdam, the company will be showcasing its state-of-the-art software that immediately makes any existing STB into an interoperable, smart home gateway utilizing existing standards and using existing off-the-shelf smart home hardware.

The SURE Universal Remote is already in use by more than 20 million consumers on their smartphones.  It is the first software solution certified by the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) standard, which moves into mass production later this year. SURE Universal Remote is ideal for STB vendors since it runs on both Android and iPhone devices and is focused on digital media, including such functionality as file sharing, content playing, and content streaming to the STB.

The new SURE Gateway is a software server for the STB, which is also based on the OCF standard. This ensures that STBs outfitted with the SURE Gateway software will work seamlessly across all OCF devices. In addition, SURE Gateway communicates to the existing Z-Wave and Wi-Fi smart home devices using the software bridge and the off-the-shelf USB Z-Wave and IR transmitters.

SURE Gateway is specifically aimed at the digital media STB vendors. Paired with SURE Universal Remote, SURE Gateway allows the remote control of the STB based smart TV functions including remote mouse, keyboard, content sharing, and streaming.

Today’s smart home devices work off a variety of control protocols and radio technologies. For example, smart TVs and security cameras often utilize Wi-Fi, while conventional TVs and disc players use infrared (IR) control. Smart home sensors often work through the popular Z-Wave and ZigBee protocols, and some of the future growing radio technologies are BLE, Lora, and NB-IoT. This technological confusion has made it difficult for STB makers and their operator customers to choose the right communication technologies and to establish a market foot-hold in the connected home. OCF is a new communication standard, backed by more than 400 leaders of the electronics industry. While it is destined to become mainstream technology in time and hundreds of companies plan to roll-out their OCF products in 2018, there are few devices on the market today that are OCF compatible. Consequently, SURE Universal has built and OCF software bridge to the existing Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and IR communication protocols allowing the use of the existing off-the-shelf connected home devices with SURE Gateway and SURE Universal Remote.

In this way, the STB can seamlessly control all devices and appliances throughout the consumers’ home, and SURE Universal solution can be brought to market by STB vendors with remarkable speed and economy.

By providing a standardized client, gateway and cloud offering, SURE Universal offers a complete software solution for smart home to STB makers and their MSO customers.

Open Connectivity Foundation Selects SURE Universal for IoT Interoperability Verification

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 26, 2017 by itnerd

SURE Universal Ltd. is the first client software certified by Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF). In addition, OCF has signed a new licensing agreement with SURE Universal to use SURE software for interoperability testing of hardware and software products seeking OCF certification.

OCF is an open-source standard for IoT products to work seamlessly together, regardless of the brand. A number of major appliance manufacturers will be announcing OCF support in their products later this year, with about one hundred more officially announcing support in 2018.

SURE Universal is at the forefront of this exciting new collaboration among the top hardware and appliance manufacturers in the world by providing a complete software solution – universal remote control, cloud server for data and communications, IoT gateway software, and smart appliance software.

SURE Universal is the ultimate solution to make sure all appliances from different brands talk to each other. Imagine traveling for work. You arrive at the hotel and check in via an app on your smartphone. You can then unlock your door, walk into the room and control the entire room environment from your smartphone – turn on lights, close the shades, turn the TV on to your favorite news channel, set your alarm to wake you up in the morning. With all the devices in the room from different manufacturers, everything can be controlled from one central location on your smartphone because of SURE Universal software with OCF support.

The latest version of SURE Universal Remote app for Android announced at MWC Shanghai, features Amazon Alexa voice assistant integration. Future versions of SURE Universal Remote will also include support for Google Voice and Apple Siri, making SURE Universal Remote the only smartphone application needed to control any connected device with voice commands.

The SURE Universal app in combination with OCF standard supports any wireless protocol in common use, ranging from specialized smart home RF technologies, like Z-Wave and Zigbee, to more common networking technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. With infrared blaster, SURE Universal can control more than a million different infrared appliances.

