Investments

Connected Home Switches On New Funding And Tech Advances

Plume Gets $85M For Connected Home Platform

The connected home received some juice yesterday as software company Plume closed an $85 million round of financing from Charter Communications, Qualcomm, Belkin and Service Electric Cablevision.

The round brings the company’s total equity funding to $127 million. It comes a day after the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) adopted technologies from Plume and other companies to develop an open-source software platform that will allow Internet of Things (IoT) devices from third parties to co-exist.

The TIP is a consortium of telecom companies with several working groups, all of which exist to further the goal of network connectivity. Its adoption of Plume technology is important because the company’s Wi-Fi technology is able to work as a hub for the connected home. As TIP explains it, most residential Wi-Fi networks operate independently. For example, a Comcast Wi-Fi network would not currently be able to integrate a separate network that operates a home security system or a smart refrigerator that connects to a phone app. Smart home technologies, however, will need to accommodate several networks through APIs (application programming interfaces).

The Plume solution, called OpenSync, is a cloud-based technology that acts as a brand-agnostic platform that manages connectivity and entertainment services. It essentially acts as a gatekeeper between various connectivity networks and the cloud. OpenSync will also handle network applications that have not yet been introduced into the connected home space. Wi-Fi mesh networks, access control, cybersecurity, parental controls, automated IoT onboarding, telemetry – all of these are enabled by OpenSync.

“The world has been permanently changed,” said the company in a statement. “Plume had a dream of enabling innovative new services to be deployed rapidly into consumers’ homes, accelerating the benefits from a wide range of new technologies. Based in the cloud, with a flexible agent installed on devices in the home, Plume would relieve the bottleneck of deploying completely new firmware for each feature and enable learning across millions of homes.”

Plume says OpenSync and TIP will help expand the technology’s availability and will attract support by multiple cloud technology suppliers. TIP, in a separate effort, is encouraging the use of a cloud software development kit to accelerate cloud implementations.

“The new round gives Plume more financial runway as it looks to expand the reach and scope of a whole-home Wi-Fi and smart home services and analytics platform that recently added Plume Motion, a motion detection enhancement developed in partnership with AI specialist Cognitive Systems,” said Light Reading Senior Editor Jeff Baumgartner.

The connected home is expected to add an entirely new level to the consumer purchase journey. According to PYMNTS’ How We Will Pay study, connected devices not only give consumers more opportunities to make purchases during the course of their day-to-day activities, but also provide more options to do so at home. Of the 15 daily activities we studied, more than half of them were performed at home, and also involved making purchases at home more often than what we observed in 2018. Making a purchase while watching TV has increased 19 percent (from 12.2 percent to 14.5 percent), and doing so while eating dinner increased 4.9 percent (from 14.4 percent to 15.1 percent) between 2018 and 2019.

The next step will be for hardware makers to take advantage of the collaborative platform. Only then can consumer behavior patterns truly change.

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