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Apple looks to bring home automation functionality to iOS 8

Google made a big push into the home automation market earlier this year when it acquired Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. The purchase gave Google access to the engineers behind the popular Nest Learning Thermostat and the controversial Nest Protect smoke/carbon monoxide detector.
 
We are now hearing word from Financial Times that Apple is looking to enter the home automation space with a “Smart Home” initiative that will kick off next month at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The details of Apple’s system were first revealed in a patent filing last year, but the time is now for Apple to introduce the functionality according to Financial Times.

 
The earlier filing (Patent No. 8,577,392) described how an iPhone or iPad could be used to control “lighting systems, security systems, garage-door openers, music controllers, climate controllers, or kitchen appliances” – in fact it could be similar in scope to AirPlay and iBeacon, but geared towards home automation products and appliances.
 
Apple sees its Smart Home system as being superior to other “automatic operations” that are currently on the market:
 
Automatic operations are frequently sub-optimal due to variations in a person's daily routines. A person can leave work at different times each day, can encounter different traffic patterns, or can exhibit different hunger levels. Thus, unpredictable events and emotions can make it difficult to establish automatic operations that consistently produce desired results.
 
The Financial Times gives the example of how a homeowner’s lights could be turned simply by entering the home with an iPhone in his or her pocket.


Apple filed a patent in November 2013 which describes its vision for home automation with a "first device" -- iPhone, iPad -- controlling a "second device" like a television, light switch, or home security system.
 
Apple is reportedly talking to several manufacturers that make “smart” products and appliances that will be certified for use with Smart Home. Apple is looking to make all of its iOS-based devices (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV) compliant with Smart Home in an effort to lock more people into its ecosystem

Source: Financial Times



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Locked down
By EnzoFX on 5/26/2014 3:28:00 PM , Rating: 5
Locking them down into their ecosystem is the bonus, they're primarily doing it to get the functionality. It's like the app store, it has to be locked down to deliver on security/consistent experience.

Home automation needs to be the next big functionality, I have a real smart phone, but a lot of dumb devices I have to interact with.




RE: Locked down
By Vertigo2000 on 5/26/2014 5:39:31 PM , Rating: 3
Personally, and this is just my opinion, I don't get why everything needs to be connected to the internet or networked together. Other than for the "wow, cool" factor, I see no real benefit for some of it.

I don't need my fridge, stove, washer, dryer, dishwasher or microwave to be smart and connected to the internet, but I would like my security system to be (depending on the added cost). I don't need my light switches and light bulbs to have wifi, but I could see a benefit if my home's heating/cooling system was a little smarter.

I guess I'm old fashioned, but if I need a light turned on, I get up and turn it on instead of opening an app on my smart phone. If I need to do laundry, I make a mental note that in 30 minutes, the stuff in the washing machine gets moved to the dryer. I don't need a text message from my machine to remind me to do so.

If I could throw all my laundry in a pile and have my washing machine sort, wash, dry, fold and put away my laundry I will be the first to open my wallet... until then, I think I can manage "old skool".


RE: Locked down
By StevoLincolnite on 5/27/2014 1:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If I could throw all my laundry in a pile and have my washing machine sort, wash, dry, fold and put away my laundry I will be the first to open my wallet...


You can get washing machines that will wash and dry your clothes.
You could probably build a robot, that's connected to a controller which in turn is connected to a computer... To handle the folding.


RE: Locked down
By Vertigo2000 on 5/27/2014 11:36:24 AM , Rating: 2
I've seen those machines. More designed for those living in a smaller space.

When you say "You could probably build a robot...", believe me...lol... I couldn't.


RE: Locked down
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/14, Rating: 0
RE: Locked down
By Vertigo2000 on 5/27/2014 11:33:47 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Then obviously home automation isn't for you. You're right, you don't "get it".

So you need an app on your smart phone to turn on a light? You realize needs and wants are 2 different things right? But I love how you took my gray opinion and turned into a black and white statement on all home automation. <golf clap>. I see I did it too, so hey, golf clap for me too I guess. Now you can complain about irony.

quote:
The irony of posting this opinion on the Internet is a bit much though, don't you think? Why didn't you just write a letter?

Irony? How so? I'm not opposed to people writing their opinions in the comments section of a website. Nor am I opposed to home automation. I just don't think we need every home appliance connected to each other. How is that ironic?

And I'd be happy to write you a letter. Please reply with your home address. Or, because you are so much more technologically savvy than me, please post a Google Map and directions from the nearest international airport to your home and/or work address. :)


RE: Locked down
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 12:46:57 PM , Rating: 2
Of course we don't "need" to use a smartphone to turn on a light. But we don't "need" technology to do a LOT of the things it does for us. So what?

What is technology for, if not to better our lives and make things more convenient?

See you need to think bigger. This isn't about "turning on a light". With this kind of technology, my Smart Home can automate many different tasks in combination with my smartphone.

Imagine pulling up to your driveway at night and having the lights come on, the garage door open automatically, and the security system disarmed. All because your "Smart Hub" knows where you are via your smartphone. Now wouldn't that be nice?

quote:
I just don't think we need every home appliance connected to each other.


I'm not saying we "need" that either. But if done right, I can see certain advantages and possibilities we don't have now. Isn't that the point of technology?

It's 2014, I really think it's way past due that we have affordable, viable, and practical Smart Home solutions available to everyone. The first one to get this right, and integrate it into existing mobile ecosystems, is going to be the big winner.

But invariably there's always someone there to poo poo that idea. It seemed like you were, but if I took you out of context, I do apologize.


