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Apple heads for home: Why HomeKit may not bring an 'iLight' or 'iLock,' but a new Apple TV - Page 2

post #41 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by InteliusQ View Post
 

So Homekit is basically a universal remote.

 

I don't see it that way.  There are many TV makers, and thousands of models.  The universal remote attempts to be the best compromise that tries to work with all of them.  Trying to find your specific 'code' is a pain in the butt procedure, and you usually end up with roughly 8473728291 buttons that you don't use for your system.

 

Apple is kind of doing the same thing, except exactly the opposite.  They are defining what would be the best most awesome remote ever.  With that in hand they are telling the manufacturers 'You are free to build whatever devices you want, but it has to work with our remote and meet our defined standards.'

 

Interesting to watch how this plays out.  Will they insist on 'Apple exclusivity' or would a lamp manufacturer be free to build a lamp that is compliant with both the Apple and Google systems?

post #42 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenly View Post


Such a lack of imagination! I think that those suggesting that Apple TV will be the 'hub' of the whole system are also off-base.

There is a difference between imagination and fantasy. 

 

For one, iBeacons don't detect where you are. It is exactly the opposite. Your iOS app can take actions depending on its relationship to an iBeacon location, but if all you are interested in doing is telling a digital hub where you are, you wouldn't need an iBeacon, you would simply allow the app running location services on the iOS device to tell the digital hub themselves using WiFi.

 

Your fantasy automation solution sounds surprisingly like the proprietary systems that are already available for tens of thousands of dollars. The entire purpose of Homekit is to allow diverse manufacturers to integrate their control apps within the Homekit environment but the appliance and the control software will be discrete. Multiple devices from the same manufacturer or partrner may be able to communicate among themselves but I definitely don't see Apple getting involved with the operation of the devices, only allowing the method of access to third party developers.

 

As I mentioned in the previous post, the main challenge for Apple is to enforce security. A system needs to be implemented such that Internet access can traverse the private network topography which is isolated with dynamic IPs, DHCP and firewalls that would normally prevent remote access. Fortunately Apple has a lot experience with this problem using Apple ID, similar to how Back to My Mac works.

 

People who think that Apple will attempt to corral all of the thousands of different manufacturers and will synchronize all events into an integrated management system are really deluding themselves. That is what proprietary systems do. Apple is not going to get that involved with the intimate details of each manufacturer's app. Sorry, that is just not going to happen, at least not right away. Potentially, if you were running a home server, appliances could theoretically update their status for other appliances to monitor but that would not be the default as it would require a server which many people are not going to be able to manage.

 

That said, I think it may be possible that an additional security layer of operability will be necessary. A series of safety scenarios may require override commands. For example if a carbon monoxide situation is detected perhaps the HVAC would turn on the fan and turn off all heating, Likewise if a smoke condition was detected the HVAC would turn off entirely to avoid fanning any flames or recirculating smoke throughout the house..


Edited by mstone - 6/29/14 at 6:47pm

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post #43 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenly View Post

How about a line of automation-enabled devices that also include beacons so that your system can determine nearly exactly where you are within your home? And who else is home and where they are within the home. Of course this would assume that every member of the family is carrying their iPhone or wearing their iWatch at all times, but it opens the door to all kinds of possibilities.

I nearly choked when I read others claim that a collection of dedicated apps for each 'gizmo' is the Utopia of home automation. Such a lack of imagination! I think that those suggesting that Apple TV will be the 'hub' of the whole system are also off-base. Apple TV will hopefully be able to participate in your home automation setup, and make it better, but I think it will do so as an optional member component of the system as opposed to its hub.

Voice control will be a nice touch for adhoc requests, but the true magic will come from a system that learns our routines, anticipates what comes next and just does it (or offers to do it) - without having to ask for it! A system that works behind the scenes to maximize our energy savings. A system that can respond to combinations of multiple, possibly unrelated events - (like weather, temperature, a doorbell press, a motion detected, an alarm sensor triggered, a family member arriving or departing, a pet with a smart collar entering a room, my location within the house, who else is in the house and where they are within the house, an urgent e-mail arriving, etcetera, etcetera). The possibilities truly are endless and limited only be imagination! I personally can't wait to see what kind of smart-home solutions this technology enables.

Meh. It'll just annoy you when it anticipates wrongly. Sorry to pour cold water on your enthusiasm.
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post #44 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frood View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by InteliusQ View Post

 
So Homekit is basically a universal remote.

I don't see it that way.  There are many TV makers, and thousands of models.  The universal remote attempts to be the best compromise that tries to work with all of them.  Trying to find your specific 'code' is a pain in the butt procedure, and you usually end up with roughly 8473728291 buttons that you don't use for your system.

Apple is kind of doing the same thing, except exactly the opposite.  They are defining what would be the best most awesome remote ever.  With that in hand they are telling the manufacturers 'You are free to build whatever devices you want, but it has to work with our remote and meet our defined standards.'

Interesting to watch how this plays out.  Will they insist on 'Apple exclusivity' or would a lamp manufacturer be free to build a lamp that is compliant with both the Apple and Google systems?

Roughly 8473728291 buttons?

Roughly 8473728290 buttons, maybe. No need to be so precise.
Edited by Benjamin Frost - 6/29/14 at 7:08pm
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post #45 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

There is a difference between imagination and fantasy. 

