By Sangguk Jung
Around 70 percent of Koreans live in apartment buildings for convenience and because the population is larger than the land size of the country and Koreans prefer convenient life. Most units in these apartment buildings have their own built-in smart home systems, such as automatic curtains, lighting, doors, gas valves, thermostats, and more. So, how do you control each of these devices ensure that the smart home functions correctly and efficiently?
The OCF Korea Forum was formed in March 2017 with the goal to expand IoT (Internet of Things) interoperability in Korea. As an “outpost” of the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), the Korea Forum strives to provide secure interoperability across the IoT ecosystem, including the smart home, automotive, health, and enterprise industries. In their latest efforts to bring safety, efficiency, and interoperability to the IoT in Korea, the Korea Forum has announced the development of an OCF-based submetering service that will allow Korean residents who live in apartment buildings to save energy. It is also developing an edge-computing smart home hub that will connect all IoT appliances in a home with backwards and forwards compatibility, meeting the needs of the residents.
Energy Efficiency via Smart Metering
As Korea does not produce any oil, the country lacks stable energy resources and residents experience large electrical blackouts. During the summer and winter, the Korean government encourages residents and even government building managers to raise the heat of air conditioners and avoid using coil-based heaters that use large amounts of energy. Due to the lack of energy resources, Koreans are looking for ways to save the little energy they currently have.
To address this issue, the member companies of OCF Korea Forum have developed a smart energy hub that provides connectivity between appliances in the smart home to share meter data using OCF technology. Users receive alerts, or Demand and Response (DR), via their TV or other devices in their home when they have begun to use too much power, raising their electrical bills significantly. For example, these alerts will advise people if they are operating their dishwasher in the middle of the day, which is a high-energy use time, to delay the use of this appliance until later at night, which is a low-energy use time, saving them money and energy.
Connecting Smart Homes to the Edge
The current built-in smart home systems used in Korean apartment units cannot be maintained. If users change or replace smart devices within their homes, such as light bulbs or gas valves, the smart home cannot continue to interoperate and work correctly. This is because the current built-in smart home systems use their own proprietary communication protocols instead of open, interoperable protocols such as OCF. If their smart home hub accepts OCF-based technology, users can seamlessly add OCF-certified devices, such as smart TVs, refrigerators, and air conditioners to their smart home systems or replace old technology with new technology.
For a smart home to learn the ins and outs of a resident’s life and adapt to their lifestyle and behaviors, there is an extreme amount of data collection, transportation, and analysis. Where does all this data transportation and computation occur? The cloud. But with the IoT continuing to grow and connected devices beginning to outnumber the population of the world, data traffic to the cloud has become excessive. The new OCF-based smart hubs leverage edge computing capabilities that screen “useless” data collected from devices within the smart home, while sending the useful data to the cloud. This ultimately reduces data traffic to the cloud, improving latency and compute power of the cloud and allowing devices to work more efficiently.
By creating and implementing these smart home projects, the OCF Korea Forum is not only addressing interoperability and cloud compute needs of the IoT in Korea, but it is addressing energy efficiency issues occurring around the country that result in cost savings and more. Interested in learning more about the Korea Forum and the projects they are working on? Visit the OCF Korea Forum page.