RE: Locked down
By Fleeb on 5/27/2014 1:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So you need an app on your smart phone to turn on a light?


Before, it was just detecting the sound of clapping to turn on or off the lights. It went as far as to detecting the presence of a person in the vicinity to turn on the lights and automatically turns it off once the person leaves.

Now, the innovation is having an app do that.


RE: Locked down
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 3:28:15 PM , Rating: 3
Thank you! Why can't some people get this?

I think the Smartphone is going to become even more invaluable as we go forward. It's a true pocket PC.

Smartphones already are able to listen for commands and execute them. Combine this technology with home automation, and we're living in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Lights, 50%
Tea, Earl Grey, hot
Computer, search "Backdoor Sluts 9"


The possibilities are endless!


RE: Locked down
By drlumen on 5/27/2014 3:51:51 PM , Rating: 2
Not to be a stickler but in your example you are just changing one switch for another.

Automation would be more like arriving home and pressing your garage door remote button (or phone app if you must) and it raises the door, disables your security system, turns on the lights, tv, blu-ray player, coffee maker... etc. This would still be a manual trigger but could be set on a timer. BTW, this is all possible today without apple.


RE: Locked down
By REMOTIZER on 5/27/2014 11:50:47 PM , Rating: 3
Totally agree. Technology is not for technology's sake; it is about return on investment. My programmable thermostat paid for itself years ago. I automated my front door's deadbolt by merely replacing the "thumb-turn" on the inside of the door. This allowed me to keep my existing heavy duty deadbolt matching my door's décor and the handle-set beneath it. I can lock/unlock for 80 feet away using encrypted RFID---just like automotive key fobs have for decades. When everything in your home is on the Internet, everything will eventually get hacked.


Oh joy
By TBlain on 5/26/2014 7:12:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yay, a whole new category and means of litigation for Apple. I can just imagine their thinktank of "engineers" scratching their heads over how many different ways a frickin' lightbulb can be turned on and off and then the legal department slapping a patent on it and waiting for their chance at lawsuits. I swear I am coming to the conclusion that Apple as a company is less about advancement of technology and human progression than it is a way to make sure a bevy of lawyers will always have a job.

Watch your backs GE, Whirlpool, et al ... Apple is coming with the all new iStove, a revolutionary new way to boil water in the comfort of your kitchen while jammin out on all new iBeats earbuds that create sound into your ears, a process they are already filing a patent for.




RE: Oh joy
By xti on 5/26/2014 7:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
you guys here are so paranoid.


RE: Oh joy
By TBlain on 5/26/2014 7:40:27 PM , Rating: 1
"It's paranoia, it's JUST paranoia!

Not if they're after me, it's not!"

I'm sorry, but I am going off Apple's track record past and present. They have shown time and again that they are all but completely unwilling to try to exist within a genuinely competitive market without resorting to litigation and relying on judicial intervention to compensate when their products cease being the only option (if it was the only option in the first place).

I call that thing a duck because it keeps quacking, not because I suspect there is a possibility it might quack sometime in the future.


RE: Oh joy
By GulWestfale on 5/26/2014 7:45:23 PM , Rating: 2
this is how technology should work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLsyM2Crhew

simple. easy. and "it just works."


RE: Oh joy
By TBlain on 5/26/2014 7:52:04 PM , Rating: 2
Hah, I love the video.

But I admit that I love technology and am continually amazed and intrigued at how it can be used. I am one of those weirdos that wants to see how connected everything can be. (I'm a network admin, that mentality has seeped into my DNA I think).

Of course I realize that way of living is not to everyone's liking, so I will concede that not everyone should be forced into it.


RE: Oh joy
By retrospooty on 5/27/2014 12:42:02 PM , Rating: 2
"They have shown time and again that they are all but completely unwilling to try to exist within a genuinely competitive market without resorting to litigation and relying on judicial intervention to compensate when their products cease being the only option (if it was the only option in the first place). "

Bingo... This in a Nutshell describes Apple's entitled attitude toward their business. Disgusting.


I can see it now...
By shabby on 5/26/2014 4:08:05 PM , Rating: 4
$99 iSwitch
$99 iPlug
$99 iBulb




RE: I can see it now...
By chmilz on 5/26/2014 7:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
Aaaaaaaaand now iMbroke*

*not me personally - I'm into neither Apple nor a connected home


RE: I can see it now...
By fic2 on 5/28/2014 4:25:31 PM , Rating: 3
LOL for thinking iThings would be that cheap...


Pre-Existing...
By drlumen on 5/27/2014 4:20:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm truly depressed that all it takes to get a patent these days is a crude block diagram of a third rate idea. This is ridiculous. Somehow their addition of a phone or tablet entitles them to a complete lock on these types of existing systems? Commercial buildings have had automation for decades but that tech doesn't count because some people plan on using it in their home? pfft.

Not to mention, people have been doing similar things in their homes for years. Replace 'relay server' with a whole host of previous proprietary and open systems and you'll find people have been doing this stuff without apple's "innovation".

I kinda have a soft spot for Apple considering their first computer and the whole underdog, American dream kinda thing but they are really starting to tick me off. Them getting patents for crap and doing everything they can to drive competition out of business... Just because they can afford a gaggle of lawyers to peddle their crap to some questionable courts.




RE: Pre-Existing...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 10:51:44 AM , Rating: 2
The patent office is staffed by idiots. Big shock being Government employees.

But seriously, if you handed me that nonsense, I would stamp it "DENIED" faster than you could blink.


"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein














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