 

For one, iBeacons don't detect where you are. It is exactly the opposite. Your iOS app can take actions depending on its relationship to an iBeacon location, but if all you are interested in doing is telling a digital hub where you are, you wouldn't need an iBeacon, you would simply allow the app running location services on the iOS device to tell the digital hub themselves using WiFi.

 

Your fantasy automation solution sounds surprisingly like the proprietary systems that are already available for tens of thousands of dollars. The entire purpose of Homekit is to allow diverse manufacturers to integrate their control apps within the Homekit environment but the appliance and the control software will be discrete. 

 

If I had a house full of iBeacons, I'm pretty sure Location Services on my phone would be able to triangulate a very accurate position within my home.  If there's an easier way than using beacons, that's great.

 

As for the rest of the fantasy, I'm not suggesting that we're going to get there this year - and I'm definitely not suggesting that Apple will be the ones to create the actual logic or intelligence.  That seems much more likely to be provided via a third party or parties - at least initially.   Unless my understanding is *completely* wrong, HomeKit will give developers the ability to talk to all connected devices without through simple API's instead of a myriad of proprietary (or just different) interfaces.  They will be able to query the system for a camera, or a thermostat and then query that device for it's capabilities and then interface with it without having to know who the manufacturer is or what the device model is and which control protocols that particular camera uses.  Obviously if you buy a camera, it will ship with software from the manufacturer that will let you control it/use it, etc.  That's what we have today and for the most part things are silo'd.  

 

Maybe an example would help.  Today, it would be difficult for a third party developer to build an app that uses motion detection from a front door camera to detect that someone is arriving home and then turn on the air conditioning.  It would be difficult, because that app would have to contain built-in knowledge of how to communicate with every camera ever made and every thermostat ever made.  Not impossible, but really difficult.  With homekit, the same app becomes super-easy because HomeKit maintains those libraries and that knowledge - so the third party app just needs to know there's a camera and a thermostat.  The app logic becomes extremely simple - almost to the point where a single line of code could do it -  ( if camera.motion = "True" then thermostat.airconditioning = "On" ).

 

So, I stand by my original fantasy!  HomeKit will allow third party developers to create some truly useful, amazing and imaginative control solutions using any mix and match assortment of home automation components.

post #46 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenly View Post
 
 Today, it would be difficult for a third party developer to build an app that uses motion detection from a front door camera to detect that someone is arriving home and then turn on the air conditioning.  It would be difficult, because that app would have to contain built-in knowledge of how to communicate with every camera ever made and every thermostat ever made.  Not impossible, but really difficult.  With homekit, the same app becomes super-easy because HomeKit maintains those libraries and that knowledge - so the third party app just needs to know there's a camera and a thermostat.  The app logic becomes extremely simple - almost to the point where a single line of code could do it -  ( if camera.motion = "True" then thermostat.airconditioning = "On" ).

 

Good point, however, the security conflict rules would not allow that to happen because the default AC app and camera app were already in control. The way I imagine it is that Homekit on iOS would allow for themes or scenarios. You set conditions which will execute commands in sequence. For example the air conditioner should not turn on if some neighborhood door hanger ad drop off guy approaches your door. Rather, when YOU approach the door your iOS device will start up a preprogrammed scenario.

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post #47 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

The reason I think the AE is a better hub is that it has security - because it is already a router and firewall. Security is really the only job it would need to do. It would simply have a plist of the approved Apple IDs and match them up with the permissions to access the various devices. The iOS device will then communicate directly with the appliance. No middle man required in the control part. This is obvious to me because there is no way for the router/hub to know all of the capabilities of the appliance, how could it possibly be the one issuing commands?

What I could see is an iOS app that organizes the collection of factory control softwares on the device so that your home automation is all in one screen.

A couple of things:

FIRST

The scope of HomeKit is much broader than controlling a few devices -- the AE doesn't have the storage to do this. HomeKit involves:
  • multiple homes
  • multiple rooms
  • multiple devices
  • multiple states for some devices (on/off color, brightness, etc)
  • multiple zones
  • multiple triggers to cause actions based on time, sensor input (temperature, humidity ...) etc.

A typical room might contain 5-20 devices (we have 5 Hue bulbs in the Family room, 1 in each of the bedrooms and the hallway).

To that add wall switches, outlets, cameras mot ion detectors ...

With HomeKit you have granular control down to the settings of an individual device -- and/or you can slice and dice them into meaningful groups:

Siri: Set the light in the baby's room to a dim yellow ...

Siri: Setup the Beach House for guests arriving on July 2 by 3:00 PM ...

or anything in between


SECOND

Security is built into the HomeKit API. Device IDs never leave the premisses. All traffic is encrypted. HomeKit Control apps only work in the foreground.

It seems to be very thorough and well thought out.


Third

Thinking about it -- a 16GB iPod Touch @ $199 could outperform a 512MB AE at the same price -- just leave the iPod plugged in 24/7 with the display off.
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 6/29/14 at 7:31pm
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post #48 of 78
I'm surprised Samsung haven't brought out AwayKit yet.
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post #49 of 78
Could the new wearable be called iKit or even just Kit after Knight Rider?

