July 16, 2019 by Greg Owens

How the GigaSpire Smart Home System is Like your New Smart TV

 

I recently discarded an ancient piece of technology that has been residing in my basement for the past 18 years; a 65” rear projection television. It was replaced by a thinner, lighter console, with better resolution and way more functionality.

Before making my latest purchase, I reached out to a friend who works at Netflix for some recommendations. In part of his (highly technical, but very helpful) response he mentioned that one of the brands that warranted my consideration was “an Android TV that always gets the latest version of Netflix/Hulu/YouTube.” This part of his note got me thinking.

When I bought that 300-pound monstrosity back in 2001, I knew what I was getting; a rear-projection display with 1080i picture quality that I could connect to my DVD player, set-top box, and gaming console. Nothing more, nothing less.

My new TV, on the other hand, is much more ‘dynamic’. What I mean is that, yes, I can connect all of those same devices, but I can also run a series of apps directly from the TV. As my friend mentioned, the software that resides on my new TV will be updated automatically to include any new features and enhancements that he and his colleagues develop. In the coming months, I’ll also be able to choose from a bunch of new apps; including some that don’t even exist today. How cool is that? 

Changing the game with the world's best smart home system

The same benefits are true of the new Calix GigaSpire®. Traditionally, consumers buy a Wi-Fi router to connect their wireless devices to the Internet. It can perform that role for many years but, in essence, it is a single-function product.

The GigaSpire, on the other hand, is powered by EXOS, a modular and scalable platform that is based on Linux. EXOS leverages stateful OpenWRT to provide a framework for full customization and integration of ‘containers’, that can be used to develop and test software features independently.

And while the GigaSpire’s hardware specifications alone are impressive – visit the GigaSpire web page for more details – it is the EXOS platform that sets it apart from other Wi-Fi gateways on the market. Essentially, EXOS transforms the GigaSpire from a traditional Wi-Fi gateway to a smart home system. Let me give you a few concrete examples.

The GigaSpire MAX has three built-in microphones and a 5W speaker which, in combination with the Amazon container inside of EXOS, enables it to perform double duty; as a Wi-Fi gateway and an Amazon Alexa smart speaker. We got feedback from some of our early adopter customers that the speaker quality needed improvement. In Release 19.1, the Development team made some software enhancements inside of EXOS to improve the playback levels of the speaker by 3db.

In Release 19.2, the Dev team made more enhancements within the Amazon container inside EXOS that allows the GigaSpire MAX to be paired to an external speaker, using its Bluetooth wireless interface. Please visit the Calix Software Center to download EXOS Release 19.2. My Calix users can click ‘Browse by Software Platform’, then ‘Premises: EXOS’ to find the new software.

Be prepare for the future

It is impossible to predict the future; what features and applications will be available, and what will capture consumers’ attention. However, service providers that deploy the EXOS-powered GigaSpire can sleep better at night, knowing that the smart home system that they have deployed into their subscribers’ homes is not a static piece of hardware – like my old big screen TV.  It is a dynamic system that, thanks to the power of software, can be improved and enhanced, adding new functionality that can generate additional revenue for years to come.

Elevate the subscriber experience with the EXOS-powered GigaSpire

In this video, Kim Grellner and Blake Callaham explain why Pioneer Telephone Cooperative is offering the Calix GigaSpire to all of its Internet subscribers that are served by their new fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. With its dramatically improved Wi-Fi coverage and throughput, Pioneer knows that the GigaSpire smart home systems will elevate their subscribers’ experience.

In the last few months, we’ve received a number of large GigaSpire orders. The time is right to make the GigaSpire the centerpiece of your Managed Wi-Fi or Smart Home service offering.