Device Fingerprinting Across Home Networks

You can imagine that a device can be assigned a unique fingerprint based on a combination of attributes. Device fingerprinting is the technique where relevant data and features about a device are identified, extracted and profiled in order to uniquely identify the device within the home. This can be done across multiple networks within the home; and if paired with a knowledge graph of devices, can be used to automatically retrieve their capabilities and properties. This technology has today enabled many interesting use cases such as device recognition, more intelligent network scanning, intrusion detection or even personalized user experiences.

There are many different networks in the home including IP networks across Wi-Fi and Ethernet; HDMI wired networks connecting entertainment equipment together; and a range of low power wireless networks used in smart home applications such as Zigbee, Zigbee rf4ce, Z-Wave and Bluetooth networks. In traditional device fingerprinting techniques used in IP-based networks, feature extraction and profiling is done at different OSI layers of IP networks to achieve the desired application goals. These are typically focused on networking technologies to identify the device characteristics which limits their reach to other mediums that are available in the home. Another point to note is that as the number and diversity of connected devices within the home continue to rise, it’s typical for manufacturers and providers to make regular firmware updates to them. These updates may sometimes change the device fingerprints and such real-time updates must also be addressed by the device fingerprinting approach chosen. If not addressed, these gaps in the fingerprinting techniques may limit their ability to enable many important use cases that are primarily driven by daily user experiences. 

Emerging Applications of Device Fingerprinting

User Experience Improvements

Consumers purchasing smart home devices are looking for solutions that simplify their user experience right from the time when they open the box, starting with set-up and installation of their devices. The initial setup and configuration can be automated utilizing device fingerprinting to retrieve the necessary information and provide an easy out of the box experience. 

A good user experience addresses both the out of the box device setup as well as a smooth daily interaction with the devices. Features such as user-friendly names that can be easily recognized by consumers on the Smart TV UI as opposed to "HDMI 1", "HDMI 2"; or proper device types and names instead of generic MAC addresses on a wireless router management page, both address real usability issues for the consumer. At the core of both features is the need to dynamically discover and recognize devices across different networks.

Better user experiences across connected devices, from Smart TVs to Wireless Routers, both out of the box and in the daily use, enabled by device fingerprinting techniques.

Security

According to the Client Computing Group at Intel, the world is expected to have 50 Billion connected devices by 2020! With such a growing number of devices, security remains to be one of the top concerns for the consumers. There are different applications available in the market that are using device fingerprinting techniques to provide security by acting as the primary gatekeeper in the home network. A robust security application can only be achieved with proper device fingerprinting, to uniquely identify and track the devices and subsequently grant access to their services. These applications and services provide necessary monitoring and analytics about the devices through their intuitive user interface, generate alerts on unusual activities and even enable remote access in events of troubleshooting.

50 Billion connected devices by 2020, device fingerprinting and AI-based behavior profiling can protect consumers.

Remote Technical Support

According to Parks and Associates, 50% of Smart home consumers face set-up problems and 32% face technical issues resulting in poor device performance. That being said, remote technical support and system diagnosis have gained immense popularity among the smart homeowners today. According to Customer and Product Experience 360, in the U.S., the average consumer spends as much as 2.5 hours between self-help and technical support to fix the problems with their connected devices. For a technical support to be able to properly address the consumer concerns, they need to have a full understanding of the piles of connected devices within the home.

Let's take a look at a simple yet popular tech support case where a customer is unable to set up the device and ends up making a support call. With the technology at hand, technicians can access the home network to identify the correct device and guide the client with necessary steps. A simple and quick fix of their problems.

Comprehensive information about devices such as their brand name, model number, series number, manufacturer, current capabilities and offerings, their physical and software characteristics and will lead to a correct diagnosis of consumers’ problems. Device Fingerprinting can provide proper information and access to the consumers’ devices for an efficient real-time troubleshooting. Remote diagnostics will also help the technicians to understand the real problems in consumer homes and better prepare for their customer visits.

Customer issues are being diagnosed and resolved remotely by access to the home network through device identification and troubleshooting.

Personalization

Smart home technologies are entering the consumers' homes at a faster pace than ever before, and companies are working towards creating user experiences that are exclusive and revolve around their usage pattern. Device fingerprinting provides a complete understanding of devices in an ecosystem by uniquely identifying them and their properties. This wide dataset of information can help paint a true picture of consumers’ likes, interests and their interaction pattern with the devices. This information can further enable interesting use cases for personalized user experiences and monetization from customized advertisements. It is important to note, the proper balance between personalization and privacy should always be kept in mind, and the technology chosen should take privacy into consideration from the beginning.

Devices within the home along with the consumers' behavior and preferences are bringing about customized user experiences.

Device fingerprinting with QuickSet 

QuickSet Discovery and Predictive engines detect device signatures across multiple home networks including HDMI, IP, and Zigbee rf4ce; calculate fingerprints and traverse the largest knowledge graph of devices to uniquely identify a device. With its predictive modeling, QuickSet intelligently identifies devices and their additional attributes. The results obtained across the different networks are merged to provide a single device object definition towards the host application. QuickSet, using its device fingerprinting technique and leveraging the constantly growing knowledge graph of devices, enables support for brand new devices as well as existing devices with changing behavior within the home. When it comes to the control information, QuickSet again goes beyond a single protocol approach for interacting with multiple devices.