Or maybe Kiti to appeal to the female crowd. You activate it by saying 'Hear, Kiti!'
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post #50 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post
 
A couple of things:

FIRST

The scope of HomeKit is much broader than controlling a few devices -- the AE doesn't have the storage to do this. HomeKit involves:
  • multiple homes
  • multiple rooms
  • multiple devices
  • multiple states for some devices (on/off color, brightness, etc)
  • multiple zones
  • multiple triggers to cause actions based on time, sensor input (temperature, humidity ...) etc.
  •  

A typical room might contain 5-20 devices (we have 5 Hue bulbs in the Family room, 1 in each of the bedrooms and the hallway).

To that add wall switches, outlets, cameras mot ion detectors ...

With HomeKit you have granular control down to the settings of an individual device -- and/or you can slice and dice them into meaningful groups:

Siri: Set the light in the baby's room to a dim yellow ...

Siri: Setup the Beach House for guests arriving on July 2 by 3:00 PM ...

or anything in between


SECOND

Security is built into the HomeKit API. Device IDs never leave the premisses. All traffic is encrypted. HomeKit Control apps only work in the foreground.

It seems to be very thorough and well thought out.

There are basically two potential scenarios I can imagine. One, the AE just negotiates Internet access to allow iPhone and Apple ID to have control over an appliance using factory provided software. Or, two. A full fledged proprietary server will take control of the entire home as necessary and override individual default settings based on conditions. In scenario #1 the AE is sufficient because it is simply providing ACL. Scenario #2 requires a full server with total integration and cross communication between all appliances. I'm thinking we will see the former first and perhaps the latter eventually.

 

Also I see Homekit apps being able to work in the background automatically to create scenes using features of various manufacturer apps at the same time, such as unlock the door, turn on the lights, set the climate control, all from different manufacturers using the built in factory software executing commands in a sequence.


Edited by mstone - 6/29/14 at 7:45pm

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post #51 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Is that OCD but with the letters arranged in the proper, alphabetical order?
Someone who understands!
post #52 of 78
Having a coordinated setup with everything automated has advantages that folks have not considered thoroughly unless they have lived with it.

Energy saving potential

shades to protect furniture and fabrics in direct sunlight

water saving potential of sprinklers that know the weather forecast

Thermostats that adjust an extra +\- 2 degrees based on outside temperature make it feel much more comfortable.

Humidity triggered bathroom fans to keep the moisture down (avoiding more fungus)

Controls to particular room's speakers and lights and thermostat pop up on your iphone depending on which room you are in. (Controls that adapt to where you are).

Music preferences that can que up based on who is in the room

A garage door which closes automatically if you forget to close it and no activity is detected nearby for a period of time.

Alarm system that doesnt go off when it detects your roomba

Wearable device that you can message police with if an intruder has come in

Wearable wireless charging device to control your smarthome and tv and whatnot.

Ibeacons that transmit charging power to your mobile stuff.

Basically all this stuff is fast becoming a reality if it already isn't... The possibilities are limited only by the rational imagination.

Home alarm that turns on automatically when all members of the house have left.


Most naysayers will want/like this stuff eventually... Just a matter of time.
post #53 of 78

Two words: Disabled people.

 

HomeKit + Siri or HomeKit + any iDevice = amazing thing for disabled people.

post #54 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post
 

 

 

I'm not convinced. To take your example - turning off my alarm, unlocking my door, turning on my hall lights and setting my thermostat take me next to no time; I'm not interested in automating them.

at night, in a remote cul de sac [security... I like to pre announce my arrival] with a kid in one arm and a bag of groceries in the other.... good for you. your interests define the market.... of one.

 

Security/alarm companies will beg to differ.  And what has apple done in every market it's entered since the iPod.  It's disintermediated someone

out of the flow... making it more effective to the end consumer.

 

I think the key item for home automation is 'effectiveness'  What takes you next to no time, may not be most effective for someone else.  who's setting your thermostat when your not there?  What happens when you and your life partner disagree on the tolerances of temp in your abode?  I can set my thermostat to 55/88deg when we are gone, and when I open our gate, the logic automatically resets to '68/78' for 20 minutes... then reverts to whatever the 'norm' is for that time period.  We save money, my S.O. feels comfortable, and I'm not yelled at for keeping the house at arctic/tropical temps.  

 

You're free to not buy into it, but I sense that HomeKit's will enable someone that already has a vision of 'what to do' to use HomeKit (the 1000 remotes, really home-communication... the internet coke machine meme) to make go beyond home automation (scripting common tasks), to home intelligence (something in the home 'thinking' and 'advising' you on how to make it better ("Dave.", "Yes Hal", "The temperature outside your life pod is approaching Zenith, you asked me to advise on this, as the temp is above your life norms.  I'm closing up the Bay Doors" "Thanks Hal, is the cat inside or outside the Pod?"  "Outside."  "Okay, if she comes back, open the Pod Bay doors, for her." "I will Dave, Have a good Trip." )

post #55 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlord View Post
 

Two words: Disabled people.

 

HomeKit + Siri or HomeKit + any iDevice = amazing thing for disabled people.

Or any working parent of 3.  Because After 2, both arms are disabled, 

post #56 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

 


I'm not convinced. To take your example - turning off my alarm, unlocking my door, turning on my hall lights and setting my thermostat take me next to no time; I'm not interested in automating them.
at night, in a remote cul de sac [security... I like to pre announce my arrival] with a kid in one arm and a bag of groceries in the other.... good for you. your interests define the market.... of one.

