Interests in all things connected are exploding all over the world. International Data Corporation (IDC), a global provider of market intelligence and advisory services, is forecasting the market to be in the $7 trillion range by the end of the decade. The reason why this industry is growing is because devices like smart phones and tablets are being actively craved for by consumers who are seeking mobile solutions to meet their needs.
Internet of Things:
The proper term for this phenomenon is Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is a term that covers the increasing number of devices that are replacing non-connected appliances in the home. These are the type of devices that give homeowners the impression that if they obtain more and more of these gadgets, they’re turning their home into a “smart home”.
But throwing all these gadgets under one roof will not make a home a smart one. That’s because a true smart home is one that has universal interfaces that grants you control over all things inside your home.
A number of smart home startups have already entered the market in the last two years with DIY smart home platforms. Two such companies, SmartThings and Revolv, are already offering hubs and associated software that allow consumers to construct a smart home in $500 or less.
Unfortunately at this moment it’s not possible to achieve a true smart home. That’s because every smart IoT device in the home requires its own app to control it. As well, each app has its own interface, a different communication protocol, and a different way to tell your smart device what you want it to do.
Apple Enters the Market:
On June 2, 2014, Apple threw its hat in the ring when it held its Annual Developers Conference. During the conference it devoted 90 seconds to the unveiling of the HomeKit. The HomeKit is an iOS-based protocol that Apple is proposing to help homeowners hook up connected gadgets in their homes.
HomeKit aims to combine all the functionalities into one single app. This will mean that one single voice command would ensure that all lights are turned off, all doors are locked, and the air conditioning is turned off/on when needed.
The announcement is already stirring the pot in the tech world. Start-up business and hardware makers are scrambling, trying to figure out ways to fit themselves into Apple’s master plans for the home. One such company is Velvetwire. The Santa Cruz based company sells Powerslayers, a USB charger that tracks power in a device and turns off the charger to ensure that no power is wasted. As soon as it caught wind of Apple’s HomeKit, the corporation decided to make the switch over to Bluetooth low energy, the wireless technology that Apple will be utilizing for their HomeKit.
Currently, Apple is focusing on the iWatch, its new line of retina-screen tablets, as well the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus. We haven’t seen the blueprint of its HomeKit program, but tech experts expect more details to come in the New Year.
How do you feel about having all your gadgets being connected under one app?