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Inlo, the next revolution in Smart Home technology.

Local positioning systems haven’t come far in the boom of Internet of Things and smart home devices. Yet, local positioning can bring about more powerful automation in the IoT and smart home. A robust local positioning system is easy to install but it can identify things (AKA “assets”) in the environment as well as people.

 

Inlo is a new smart device, concepted to fill this glaring hole in the IoT and smart home. It’s simple in that you plug a few of them into wall outlets, without obstructing the outlet behind it. In a system at least one Inlo node has a constant real-time connection to the Internet. Whether someone is home or not you can check in or keep tabs on your environment and assets.

 

This means we can also have historical data at all times that constantly makes your Inlo system more and more accurate, similar to how GPS systems work. Because of the constant connection to the Internet all updates can be pushed from the cloud. There is no need to update each device individually.

 

Inlo works with all BLE/Bluetooth devices and those devices that use 802.15.4 protocols like Zigbee, Thread, and Contiki. Any device can be used as a trigger or as an asset. Use a Zigbee dongle you have with Inlo. Use your BLE device tracking device, findables like Tile. Add in your Nest, Hue, or BLE door lock into the Inlo network. Our system is completely agnostic, and the security that is on any of these networks does not interfere, so it maintains full security in your networks while still helping Inlo grow smarter as a local positioning system.

 

Ultra wide band (UWB) measures time of flight which means you can have exact distance between two Inlo devices. UWB goes beyond relative distance between two Inlo nodes. If you have one node in your kitchen and another in bedroom, Inlo can provide the exact distance between them, like 8.4 feet vs. 8 feet without UWB. Walls don’t stop time of flight.

 

Without UWB Inlo uses signal strength and link quality to measure distance between nodes. In this case it’s relative distance from each node, but with UWB it’s exact distance between nodes. The advantages of UWB are immediate with a system. Otherwise, Inlo’s default measurement of signal strength and link quality is just as good, but it takes time to accrue data of other devices moving around in the network.

 

Inlo’s accuracy in tests, both in lab and in home environments, have been getting down to around one foot radius of accuracy without UWB. This goes beyond any other local positioning approaches currently out on the market. There are multiple factors of how we can achieve this but it mostly starts with our wireless approach, using just one Inlo device in all major rooms.

 

As for security, we have created a three-layered synchronous security system. The reason for this is we want to walk into any environment without onboard to wireless network and also we have the need to tie things such as credit/debit card to profile and have to have a way better security approach than is being done today by BLE beacon and other technologies. The three layers of security Inlo has can only be done with a device that also has an Internet connection like a phone, as opposed to dongles with only one protocol and are not Internet-connected.

 

We have yet to be able to come across a way to break this approach. This means you can go anywhere and be completely secure without the need to onboard onto any networks. If any layer is broken your security is locked down and you are warned.

Inlo seeks to not only be for people but for assets. Many IoT companies are out there making custom hardware and wireless for asset management. We would like this to be built into the wireless stacks. Inlo has a full asset management technology built in. So all BLE and 802.15.4 devices can be managed and tracked

 

While Inlo is not BLE beacon technology in any way it can mimic BLE beacon technology for people who already have that infrastructure in place but want to add Inlo. Switch on the beacon technology you want (iBeacon, Eddystone, or custom), design your beacon packet, and kick it off. It can be done from the backend, so no need to be in the environment. Inlo can then mimic your BLE beacons while still maintaining the Inlo functionality.

 

As a local positoning system, Inlo has a lot of promise. In the near term, it can begin to solve some pesky issues in the home, like finding wireless headphones or knowing where your dog may be hiding. With attention and a strong backing, Inlo can become the next brig revolution in the IoT.
If you would like to know more, visit your Kickstarter campaign at

Local positioning systems haven’t come far in the boom of Internet of Things and smart home devices. Yet, local positioning can bring about more powerful automation in the IoT and smart home. A robust local positioning system is easy to install but it can identify things (AKA “assets”) in the environment as well as people.

 

Inlo is a new smart device, concepted to fill this glaring hole in the IoT and smart home. It’s simple in that you plug a few of them into wall outlets, without obstructing the outlet behind it. In a system at least one Inlo node has a constant real-time connection to the Internet. Whether someone is home or not you can check in or keep tabs on your environment and assets.

 

This means we can also have historical data at all times that constantly makes your Inlo system more and more accurate, similar to how GPS systems work. Because of the constant connection to the Internet all updates can be pushed from the cloud. There is no need to update each device individually.