Security/alarm companies will beg to differ.  And what has apple done in every market it's entered since the iPod.  It's disintermediated someone
out of the flow... making it more effective to the end consumer.

I think the key item for home automation is 'effectiveness'  What takes you next to no time, may not be most effective for someone else.  who's setting your thermostat when your not there?  What happens when you and your life partner disagree on the tolerances of temp in your abode?  I can set my thermostat to 55/88deg when we are gone, and when I open our gate, the logic automatically resets to '68/78' for 20 minutes... then reverts to whatever the 'norm' is for that time period.  We save money, my S.O. feels comfortable, and I'm not yelled at for keeping the house at arctic/tropical temps.  

You're free to not buy into it, but I sense that HomeKit's will enable someone that already has a vision of 'what to do' to use HomeKit (the 1000 remotes, really home-communication... the internet coke machine meme) to make go beyond home automation (scripting common tasks), to home intelligence (something in the home 'thinking' and 'advising' you on how to make it better ("Dave.", "Yes Hal", "The temperature outside your life pod is approaching Zenith, you asked me to advise on this, as the temp is above your life norms.  I'm closing up the Bay Doors" "Thanks Hal, is the cat inside or outside the Pod?"  "Outside."  "Okay, if she comes back, open the Pod Bay doors, for her." "I will Dave, Have a good Trip." )

Buy your S.O. a jumper and you'll save even more money by keeping the temp at arctic conditions.
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post #57 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by InteliusQ View Post
 

So Homekit is basically a universal remote.

no, your iPhone/iPad is already your universal remote. you just need load the specific UI apps from the OEM's/services you use/have installed that control your various home technologies - security systems, built-ins, smart gadgets, whatever - usually connected to your wifi. they can already access your other core iOS info they need, like your location (and weather?), with your specific permission. 

 

i have some of these, they work fine if well designed. there is certainly potential for more of them.

 

i really can't guess what HomeKit will add to what we can already do this way. have to see it in action. the general new features of iOS 8, like inter-app connections and maybe enabling Siri for some third party apps, could be utilized in such ways i suppose.

 

but the notion that regular folks will spend the time needed to program complex multi-systems "scenes" via HomeKit for various typical everyday home settings/activities is completely unrealistic. anyone that's ever tried that for some system's "scene" discovers it is anything but simple. sure, there are myriad possibilities - that's the problem. it becomes tedious. only total tech heads are ever going to want to go through that process.

 

and the sic-fi movie cliche of walking around your house giving verbal commands to all its gadgets is just comic book stuff. most of time it is easier and more helpful to choose among options (do you remember them all otherwise?) by just pressing a button.

 

have folks seen the current Xbox commercial - with a guy controlling his TV etc. by saying "Xbox .... [do whatever in correct words]"? now who really wants to walk around their house doing that? especially if there are others around ...

post #58 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by InteliusQ View Post

 
So Homekit is basically a universal remote.

...

but the notion that regular folks will spend the time needed to program complex multi-systems "scenes" via HomeKit for various typical everyday home settings/activities is completely unrealistic. anyone that's ever tried that for some system's "scene" discovers it is anything but simple. sure, there are myriad possibilities - that's the problem. it becomes tedious. only total tech heads are ever going to want to go through that process.

...

This is exactly the beauty of HomeKit -- "regular folks" will not have to spend the time setting up their "scenes" -- savvy developers will write apps that do that for "regular folks" ...

Initially apps and accessories [devices] will require some participation by "ordinary folks". Consider the current Phillips Hue setup:
  • Screw in : Hue bulbs fit into your existing sockets. Just screw them in and turn the light on at the wall switch. Simple.
  • Plug in : Power up your bridge. Connect it to your modem using the network cable provided. Wait for the three lights to come on.
  • Connect: Download the free app at meethue.com/app. Connect to the bridge. Find your bulbs. Name them. And you've got hue.

This is easier than setting up a oscillating fan fro CostCo.


But it will get even easier as the software and accessories become more sophisticated -- WiFiSLAM * and BTLE iBeacon technology will be able to automatically:
  • locate the accessories in whatever room of your house
  • identify the make model and characteristics of the accessories
  • connect to the accessories

* WiFiSlam tech will allow you to walk through your home with an iPhone and automatically create a floor plan.

Then based on similar or nearby devices:
  • establish default settings for the accessories
  • establish default schedules for the accessories
  • establish default monitoring for the accessories
  • establish default grouping for the accessories if warranted
  • establish default zoning for the accessories if warranted

And, finally notify the user of what was done -- asking for approval / override

Siri: "Mary, I see that you added a XYZ Camera in the baby's room -- if you wish, I'll set it up to ..."


How many "regular folks" does it take to setup an automated HomeKit home? The same amount of "regular folks" that it takes to screw in a light bulb!
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 6/30/14 at 10:16am
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post #59 of 78
Siri....bring down my AC to 78 degrees
Siri...any messages....
Siri...feed the dog....
Siri...any appointments; birthdays, etc ???
Siri, tun on the backporch/pool lights...

Possible?
post #60 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


This is exactly the beauty of HomeKit -- regular folks will not have to spend the time setting up their "scenes" -- savvy developers will write apps that do that for regular folks ...

