I know it sounds silly, but now that I have a car with remote locking from the keyfob, when I get home and go to open the front door I keep looking for a button to press on my keyring! I’d never missed remote locking on my car until I had it and now I want it everywhere.
I may be in luck though with Apple rumoured to be announcing some sort of Home Automation tie in at today’s WWDC event. I have a feeling that it won’t be anything too ground-breaking, probably more of a collaboration with existing home automation companies that allows them to officially tie in their products to Apple products. Something along the lines of their “Made for Mac” program with computer hardware, but more of a “Made for iOS” that can be applied to all sorts of devices.
It might make some of the home automation products a little more mainstream though and I guess the possibilities are endless. I’m sure some of them would be nice to have. It would certainly be nice to have a button on my keyring that I could press when I arrived home that unlocked the front door and turned on the lights if it was dark. It might as well lock the car for me at the same time. No doubt if it was tied into some clever software it could ‘learn’ what you normally do when you get in and help with that too. Maybe it needs to start up my computer if I’m arriving home at a certain time of day, or put the kettle on. Maybe if I’ve been for a run in the winter I’ll need the towel rail turned on in the bathroom. There could be all sorts of algorithms that mean our homes are just the way we want them when we walk through the front door. Or when we leave it for that matter.
I doubt that anything that Apple announces will be controlled by a little button on a keyring though. It’s much more likely that it’ll be tied into location aware software on your iPhone, possibly through iBeacons, or and I’m stretching my neck out a bit here, why not control it through a wearable device such as an iWatch. Something that we always have on us. It would be quite cool if simply wearing a watch (or some other device) all of the time meant that things just ‘happened’ around you. If you approach your house then the door unlocks and the lights switch off. As you leave the house out go the lights. Maybe even as you go from room to room. It wouldn’t take much ‘learning’ for software to soon realise that if we’ve been sat in the living room watching TV for an hour or so and then get up at 11pm and walk to towards the bedroom that we are going to want to turn off the TV and lights in the living room, lock the front door and then turn on the lights in first the bathroom and then the bedroom.
All totally non-essential of course as it’s not really a great hardship to do this ourselves as we leave a room, but it would be fairly cool. And who knows if it’s location aware and tied into Siri maybe it could do certain things even when you are a fair way from home. Maybe as you leave work and start heading home Siri could ask if you want the heating switched on?
The main issues with these things though will be the cost. I’m sure the devices won’t be inexpensive in the first place, but modifying the home to actually work with them will be far too costly for the likes of us. I’m sure to make it of any use you’d have to change so many things around the house that it would cost a fortune. Just changing the locks so that the door could unlock as you approached it would cost quite a bit, changing all the electrics and anything else that they come up with would be a nightmare.
And then I guess there’s the security aspect. We would want to make sure that people couldn’t ‘hack’ your house.
I’m sure Home Automation is on the way and no doubt in 20 years time we’ll just take it for granted but I think it’ll have to come with small incremental steps. Who knows though, maybe Apple have something truly revolutionary up their sleeves in this arena, but somehow I doubt we’ll be seeing it in our house for a while. Find out how you can watch the Apple WWDC event here.