QuickSet’s technology today enables many different use cases, primarily driven by the user experiences in the home. QuickSet thrives to provide an unmatched user experience, both out of the box as well as the everyday interaction. By implementing the whole-home discovery and control capabilities embodied in QuickSet, companies and application developers make it possible for consumers to automatically discover and interact with all points of access to content and applications in the home through a single point of control. 

Smarter Air Conditioners For A Greener World

The device install base within the home is very diverse. Devices vary in their age as well as the needs they cater such as HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), entertainment, security and more. According to International Energy Agency, there are approximately 1.6 billion Air conditioner units worldwide that are accounting for around 10% of world's energy consumption. There has been a rising trend of smart thermostat usage (which UEI also manufactures) in the recent years with people investing more in solutions that can help save energy and cut down the costs.

These smart thermostats are mainly compatible with the central Air Conditioner units, not addressing the large majority of Room Air Conditioners that also need to be made smarter. According to a report by JRAIA, in 2017 alone the worldwide requirement for Room Air Conditioners was over 100 million units which indicates the popularity of these Air Conditioners in today's market. That being said, over 90% Air Conditioners today are controlled by Infrared.

More than 90% of Air Conditioners are controlled by Infrared

Air Conditioner Control & Energy Management

HVAC appliances are one of the primary users of energy and a key ingredient in home automation. The energy consumed in running these HVAC appliances has significant costs associated with it. As global demand for energy increases, the cost of running these appliances increases year after year.  The non-central Air Conditioners offer many features for optimizing energy management through Infrared control, such as off-peak heating/cooling, scheduled timers and vacation modes, automated control for multiple zones, real-time climate and humidity control and more. 

Today, smart thermostats have revolutionized the way people use their HVAC units by addressing the problems with convenience and energy management. These features are available to most of the latest centralized Air Conditioner units but there is still a large majority of HVAC units, both still in demand by consumers as well as deployed in people's homes, that though offer these capabilities through infrared control, remain as non-smart devices within the home.

To build a solution for the worldwide market, the underlying technology should bring the current install base of Air conditioners to the smart ecosystem. That's when we will collectively achieve the larger goal of a greener and a healthier planet. 

Adding intelligence to current installed base of Air Conditioners brings convenience for 90% and a greener world for all

Home Automation With QuickSet

QuickSet, leveraging the largest knowledge graph of devices, is compatible with nearly any device within the home that consumers care about, including new and old entertainment systems, and devices used for home automation such as air conditioning units. With over 37k unique models of Air Conditioners globally across popular brands such as Fujitsu, Daikin, LG, Toshiba and many more, QuickSet brings universal compatibility and home automation to all.

Over 37K unique models of Air Conditioners

QuickSet enables full state-driven control and automation of Air Conditioners by intelligently modeling the inner-working of an HVAC system and dynamically producing the necessary commands to put the Air Conditioner in the desired state and enable these cool advanced features.

Compatible with almost every Air Conditioner

440+ unique brands of Air Conditioners

37K+ unique models of Air Conditoners

Despite the perception of Infrared being simple, Air Conditioners introduce greater complexity through their state machines. State machines maintain information such as fan speed, temperature etc. with an almost infinite number of command codes. Deciphering these command codes is beyond the capabilities of a normal Infrared learning remote. QuickSet does it all, enabling interactivity with most popular devices in the home to help automate and power new applications

QuickSet enables interactivity with most popular devices in the home to help automate, and power new applications

Our New Home!

QuickSet Cloud

It was quickly becoming apparent that we were out-growing our last space and needed a new revitalized medium to communicate with you. As part of our commitment to expanding our reach and democratizing the technology behind connected homes, we are extremely excited to announce the launch of QuickSet Cloud website!

With a range of new content, the new website covers the Product Line; focussing on QuickSet’s core capabilities, the underlying technology, its device knowledge graph and how QuickSet is used every day empowering over half a billion devices globally across major consumer brands.

We will be utilizing this channel to showcase the capabilities of our products. Products built with one goal in mindto connect you with your home, easily. Products for the home of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. QuickSet Cloud website is a one-stop hub to learn about QuickSet’s technology, features, and the use-cases it enables. It provides guidelines for developers to start building with QuickSet frictionless.

QuickSet Cloud Website: Highlights
  • The website’s homepage gives a quick overview of QuickSet’s vision and the underlying technology.
  • The Technology center digs deeper into the data-driven engines that are the building blocks of QuickSet’s framework.
  • The Device knowledge graph provides a quick overview of what a knowledge graph is, and how this understanding of devices makes QuickSet extraordinary.
  • All published white papers and videos can be found in the Media section.
  • To jump-start the journey of building with QuickSet, the Developers page is filled with knowledge base articles, real-time invocation of APIs and tutorials  (members only portal)

In future, you will see a steady stream of new content and blog posts covering the broad portfolio of connected devices and services which QuickSet Cloud Services go across, from AV to Security to Energy/Climate control. Don’t forget to subscribe to the latest posts