Initially apps and accessories [devices] will require some participation by ab "ordinary folk". Consider the current Phillips Hue setup:
  • Screw in : Hue bulbs fit into your existing sockets. Just screw them in and turn the light on at the wall switch. Simple.
  • Plug in : Power up your bridge. Connect it to your modem using the network cable provided. Wait for the three lights to come on.
  • Connect: Download the free app at meethue.com/app. Connect to the bridge. Find your bulbs. Name them. And you've got hue.
  •  

This is easier than setting up a oscillating fan fro CostCo.


But it will get even easier as the software and accessories become more sophisticated -- WiFiSLAM * and BTLE iBeacon technology will be able to automatically:
  • locate the accessories automatically in whatever room of your house
  • identify the make model and characteristics of the accessories
  • connect to the accessories
  •  

WiFiSlam tech will allow you to walk through your home with an iPhone and automatically create a floor plan.

Then based on similar or nearby devices:
  • establish default settings for the accessories
  • establish default schedules for the accessories
  • establish default monitoring for the accessories
  • establish default grouping for the accessories if warranted
  • establish default zoning for the accessories
  •  

And, finally notify the user of what was done -- asking for approval / override

Siri: "Mary, I see that you added a XYZ Camera in the baby's room -- if you wish, I'll set it up to ..."


Hoy many "ordinary folks" does it take to setup an automated HomeKit home? The same amount of "ordinary folks" that it takes to screw in a light bulb!

 

well ok. in fact i just got the Hue and set it up this weekend, so i get that. it's a really easy UI - even my wife quickly got into it (a surprise).

 

but then the only real difference is instead of multiple necessary individual 'bridge' units to plug into my wifi router for each/all gadgets, the ATV would support them all. which would be helpful, saving space and ethernet and power outlets and avoiding more wire spaghetti.

 

as to creating a logical house plan by just walking around (two levels), that would be nice but i'll believe that when i see it.

 

other simplifications would be using my basic contract info for all devices where needed, ok. but none of this is earth shattering.

post #61 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

This is exactly the beauty of HomeKit -- regular folks will not have to spend the time setting up their "scenes" -- savvy developers will write apps that do that for regular folks ...


Initially apps and accessories [devices] will require some participation by ab "ordinary folk". Consider the current Phillips Hue setup:
  • Screw in : Hue bulbs fit into your existing sockets. Just screw them in and turn the light on at the wall switch. Simple.
  • Plug in : Power up your bridge. Connect it to your modem using the network cable provided. Wait for the three lights to come on.
  • Connect: Download the free app at meethue.com/app. Connect to the bridge. Find your bulbs. Name them. And you've got hue.
  •  


This is easier than setting up a oscillating fan fro CostCo.



But it will get even easier as the software and accessories become more sophisticated -- WiFiSLAM * and BTLE iBeacon technology will be able to automatically:
  • locate the accessories automatically in whatever room of your house
  • identify the make model and characteristics of the accessories
  • connect to the accessories
  •  


WiFiSlam tech will allow you to walk through your home with an iPhone and automatically create a floor plan.


Then based on similar or nearby devices:
  • establish default settings for the accessories
  • establish default schedules for the accessories
  • establish default monitoring for the accessories
  • establish default grouping for the accessories if warranted
  • establish default zoning for the accessories
  •  


And, finally notify the user of what was done -- asking for approval / override


Siri: "Mary, I see that you added a XYZ Camera in the baby's room -- if you wish, I'll set it up to ..."



Hoy many "ordinary folks" does it take to setup an automated HomeKit home? The same amount of "ordinary folks" that it takes to screw in a light bulb!

well ok. in fact i just got the Hue and set it up this weekend, so i get that. it's a really easy UI - even my wife quickly got into it (a surprise).

but then the only real difference is instead of multiple necessary individual 'bridge' units to plug into my wifi router for each/all gadgets, the ATV would support them all. which would be helpful, saving space and ethernet and power outlets and avoiding more wire spaghetti.

as to creating a logical house plan by just walking around (two levels), that would be nice but i'll believe that when i see it.
Quote:

First build a map: the technology uses WiFiSLAM to monitor a multitude of WiFi signals (noise) from inside and out side a building -- it detects "fingerprint" similarities in the signals and is able to refine the outline of the building (AIR on Stanford campus).

at about 30:00 in



Once an existing map is known then ... this was done on an Android phone before Apple bought the company (WiFiSLAM needs special access to Location Services which were not, then, available to developers).



Google has a similar project, Tango ,that does a similar thing using a special device with 3D and IR cameras.

other simplifications would be using my basic contract info for all devices where needed, ok. but none of this is earth shattering.

Exactly ... None of this has to be earth shattering -- it just has to work!
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post #62 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

I just don't see the mass market appeal of home automation.

 

which is why these guys are going to be making money doing it, and youre doing whatever it is you do, which isnt understanding the mass market appeal of home automation.

 

Quote:
I have a large home so I might be interested in some automation but it is somewhat of a hassle to install all new appliances and lighting for a marginal convenience upgrade.

 

installing smart lighting is stone simple. 

post #63 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
 

Do you need A7-class processing power to turn some lights on and off? I got one of those programmable light switches that's barely more processing power than a $29 Casio digital watch with multiple alarms. Even something like Raspberry Pi is overkill for an automation controller.

