The current smart home landscape looks a lot like the Wild West. A slew of companies have thrown their hats into the ring to produce an array of products that are still fighting it out for dominance. The devices are largely incompatible with one another, and each requires its own third-party app to control. So, the homeowner who thought she was simplifying her life with home automation finds she needs to fire up App A to adjust her Honeywell thermostat, then open App B to manage her Philips dimming lights before using App C to work her Lutron shades.
There’s nothing smart about that fractured process.
At Apple’s developer conference, the technology firm rode into the fray like the new sheriff in town. Apple has launched an app called, Home. It aims to streamline the mish-mash of product offerings with one simple interface.
Home lives in the Control Centre of the new iOS 10. This makes the app easy to find, quick to launch and compatible with the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. Additionally, not only can the homeowner now find controls for all her devices in a single app, the devices are now aware of each other. So the lights know when the blinds are up, the security camera is integrated with the smart door locks, the thermostat knows when the air conditioners are going.
Apple has gone a step further. The Home app also features a grouping option called, Scenes. Homeowners can synchronize several actions using one command. For example, the Bedtime scene might lock all the doors, dim the lights, lower the shades and lower the thermostat.
Home can also interact with Siri so the command can be given verbally.
Home has the potential to really clean up the home automation industry, but it’s far from a done deal. Apple needs convince the competing device manufacturers to jump on board. And then there are the rivals who have been thinking the same way. Samsung introduced the Samsung Smart Home app earlier this year, offering a ‘total home solution’. Nest owner, Google, has been developing software that integrates all their products. The battle is far from won.