Currently, SURE Universal is working with some of the biggest appliance manufacturers in the world to assist them with implementation of the OCF protocol and to achieve interoperability with other IoT vendors. SURE business partners benefit from fast time-to-market because of the proven SURE Universal technology. All appliance vendors are welcome to contact SURE Universal for partnerships on OCF protocol implementation and certification.

SURE Universal Introduces Software-Defined IoT Platform Based On Open Connectivity Foundation Standard

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 18, 2017 by itnerd

SURE Universal Ltd. introduces the Software-Defined IoT (SD-IoTTM) platform as the next-generation software solution for digital media, Smart Home, and IoT. At MWC Shanghai in July 2017, SURE Universal demonstrated an Android based Set-Top Box (STB) that includes both Smart TV and IoT gateway functionality based on OCF protocol.

With the introduction of the IoT gateway, SURE achieves a complete SD-IoT solution including the smartphone universal remote client, cloud platform for communications data, and micro-controller software for smart appliances. The SURE SD-IoT platform enables any manufacturer to turn their legacy appliances into smart appliances that are compliant with the OCF standard and therefore interoperable with other Smart Home products.

The novel solution is based on the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) protocol, which is the leading open-source standard for IoT vendors to allow their appliances and smart devices to work seamlessly together, regardless of brand. OCF originated in 2017 from a merger of three different IoT standards developed separately by Microsoft, Samsung, and Qualcomm. Currently, OCF has close to 500 members including most leading appliance vendors in the world. SURE Universal delivered the first software solution to receive OCF mobile client certification.

The consumer part of the solution is the award winning SURE Universal Remote app for digital media and legacy infra-red appliances. It is available for Android and iOS smartphones and has millions of active users. The latest version of SURE Universal Remote for Android announced at MWC Shanghai, features Amazon Alexa voice assistant integration. Future versions of SURE Universal Remote will also include support for Google Voice and Apple Siri, making SURE Universal Remote the only smartphone application needed to control any connected device with voice commands.

The SURE Software-Defined IoT separates the control layer from the underlying hardware. So now, industry players including smart appliance vendors, STB manufacturers, and Multiple-System Operators (MSOs) can provide compelling IoT systems using inexpensive off-the-shelf devices from multiple vendors, and be assured of their interoperability. They will no longer be dependent on a single supplier for smart devices, and still will be able to provide their customers with a coherent, universal, and simple user experience.

Currently, SURE Universal is integrating the SD-IoT technology with some of the biggest appliance manufacturers in the world to assist them with implementation of the OCF protocol and to achieve interoperability with other IoT vendors. The appliance vendors benefit from fast time-to-market because of the proven SURE Universal technology. In addition, the SURE SD-IoT solution is future-proof because of its compliance with the OCF standard.

 

SURE Universal Shows How Next-Gen Advertising and Data Services Will Win The IoT

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2017 by itnerd

SURE Universal, the market leader in next-generation interface solutions for home electronics and appliances, has a message for the IoT companies that want to capitalize on it. Data services and ad-supported business models work beautifully today, and will be even more profitable tomorrow.

SURE Universal’s views on advertising and data as winning business models for the IoT come from a singular perspective. As creators of the Internet’s most widely-used universal remote control application, with over 20 million downloads to date, the company already enjoys robust revenues from industry-leading ad networks such as Google, Facebook and Baidu. When using the SURE app, ads delivered from these networks appear in unutilized “real estate” on the user’s smartphone screen.

However, because the SURE universal remote is the interface for an almost unlimited variety of IoT devices of every type, the relevance of ads and consumer data that travel through the SURE app are greatly enhanced. Media control is an obvious example; users who are using the SURE remote to watch their smart TV can be served relevant previews, and users of a connected music system can receive promotion for relevant artists. Market leaders like Facebook, which earns 95% of its revenues through advertising, are already taking advantage of these kinds of smart-device synergies.