 

well thats a strange conclusion to make, considering the premium high-end home automation systems need dedicated servers to run on.

post #64 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

 

 Isn't diabetes a global epidemic? Seems to me that we need to get off our fat arses and have a less convenient life. 

 

what a strange conclusion to make -- that if one uses home automation, one cannot also exercise or doing anything physical in other aspects of one's life. 

post #65 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post
 

I'm not convinced. To take your example - turning off my alarm, unlocking my door, turning on my hall lights and setting my thermostat take me next to no time; I'm not interested in automating them.

 

then clearly home automation isnt for you. why you believe that means it isnt of interest for anybody, is a mystery.

 

the marketplace will decide this.

post #66 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 
Do you need A7-class processing power to turn some lights on and off? I got one of those programmable light switches that's barely more processing power than a $29 Casio digital watch with multiple alarms. Even something like Raspberry Pi is overkill for an automation controller.

well thats a strange conclusion to make, considering the premium high-end home automation systems need dedicated servers to run on.


As I posted earlier, a $199 iPod Touch would do the Job quite nicely -- actually overkill, because it wouldn't need a display or battery.

That's why I think an AppleTV with at least an A7 would be preferable -- it could also run console-class games.

Here's a very good article exploring the possibilities:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2292645-apples-new-strategic-centerpiece
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post #67 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

The reason I think the AE is a better hub is that it has security - because it is already a router and firewall. Security is really the only job it would need to do. It would simply have a plist of the approved Apple IDs and match them up with the permissions to access the various devices. The iOS device will then communicate directly with the appliance. No middle man required in the control part. This is obvious to me because there is no way for the router/hub to know all of the capabilities of the appliance, how could it possibly be the one issuing commands?

 

What I could see is an iOS app that organizes the collection of factory control softwares on the device so that your home automation is all in one screen.

 

if iOS home "automation" were limited to arranging app icons on a screen it would be idiotic and ridiculed to no end.

 

also, it wont be in the router. it makes more sense to abstract the control functionality to a dedicated control device, than to bundle it w/ the router, which will be a non-starter for legions of customers who arent interested in replacing their perfectly functional routers. the router route packets. the control controls devices. each more or less ignorant of the other's implementation details. 

post #68 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

well thats a strange conclusion to make, considering the premium high-end home automation systems need dedicated servers to run on.

I do not conflate "typical hardware" with "required hardware." Yes, I typically run xterm on a Quad-core Core i7 machine with 16GB of RAM, but xterm only requires an ancient single-core Pentium and 256MB of RAM to run well. How much processing power does an actual programmable light switch require?

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post #69 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post
 
if iOS home "automation" were limited to arranging app icons on a screen it would be idiotic and ridiculed to no end.

No, I think it will be considerably more than that. For one, I imagine that any Homekit app will be required to accept scripting so that the Apple Homekit environment will be able to build scenes and scenarios that can span across several factory appliances for a desired end result such as open the door, turn off the alarm, turn on the lights and set the climate controls all in one script.

 

Quote:

also, it wont be in the router. it makes more sense to abstract the control functionality to a dedicated control device, than to bundle it w/ the router, which will be a non-starter for legions of customers who arent interested in replacing their perfectly functional routers. the router route packets. the control controls devices. each more or less ignorant of the other's implementation details. 

Customers will have to replace something, either their router or their AppleTV. It is six of one half dozen the other. The way I see it, an iPhone needs to talk directly with the appliances using the factory supplied app which is integrated into a Homekit environment on the iOS device, and a router running some protocol similar to Back to My Mac which provides the security and the ability to traverse the private home network which is behind a firewall. It is not any more complicated than that. No dedicated home server needed.

 

Every Homekit appliance will have its own mini-server embedded. The appliance itself will keep track of what it is programmed to do. Turn on at sunset, turn off at sunrise. It stores that logic in its own memory and continues to execute the commands until told to stop by an iOS device running the factory control app.


Edited by mstone - 6/30/14 at 3:33pm

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post #70 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

 
Quote:
also, it wont be in the router. it makes more sense to abstract the control functionality to a dedicated control device, than to bundle it w/ the router, which will be a non-starter for legions of customers who arent interested in replacing their perfectly functional routers. the router route packets. the control controls devices. each more or less ignorant of the other's implementation details. 
Customers will have to replace something, either their router or their AppleTV. It is six of one half dozen the other. The way I see it, an iPhone needs to talk directly with the appliances using the factory supplied app which is integrated into a Homekit environment on the iOS device, and a router running some protocol similar to Back to My Mac which provides the security and the ability to traverse the private home network which is behind a firewall. It is not any more complicated than that. No home server needed.

FIRST

"Customers will have to replace something, either their router or their AppleTV."

The above statement is not true!

The AppleTV 3rd generation has an A5X APU and is supported to run iOS 8 (as are the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 -- which have A5 APUs).

The AE does not have the necessary hardware to run iOS (not even enough flash storage to contain iOS)

If Apple opens the AppleTV to HomeKit:
  • users with 3rd generation AppleTVs will; likely be supported!
  • users with no AppleTV or Earlier AppleTV would need to buy a 3rd Generation or newer AppleTV ($99 or less) to use HomeKit
  • in either case, no change of router would be necessary.


