Apple is storming ahead into home automation with the launch of a new product that could have significant repercussions for anyone interested in home automation. At the recent Worldwide Developer Conference last month, Apple officially announced the launch of its Home Kit, a piece of technology that will enable the iPhone or iPad to become the remote control for a house.
Basically, the Home Kit allows certain devices (doors, door locks, webcams, lights, thermostats etc.) to be classed as ‘Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod’ or MFi. This certification means that the Home Kit app can then access whatever device is required, all under the same banner, reducing the need for separate apps for each device. Of course, you need an idevice first! And Siri will get to contribute too. Once the device has been categorised as MFi, this iconic remote voice can be programmed to perform tasks. Tell Siri that it’s hot inside and it can turn down the thermostat. Or close a garage door or turn off the lights at bedtime.
MFi – The Works
How does it work? Here’s the technical bit. According to a Greentechmedia report, the MFi-certified devices will have a wireless chip that can communicate over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or ZigBee.”
Will this exciting development take off however? There are some sceptics in the tank as although the idea of one app controls all seems appealing, it is a daunting concept should things go wrong. The majority of smart home services nowadays are through service providers, and to invest in a company more renowned for ringtones than security is a big ask.
The one big thing in Apple’s favour is that it has a lot of iPhone users. A lot. Far more people own an Apple device than subscribe to home security providers so Apple is in a very good position to muscle in.
DIY Home Automation
On another note, a report from NextMarket has predicted that do-it-yourself (DIY) self-installed home security solutions in the US will account for $1.5 billion in equipment and services by 2020. The home security market will expand rapidly, it assesses, with the progression of smart home, mobile and cloud technology. With Apple proving itself to be a serious candidate in the home automation market, it appears that this could be the case.
According to reports, Apple already has some big-name partners, including Schlage, Philips and Haier, with the latter receiving the MFi certification earlier this year with an appliance that connects to Apple devices via Wi-Fi. The future is coming, so make sure you keep up with it!