Smart Ads for Smart Devices

At the same time, the ad-model opportunity for IoT software like SURE Universal becomes even more provocative when it can be applied to remote-controlled consumer behaviors beyond content consumption. For example, when the SURE remote is operating a smart washing machine, highly qualified ads for laundry supplies and accessories can be served. When the SURE remote is working a smart thermostat, relevant ads ranging from energy resellers to home improvement contractors can appear. In addition, machine learning and AI-based data services can be used for home energy optimization leading to significant savings for consumers. SURE’s “knowledge” of user’s appliances and their usage in the home can bring offers from insurance companies for usage-based extended warranty and insurance.

Because the SURE Universal remote can be so many “things” in the Internet of Things Universe, it becomes a uniquely valuable carrier for advertising and data services of all kinds. Even small customer profiling significantly increases the profitability of each service provided, and as the consumer acquires additional smart, IoT-connected objects of different kinds in their home, the personalization possibilities for targeted advertising and data services increase exponentially.

Considering that mobile ads now account for more than 50% of Internet advertising revenue, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), ad support provides a clear revenue path for all mobile-facing IoT companies, such as SURE, with little consumer pushback. The IAB reports that 65 percent of respondents surveyed who own IoT devices are willing to see ads on their IoT screens, and in fact, 62 percent said they already have.

Recognizing these opportunities, SURE Universal recently extended its reach into the IoT space with the launch of a technology-agnostic smart home platform, which works on the same ad-supported model (ad-free subscriptions are also available) and is designed to let manufacturers, telcos, MSOs and other service providers share in these revenue opportunities. The SURE platform is fully compliant with the new OCF (Open Connectivity Foundation) standard for device interoperability, and is the first remote control system to be OCF certified.

In addition to the SURE Universal Software Remote, the world’s top ranked, most highly-rated remote control application, the platform includes the SURE Cloud, a ready-to-configure cloud solution that provides vendors with an easy infrastructure for data analytics and monetization, as well as future services which can translate into new revenue opportunities.

These new revenue possibilities for these cutting-edge IoT applications are made possible by one of the oldest and most reliable revenue models in business – ad support. While the SURE Universal smart home solution provides OEMs and service providers with a state-of-the-art environment for today’s ad-supported revenue production, it also paves the way toward new kinds of monetization opportunities through data services never before possible prior to the popularization of smart homes and smart devices.

SURE Universal makes interaction between people and their appliances simple.  For more information, www.sureuniversal.com

 

SURE Universal: The First Remote Control For IoT Devices

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 8, 2017 by itnerd

Problem: The IoT is Young and Unstandardized

As our lives become increasingly connected with the smart, networked “things” of the IoT, our interactions with technology are changing. Content, data, status, and device functions are now exchanged in an almost continuous stream. Devices can be actively or passively controlled, by us or by other devices, and operated manually, or automatically. We may be watching a movie while a wearable monitors our wellness, and the home adjusts energy, and the laundry intelligently cycles itself. All these “smart” exchanges happen concurrently, usually through more than one enabling technology. Most of them are meant to be invisible, or at least unobtrusive to the user.

Because the IoT represents such a large opportunity, many competing technologies have entered this promising market. Many more will no doubt follow in the years to come. Today, at the very beginning of the USD $4-11 trillion IoT market that McKinsey predicts, there are already thousands of products, and dozens of protocols and languages to run them. Naturally, there are many incompatibilities. Separate software applications for each of these devices, and proprietary hardware, have been the primitive work-arounds in these early days of the IoT. “Incompatibilities have been the biggest roadblock to consumer adoption for smart products and services,” says Viktor Ariel, CEO and Founder of SURE Universal (formerly Tekoia). “There are many useful technologies, but they have not been able to speak and work together. Until now, this has have made the user experience into something too complex for most consumers.”

