You can’t say that Plume is resting on its laurels. The Palo Alto-based company jumped onto the scene last year with its innovative Adaptive Home Wi-Fi platform, which provides “smart” mesh networking capability in domiciles of all sizes, using “pods” that can be conveniently plugged into AC outlets throughout the home. In a nutshell, Plume’s solution “learns” how you utilize Internet access and, over time, uses those learnings to optimize and personalize performance from a device, application, usage model and user standpoint. Clearly taken by Plume’s intelligent approach to whole-home networking, Comcast Corporation now deploys Plume’s Pod solutions as part of its Xfinity offering—it even invested in Plume earlier in the year.
Plume is now pivoting to something even more ambitious and long-term. Backed by Comcast, and other big name partners like Samsung Electronics , Bell Canada, and Liberty Global , Plume is spearheading OpenSync, an agnostic, open source initiative. Plume believes OpenSync will help further drive adoption and appeal to service providers and device manufacturers alike—even at the risk of creating competition for Plume.
OpenSync strives to assist service providers by opening up their hardware ecosystems and facilitating an enhanced foundation of new smart home services and apps that extend beyond whole-home Wi-Fi connectivity. The platform centers on two essential components—a device-based software stack for set-top boxes, gateways, and other connected devices (such as smart digital speaker assistants like Amazon Alexa), and a cloud network capability which manages the devices and fundamentals such as service policies, service provisioning, tracking critical performance data and identification of in-home networking problems.
With the OpenSync announcement, Plume appears to be transforming its Plume Middle Layer (PML) stack into an open software play that can link to open APIs and allow client software to speak to virtually anyone’s cloud. The company understands that an open source approach will hypothetically facilitate more competition for Plume, but it believes this threat is outweighed by the fact that service providers will be able to promulgate Plume’s own technology and solutions dramatically faster.
From a long-term perspective, OpenSync is geared towards a future where service providers expand beyond broadband service to meet the growing consumer desire for cross-device experiences and services. Given this, one could see how Amazon and Google, who lead the market with their smart digital assistant solutions, might find significant value in OpenSync and its aspirational vision.
For a deeper dive on OpenSync, I wrote a research paper that can be accessed on both the Moor Insights & Strategy and the OpenSyncwebsites. With industry heavyweights Comcast, Bell Canada, Liberty Global, and Samsung Electronics involved as lead partners, OpenSync is positioned as an agnostic, multi-industry, cloud-based framework with the requisite industry clout to pull it off. The initiative anticipates where the puck is moving, in terms of the delivery and management of emerging residential services leveraging managed Wi-Fi. While OpenSync is indeed ambitious, if executed properly, it could deliver tangible productivity, value, and flexibility benefits for consumers, service providers, and device manufacturers.