I don’t know if you’ve read the recent headlines, but Apple is jumping on the bandwagon for the Internet of Things. At its recent Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple introduced its new HomeKit software platform aimed at advancing the technology available for smart homes. The executives at Apple seem to believe, like many, that the IoT represents a big opportunity to monetize the controlling, monitoring and reporting services that will come from networking these devices.
The HomeKit platform will allow users to control their home appliances and other systems through their iPhones or iPads, so long as they are integrated with HomeKit and an app is available to control the appliance. The iOS functionality will be accessible, and users will be able to tap into Apple’s Siri personal assistant technology and control their appliances and devices with voice commands.
When you’re ready to hit the sack, for example, you’ll speak a command such as “Let’s go to bed,” and the HomeKit software will “tell” your connected devices to lock the front doors, turn down the heat and switch off the lights. (They’re still working on the technology required to feed the pets.)
Perhaps the priority isn’t dimming the lights to go to bed, however; perhaps it’s alerting users when a door unexpectedly opens during the day. You might ask yourself, “Did my son just come home from school and turn on the TV at 10am, or did someone break in?” Someone is surely writing innovative apps we haven’t heard of yet; apps we don’t even know that we want or need.
HP used to have all of this functionality on display in its Cupertino customer visitor center for the “connected home”. HP’s tablets controlled the lights, TVs, media, computers – essentially everything we’re talking about now in a modern smart home. But now HP is nowhere to be found in this massive opportunity that is the IoT. I wonder if HP dropped the ball and simply left all this technology behind when Apple purchased its Cupertino headquarters? I wonder if it’s far harder than it looks due to conflicting or a complete lack of standards?
What I do know is that whichever companies deliver high-quality apps that effectively control multiple devices in smart homes will certainly have an edge in the marketplace, no matter how hard it is to do. And the biggest winners will be those companies that offer the enabling technologies for all those apps. Apple clearly wants in on this piece.
So when a consumer technology giant like Apple (or HP, back in the day) goes in a new direction and tackles something difficult for its potential upside, it’s a clear sign that no matter the challenge it’s worth it. It’s a testament to the enormous opportunities the IoT provides. Which side of the IoT opportunity do you want to be on?
– Brian James, Sr. Director, Product Marketing | Aria Systems