Home Automation announcement at 2016 Apple conference
By Rhian Davies 28-02-2017
This time of year is particularly thrilling for all tech nuts. September time brings with it the Apple conference, which announces their new products and innovations. Among this year’s announcements, one that caught the attention of the ts design team was the development the Home app on iOS10 as a way of controlling HomeKit function, branching further into home automation.
The home automation technology isn’t exactly new but its inclusion in Apple’s new app speech by software Engineering Craig Federighi came as a surprise. The HomeKit app collects and controls functions for devices such as lights, the locking of windows and doors and in home-heating through your phone.
The advantages of using home automation technology is undoubtedly compelling. Firstly let’s look at what Apple are claiming will be coming with the iOS10 update:
- This is the first time the home automation has been integrated in this kind of system.
- 1000’s of new products coming to market this year which will be compatible to run with iOS10 and the Apple HomeKit app.
- Users will no longer be forced to access HomeKit hardware via Siri commands.
While manufacturers have been slow in releasing HomeKit compatible products, perhaps more annoyingly, users have had to rely on Siri commands or separate apps to control their smart locks and thermostats. Home allows you to do this in a single app. A simple “tap” of the screen to turn on lights and a slider control for the dimmer, which you have to admit is immensely satisfying. Other interesting features include notifications when your doorbell is rung and a “goodnight” feature which will turn off your lights, lock your door and lower the thermostat simultaneously with the press of a button.
Along with countless other Apple products, security details are stored and connected to cloud-based services. The problem with this kind of interconnectedness is that this form of technology often carries with it scary security risks. In other words, if you can control your devices via the cloud, the chances are someone else can, too. The main concern related to home automation, however, is the plain fact of whether it is needed at all.
The cost of installation and the equipment almost always outshines the advantages of the technology. However, with Apple’s promise to see a huge increase in the amount of HomeKit hardware compatible products, the cost of such tech savvy items is likely to decrease. It also sounds like you will need an Apple TV in order to remotely control your home, which is a particular disappointment. “It can serve as a secure point for remote access and automation,” claims Federighi, meaning we will almost definitely have to fork out the added for the TV.
Take a look yourself at what Federighi says at the conference – http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2016/