Tech giant Apple has announced plans to launch a platform focussed on “smart home” devices during its Worldwide Developer Conference next week. This means that the competition is back on with Google, who have recently bought the Nest thermostat company and are also reportedly looking to buy another home business.
These days we have tons of intuitive technology at our fingertips, but the home seems to be the one place that often feels left behind. Something like a light switch is simple and efficient, and is always reliable when you need it to work (unless of course your bulb needs replacing!), but doesn’t seem to have evolved.
Creating these smart home devices unleashes a world of opportunities for the average home, with smartphones, apps and Wi-Fi potentially being used to undertake a whole host of tasks and chores for homeowners.
The Financial Times reported that Apple is going to be stepping in to attempt to create a system that can connect the home in a simple and user-friendly manner, while of course trying to make it cost friendly for the average person.
For years, only the most affluent people have been able to afford automated home systems that allow you to open doors using only your eyes and turn on lights with the clap of your hands. These systems however, usually involve significant structural changes to the property and cost thousands of pounds to install.
This play from Apple to join in with the “internet of things” will see iPhones and iPads turned into remote controls that can be used to regulate everything from heating and lighting to alarms and home appliances.
Demand for more and more “smart devices” in the home is increasing, with the industry looking to be worth around $71bn by the year 2018. The “internet of things” has been making headlines a lot recently, with huge brands such as LG and Samsung trying to breakthrough with connected appliance such as washing machines and fridges.
Earlier this year Samsung had promised to provide “homes that understand our needs”, all of which could be controlled using either the company’s own collection of smartwatches, or using a smart phone, but so far there has not been much traction.
The thermostat company, Nest, that was recently acquired by Google for a cool £1.9bn aims to save homeowners around 29% on their heating bills and will program their boiler for them too. When a house is empty the boiler will save energy by turning off and can then be turned back on via a remote control smart phone to heat the water up ready for their return.
There are tons of possibilities when it comes to the “internet of things”. This network could effectively connect entire homes and communities with just the click of a button. The hope is that every appliance and utility could be controlled using technology for both speed and efficiency, meaning the TV can be turned on at exactly the right time on the right channel, and the kettle can be boiled from another room.
There are of course some worries about the security of it all, as hacking is still taking place on many different sites, and someone else having control over your home would be disastrous. Apple have been doing its best to reassure consumers that the system will be secure and there will be nothing to worry about.
Is a connected home something you are looking forward to or do you feel that it is important to manually undertake tasks so you know that you are in control in your own property and what goes on inside it?
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