 

First Answer: A Universal Language for Connected Devices Emerges

In a landmark in IoT history, a method for a universal communication between smart devices has been agreed to by the Open Connectivity Forum (OCF). This consortium is led by dozens of the world’s largest and most influential global technology leaders, and represents hundreds of IoT-facing companies. The group has developed a framework that can exchange commands and data across different IoT devices. At the same time, the OCF framework can understand any enabling protocol, and is brand agnostic. This breakthrough has opened up new avenues of possibility in the user experience. The concept of a single controller that can run all of our connected IoT devices has finally became achievable.

 

First Solution: The Software Universal Remote Control (SURE)

The first software-based universal remote control to take advantage of the Open Connectivity framework is the SURE Universal remote. Already a popular download worldwide for home entertainment control, the SURE Universal app recently became the first mobile client application to receive the vaunted OCF certification. This positions SURE Universal as a control platform for virtually any electronic device, regardless of its application, functionality, location, or enabling technology. Users can now interact with any of them through a unified experience, through their most familiar technology of all, the smartphone.

Consumers increasingly look to their smartphones as the logical controller for their digital lives. Smartphones routinely feature some of the key enabling technologies for the IoT, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Various hardware converters exist to bridge smartphones with otherwise incompatible devices, and older, pre-IoT electronics. These work-arounds are necessary today, but will eventually become irrelevant, as legacy electronics go the way of the VCR.

In approaching the market, the first application for SURE Universal is entertainment and media control. A conventional entertainment setup typically features multiple brands and multiple remote controls. Adding further complexity, many of today’s entertainment systems also include computers, tablets and phones, along with wireless components such as Bluetooth speakers and media servers. In addition, legacy, non-connected TVs and cable boxes must be controllable as well, resulting in even more remote controls for the user to operate. A single smartphone running SURE Universal can manage all of these devices. Through an accessory infrared (IR) bridge, SURE Universal can control legacy IR devices, thus becoming a complete whole-home controller.

Because it can already speak with any IoT device today, and to any upcoming device the lives within the OCF framework, the SURE Remote application is future-proof. Through this feature, and its ability to control legacy, non-IoT electronics from a smartphone, SURE Universal can rightfully claim to be the first genuinely universal remote control for all user-accessible electronic devices.

For consumers, SURE Universal is also the easiest way to control smart appliances; a product category expected to reach USD $37.2 billion by 2020, according to Markets & Markets. As our home appliances, from kitchen to washroom to laundry room, increasingly incorporate smart, controllable features and wireless IoT connectivity, SURE is the only universal remote solution that gives consumers an intuitive way to control all of the appliances in their homes, without having to learn dozens of different applications and technologies.

 

What’s Next: Embrace and Extend Throughout the Home 

SURE Universal’s emergence as the first unified remote control for connected objects has placed the company at the forefront of IoT development. Moving further, SURE Universal offers a cloud platform and smart device server, which together with the SURE Universal remote, comprises a complete software solution for smart appliance vendors. For appliance manufacturers, SURE is able to provide the only off-the-shelf, OCF-compliant solution for connecting these household devices, and integrating them with unified remote control.

Working in close cooperation with leading appliance manufacturers, SURE Universal has developed a smart device server, which is a software component running on a smart component that provides connectivity, device discovery, authentication, and security based on the OCF protocol, as well as models for device functionalities such as temperature control, video monitoring, and other smart home tasks. The SURE Platform includes cloud infrastructure for data analytics and monetization, as well as future services using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

The IoT is ripe with many opportunities such as health and medical applications, home security, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and automotive electronics.  SURE Universal’s technology will ultimately extend into these promising verticals.

SURE Universal’s introduction of the complete software solution for IoT  marks a turning point in human-machine interaction. It is not difficult to imagine the benefits of unified user control as the markets for virtual reality, digital health, and population-scale big data mature. Regardless of application, all electronics will always have human intelligence or behaviors to control them.  The “remote” will always be the interface between us and what we desire from our technologies. SURE Universal has made the interface universal. The interface is us and our smartphone, and incompatible technologies are no longer in the way. SURE Universal makes smart simple, as it should be.