SECOND

I don't think you understand how HomeKit is designed to work.

Basically, a computer running iOS or OS X runs a server-like process continuously, monitoring and waiting for work. It monitors and detect changes in:
  • the home
  • the rooms in the home
  • the accessory devices status
  • schedules
  • triggered actions based on ...
  • newly added/removed/offline accessorydevices
  • newly added/removed groups (zones) of accessory devise
  • much more

When an event is detected the HomeKit Computer might take a predetermined action -- or it might send a notification to a remote (or local) user's iPhone suggesting that an action is needed and letting the user accept or override ...

The user at the iPhone is truly a client to a HomeKit server.


Certainly you could write a HomeKit app for an iDevice that is nothing more than a glorified remote control -- display accessory device status and initiate actions ... but what's the advantage of that.

AFAIK, Phillips Hue allows you to schedule and control their devices through their web site but that's a minor improvement.

HomeKit running on a local computer as a server app can do that and much more without ever needing to expose private info to the Internet.

I don't know of any routers made by Apple or anyone else that are cabable of running HomeKit.
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post #71 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Every Homekit appliance will have its own mini-server embedded. The appliance itself will keep track of what it is programmed to do. Turn on at sunset, turn off at sunrise. It stores that logic in its own memory and continues to execute the commands until told to stop by an iOS device running the factory control app.

This is totally 180 out!

Why add the cost/inconvenience/incompatibility by adding a server to each device?

Some of these devices are small, inexpensive and you want to add a raspberryPie to each one of these?

How would you set the time on each of these?

How would you coordinate: turning off all the downstairs lights, activating the security alarms, motion detecters, cams, etc.?

How would you know if the desired actions actually took place?


With HomeKit, you do something like: "Siri, it's bedtime"

Siri asks the HomeKit Server to perform the "Bedtime" action (including multiple rooms, devices, actions, etc.) and then reports:

Siri: "All the bedtime actions are complete:

or

Siri: "Uh, oh I had problems completing some of the bedtime actions -- would you like to review them?:



If you are an Apple iOS Developer, you really should watch the WWDC HomeKit session video!


HomeKit is not what you think it is.
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post #72 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post
 
If you are an Apple iOS Developer, you really should watch the WWDC HomeKit session video!

Please tell me where it mentions a home server. All the functionality is in the iOS device. The status of the appliance is in the appliance. You query the appliance and it spits out its status from its embedded software. You ask it to do something it executes it with its embedded software and reports success or failure. That is a server for all intents and purposes. There is no dedicated universal home server hardware required for this interaction to take place. It is no different than the embedded server inside the Airport Extreme or configuring a wireless modem. Each device can take requests form the iOS app and send responses back to it. Request/response. That is a server built right into the appliance.

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post #73 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 
Please tell me where it mentions a home server. All the functionality is in the iOS gdevice. The status of the appliance is in the appliance. You query the appliance and it spits out its status from its embedded software. You ask it to do something it executes it with its embedded software and reports success or failure. That is a server for all intents and purposes. There is no dedicated universal home server hardware required for this interaction to take place. It is no different than the embedded server inside the Airport Extreme or configuring a wireless modem. Each device can take requests form the iOS app and send responses back to it. Request/response. That is a server built right into the appliance.

No, that' says remote control!

You have 24 lights, 4 security cams, 3 motion detectors ... In the upstairs bedrooms and hall ways ...

You want to spend your time, remote controlling each one of these ...

Why not hire a maid and text her to do that for you (and hope she does it)?

Better -- spend $99 and get it done?


Apple doesn't like to expose complexity, so they don't describe a client-server relationship.

But they spilled their hand when they said that the HomeKit app must be running in the foreground of the iDevice -- and that no HomeKit Accessory device info leaves the home.
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post #74 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by franktinsley View Post

This post appears to give no reason for putting Siri and homekit in the Apple TV itself instead of just touch-based iOS devices.

I was thinking that as well. While I am sure a new AppleTV will have a homekit control app(s), the same thing will be available on iOS devices and probably OS X as well. I doubt there will be a single hub device. That just doesn't make any sense.

 

-kpluck

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post #75 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post
 
No, that' says remote control!

You have 24 lights, 4 security cams, 3 motion detectors ... In the upstairs bedrooms and hall ways ...

You want to spend your time, remote controlling each one of these ...

Why not hire a maid and text her to do that for you (and hope she does it)?

Better -- spend $99 and get it done?


Apple doesn't like to expose complexity, so they don't describe a client-server relationship.

But they spilled their hand when they said that the HomeKit app must be running in the foreground of the iDevice -- and that no HomeKit Accessory device info leaves the home.

Perhaps there is a miscommunication. I thought you said in more than one instance that a home sever would be required. 

 

The way you affect multiple devices with a single command is by building group scripted actions. 

 

The HomeKit app must be running in the foreground but it has access to all of the third party apps which reside inside the Homekit environment.

 

My mention of mini-servers running in each appliance is in reference to how almost every remote control device is managed. I would assume that the vast majority of the Homekit appliances will be running a version of embedded Linux. Without a server request/response protocol nothing would work. It is the simplest of servers but it is a server. Even the lowly light switch will have a cpu, wifi and an operating system, along with a basic web server to communicate with the iOS device.