 

Inlo works with all BLE/Bluetooth devices and those devices that use 802.15.4 protocols like Zigbee, Thread, and Contiki. Any device can be used as a trigger or as an asset. Use a Zigbee dongle you have with Inlo. Use your BLE device tracking device, findables like Tile. Add in your Nest, Hue, or BLE door lock into the Inlo network. Our system is completely agnostic, and the security that is on any of these networks does not interfere, so it maintains full security in your networks while still helping Inlo grow smarter as a local positioning system.

 

Ultra wide band (UWB) measures time of flight which means you can have exact distance between two Inlo devices. UWB goes beyond relative distance between two Inlo nodes. If you have one node in your kitchen and another in bedroom, Inlo can provide the exact distance between them, like 8.4 feet vs. 8 feet without UWB. Walls don’t stop time of flight.

 

Without UWB Inlo uses signal strength and link quality to measure distance between nodes. In this case it’s relative distance from each node, but with UWB it’s exact distance between nodes. The advantages of UWB are immediate with a system. Otherwise, Inlo’s default measurement of signal strength and link quality is just as good, but it takes time to accrue data of other devices moving around in the network.

 

Inlo’s accuracy in tests, both in lab and in home environments, have been getting down to around one foot radius of accuracy without UWB. This goes beyond any other local positioning approaches currently out on the market. There are multiple factors of how we can achieve this but it mostly starts with our wireless approach, using just one Inlo device in all major rooms.

 

As for security, we have created a three-layered synchronous security system. The reason for this is we want to walk into any environment without onboard to wireless network and also we have the need to tie things such as credit/debit card to profile and have to have a way better security approach than is being done today by BLE beacon and other technologies. The three layers of security Inlo has can only be done with a device that also has an Internet connection like a phone, as opposed to dongles with only one protocol and are not Internet-connected.

 

We have yet to be able to come across a way to break this approach. This means you can go anywhere and be completely secure without the need to onboard onto any networks. If any layer is broken your security is locked down and you are warned.

Inlo seeks to not only be for people but for assets. Many IoT companies are out there making custom hardware and wireless for asset management. We would like this to be built into the wireless stacks. Inlo has a full asset management technology built in. So all BLE and 802.15.4 devices can be managed and tracked

 

While Inlo is not BLE beacon technology in any way it can mimic BLE beacon technology for people who already have that infrastructure in place but want to add Inlo. Switch on the beacon technology you want (iBeacon, Eddystone, or custom), design your beacon packet, and kick it off. It can be done from the backend, so no need to be in the environment. Inlo can then mimic your BLE beacons while still maintaining the Inlo functionality.

 

As a local positoning system, Inlo has a lot of promise. In the near term, it can begin to solve some pesky issues in the home, like finding wireless headphones or knowing where your dog may be hiding. With attention and a strong backing, Inlo can become the next brig revolution in the IoT.


If you would like to know more, visit your Kickstarter campaign at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/914792806/inlo
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Why BLE beacons won’t save the IoT

Part 2 of our series from the creators of Inlo covers Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology. This is by far the frontrunner of technologies presented as a solution for local indoor positioning systems. Here we explain its current state and how it fails to meet the needs of the IoT.

 

The IoT is doomed if we rely on the BLE protocol to create local positioning systems necessary in the smart home and greater IoT. Yet, we see Apple and Google as early adopters of BLE with iBeacon and Eddystone. These behemoths have put years and effort into these technologies, but they have gone nowhere. Have you seen iBeacons used anywhere?

 

First off, BLE does not offer a mesh network, meaning BLE beacon nodes do not talk to each other. Some technologists out there like to believe that BLE can mesh, but it simply does not and likely will not. The only chance BLE/Bluetooth has at meshing rests in a flooding technique to relay messages between nodes instead of a routing technique.

 

A flood network is not an efficient mesh network and presents massive scaling problems. The word “flood” is key here. A network that relies on flooding creates a noisy environment when there are more than two nodes in a given space. Volumes of data are lost. Robustness to handle larger connected environments is also doubtful.

 

The BLE beacon approach uses the smartphone as the server, so when a phone walks into a room it receives all these beacon signals that are in proximity and handles them accordingly. This lacks a constant real-time connection between the smartphone and the BLE beacon network. BLE/WiFi bridges offer a quasi solution, but bridges have their own problem, which merit an entirely new post. Because it is not a routing network and is only a star network a BLE bridge acts more like a sniffer. Mesh networks on the other hand handle this with techniques like border routers so you can control and send messages through whole network.

 

BLE beacon systems are not the greatest at accuracy and usually only give a couple meters of precision i.e. room-level precision. BLE beacons represent a proximity system that can tell you whether you are close to something, but that’s it. That’s not good enough to create smarter connected, responsive environments. The IoT needs a precise, accurate local indoor positioning system, but BLE beacons may not be able to provide it.

 

Because BLE beacons rely on the smartphone for processing, managing other devices or assets in an environment could be taxing on the smartphone. An environment with many devices or assets would take up all of the bandwidth of the BLE beacons to receive positioning or presence information. When setting up a BLE beacon system that can do asset management, there is a tradeoff because a system cannot do both asset management and tracking of people.

 

BLE beacon systems only works with Bluetooth, yet many other standards exist in the smart home and IoT. Some of these standards have real mesh networks, and yet all of these are excluded from BLE beaconing. There are Zigbee devices, Zigbee dongles, BLE findables, BLE devices, Thread devices, Contiki devices, and tons more. A smart home can have a mixed environment of these devices, rendering a BLE beacon system for local/indoor positioning kind of useless. Ultimately, a connected environment needs an interoperable local/indoor positioning system.

 

Although BLE has become a popular technology used by mobile apps, smart home devices, speakers and more, it is a protocol that is being forced to do something it was not meant to do: be the GPS for indoors. Yes, Apple and Google have tried to make beacon technology a “thing” but it just does not have what it takes. If you want a local/indoor positioning system for your smart home (or anywhere else), you’ll have to assess its meshing capabilities, how the nodes talk to each other, if the network is aware of other devices around it, and, finally, if it can easily, accurately, and reliably find you.

First blog post

Over the next couple weeks, leading up to kickstarter launch, we will post a series of blogs that are meant to be just off the cuff thoughts from the founders of Inlo. This is so people can see the thoughts behind Inlo, the problems the Founders set out to solve when creating Inlo, and a basic introduction into what Inlo is and what it’s functionalities are.

PART 1

The Current issue with Automation/IoT

The current smart home is not smart. Automation is not really possible. I have heard it is because not everything is connected yet and interoperable, but over the past few years this problem has been solved.. Almost all devices can have a chip put on them and be interacted with. So what is the issue? The main issue we see at Inlo is that humans have not been connected to IoT. There is no social media like function or human attachment of IoT yet. Your smart light bulbs have more of a connection to IoT than a person. People are buying Smart homes and not even realizing they just gave their whole home a profile but lack one themselves.

So what is there right now for humans to use for interaction?

Motion detectors are almost useless for automation. Everyone has been in a room where the light just go out and you have to move around or wave your arms around like a crazy person for the lights to come on. If you have an animal then motion is pretty much not even a possibility. It doesn’t know who is making the motion.

Binary door switches are our least favorite. Did someone come in the room or go out? The best these can be used for is security. They have little to know functionality in automation other than that. Still doesn’t know who it is.

Timers are the most basic thing ever. At this time of day do this. After motion set timer to this amount of time before checking motion because again motion detectors are almost useless. These are basically just alarm or reset scenarios. We have been using these for decades. Nothing new here and still doesn’t know who it is doing the task for.

Now one of the new innovations for this is apps. You now have a remote control to everything. All smart devices come with apps that work like remote controls. However, I am pretty sure that a universal remote control isn’t what IoT and automation are about. No one is wanting to take their phone out of their pocket, open an app, click eight buttons and finally something happens. I have tried this and always end up going back to the good ole manual way. It is just too much time and effort. It only seems cool when showing off to friends who haven’t used these technologies and if someone is not home. That is if it is constantly connected to internet. Most BLE devices require a person to be in the room.

Last but not least for our discussion here will be the new trend of smart buttons. Tie single rules to one off buttons that you can put all over the place. At Inlo we see this as the most nonsensical approach. Basically they are detached wall switches that you can give specific functionality. So exciting right. The future is buttons everywhere? We do not know how this caught on except maybe everyone recognizes this inherent issues with automation and this is at least a new thing to try and see if it works a little better…. And they still do not know who is pressing them.

As you can see, here at Inlo we see the biggest issue with automation and Iot is not that devices are not connected anymore. It is that humans are not connected. We have no way of interacting. Inlo is changing this. We will give an update in the coming couple of days that will explain our tech and compare it to the closest thing out there to it, which is still far off.