 

The fact remains that network protocol is a major aspect of the system. A home network is isolated form the Internet in terms of outside requests reaching the inside devices. It needs a special secure method for that to happen which is the secret ingredient in HomeKit, but it will need a corresponding partner on the inside which is where the router comes into play. Sure it could be a Mac or an AppleTV but to me the AE seems like the likely candidate since it already has 90% of the requirements with ethernet ports, firewall and port forwarding capabilities, etc.


Edited by mstone - 6/30/14 at 6:22pm

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post #76 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 



You have 24 lights, 4 security cams, 3 motion detectors ... In the upstairs bedrooms and hall ways ...


You want to spend your time, remote controlling each one of these ...


Why not hire a maid and text her to do that for you (and hope she does it)?


Better -- spend $99 and get it done?



Apple doesn't like to expose complexity, so they don't describe a client-server relationship.


But they spilled their hand when they said that the HomeKit app must be running in the foreground of the iDevice -- and that no HomeKit Accessory device info leaves the home.
Perhaps there is a miscommunication. I thought you said in more than one instance that a home sever would be required. 

The way you affect multiple devices with a single command is by building group scripted actions. 

The HomeKit app must be running in the foreground but it has access to all of the third party apps which reside inside the Homekit environment.

My mention of mini-servers running in each appliance is in reference to how almost every remote control device is managed. I would assume that the vast majority of the Homekit appliances will be running a version of embedded Linux. Without a server request/response protocol nothing would work. It is the simplest of servers but it is a server. Even the lowly light switch will have a cpu, wifi and an operating system, along with a basic web server to communicate with the iOS device.





The fact remains that network protocol is a major aspect of the system. A home network is isolated form the Internet in terms of outside requests reaching the inside devices. It needs a special secure method for that to happen which is the secret ingredient in HomeKit, but it will need a corresponding partner on the inside which is where the router comes into play. Sure it could be a Mac or an AppleTV but to me the AE seems like the likely candidate since it already has 90% of the requirements with ethernet ports, firewall and port forwarding capabilities, etc.

We're talking past each other ... From prior posts, I know you understand client-server relationships ...

We'll just have to wait and see ...
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post #77 of 78
Some additional thoughts on using a Router vs an AppleTV to interface HomeKit accessories.[devices].

While it may be true that many of these accessories can be considered to be self-contained servers, they are limited to performing functions specific to that particular device -- a Phillips Hue Bridge can control Hue light bulbs, but cannot control a garage door, a thermostat or even non-Hue light bulbs. On its own, each of these accessories is pretty much doing its own thing.

HomeKit attempts to improve this situation by creating a database of all the accessories in a home to provide a central monitoring and control point. This database is set up by an app that acts as a HomeKit Accessory Browser. The app listens for new accessories, and when detected, uniquely names them (including the room they are in) and adds them to the database (along with the commands to control the specific devices). As additional accessories are added, removed or (relocated to another room) the setup process is repeated.

From the WWDC Keynote, HomeKit was presented as an universal remote control for all your accessories. You can control accessories individually and as groups (e.g. downstairs lights or door locks). Siri voice commands can be used to control HomeKit accessories.

So, what is known so far, is that HomeKit requires an iOS 8 device -- which means an iPad 2 or newer, iPad Mini, iPhone 4S or newer. It is unclear whether an iPod Touch will be supported. While the 3rd generation AppleTV has the hardware needed to run iOS 8, it is unclear whether Apple will support it for iOS 8 and HomeKit.

Restating this: Any qualified iDevice can act as a HomeKit universal remote control

Now, this is a biggie: It is unclear whether the HomeKit universal remote control only works within the home -- or if it can be used off site as well.

AFAICT, it only works within the home!


This could change in the future, but onsite-only severely limits the utility of the whole concept, IMO.

So, the proposition of using a Router vs using an AppleTV to interface HomeKit accessories is moot.


I really hope that Apple opens up the current AppleTV (or a new one) to be used as a HomeKit server (in addition to its other uses) ... seems like a no brainer.


In researching the above, I reviewed the WWDC Keynote, the developer docs and an hour-long HomeKit developer video.

Somewhere half way through the video we lost our internet connection (happens, maybe once or twice a month) ...

Hmm ... If had been offsite, trying use iPhone to remotely control the HomeKit accessories at my home, I would have been SOL!

If I'd had an AppleTV running as the HomeKit Server within my home -- everything would have operated as scheduled -- door locks, windows, security, lights, thermostat ...
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post #78 of 78

Indigo is a Mac only home automation app/server that already does much of what people have been discussing in this thread.  Not everything, but it gets the job done.  I use it with a Mac Mini and a bunch of Insteon devices to do a number of fairly simple things with lighting mostly.  I recently added two Insteon water leak detectors that can send me email and text messages through Messages when something is leaking in the kitchen or the laundry closet.  There are a ton of other functions people use Indigo for including sprinkler automation, home security, energy monitoring, thermostat control etc., etc.  Remote access is through their own iOS app called Indigo Touch.

 

Indigo also works with Z-Wave and old legacy X-10 as well as Insteon.  The Indigo developers plan to support Homekit any way they can.  Seems like it might be a good collaboration.

 

http://www.indigodomo.com

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