Our smartphone (and tomorrow our smartwatch) leaves us more. Always at hand and always connected, it is the quickest and most natural today to access the internet, send messages… and why not fly our equipment home automation and connected objects. Apple, Google, Samsung… don’t be wrong and develop all their platform in this sense. At Apple, it’s called HomeKit. At Google it is the duo Brillo / Weave and finally SmartThings at Samsung.
As each year, autumn comes with a lot of novelty to make new iPhones and Galaxy on the shelves for Christmas. In 2016, with the release of iOS10, it is an opportunity to take stock of what we propose the new home application and try to answer this question, our domestic software still have a future?
What’s new in the Home with 10 iOS?
HomeKit was introduced to iOS8 by Apple in 2014 (source). HomeKit provides developers with all the tools necessary to enable to control HomeKit certified devices from their applications and to the manufacturers specifications of their products (and the fee to pay…). At the same time Apple offers an application dedicated to the connected home completely integrated to iOS and watch OS.
iOS10 should mark a turning point for HomeKit because for the first time Apple has opened the doors of Siri and now allows developers to manage voice applications since Siri.
What can be done at home today?
Apple has used to purify its applications. Home is no exception to this rule. The application is composed of 3 tabs.
Home: a quick overview of my house
The first tab gives a quick overview of the latest events (opening a door, presence detection, extinguishing a lamp…). This is the status area. You can choose the items to include in the State by enabling the option ‘Include in State’ for each accessory or scene. Finally, you can start a scene or a favorite accessory.
Good to know. Set up or change an accessory or a scene, to keep your finger on the item. You can then order the accessory. Then symbol is a big switch. The Details button at the bottom of the screen to access the configuration page.
Room: to navigate more easily
Every room in the House has its own page. We pass from one room to another either by dragging the screen to the right or left, or from the menu located at the top left of the screen. It is also from this menu we can add a piece. We can assign an accessory in a room. Now we can define scenes for a room. Give a simple name to your scenes in order to summon them vocally since Siri. For example ‘good night’ to turn off all the lights.
Automation: to create smaller scenarios
The last feature of the home application is the creation of automatisms. You can trigger automatic actions in 4 situations:
- My location changes. We have the possibility to automate actions when you arrive or when leaving his home. You can start a scene. For example “good night” when we leave the House to turn off all the lights. The opposite with ‘Hello ‘. Otherwise, we can deal case by case with accessories.
- A time of day allows to trigger actions at the same time. We can repeat them some days (or all).
- Accessory triggers an action.
- A detector detect something and triggers an action. For example a motion sensor detects a presence. Little regret, HomeKit does not yet to trigger an action to an outside service (it will be maybe to iOS11). For example send a notification by email or IFTTT to a different recipient.
Guest family home
iOS10 introduced a user management that allows other members of the family of access and control home automation accessories. To enjoy this feature, you should have a TB Apple 4th generation at least. Invite people, to go to the Home tab then go in Add a home (arrow of location in the upper left corner of the screen) then invite …
Google Home follows Apple with Brillo
Google (as usual?) follows in the footsteps of Apple with Brillo. Submitted to the Google I/O 2015 as Weave, the first compatible products were presented to the CES 2016. Asus was the first to present a compatible product, the smart Bridge home, a home automation hub which is expected end of 2016. Other manufacturers have made some announcements. Kwikset, specialist of the locks, is expected to unveil a connected lock fast enough. Marvell, a chip taking WiFi supported protocol Weave.
It is still very low compared to the already certified products HomeKit (complete list), but one thing is certain, with its planetary strike force (more than 80% of equipped Android Smartphones), Google has what it takes to surf on the Weave of the objects connected with Brillo! Stay tuned.
The video presentation of Google Brillo/Weave in English at Google I/O 2015
Google also follows in the footsteps of Amazon Echo with Google Home. Google Home is a vocal assistance that will be capable of achieving multiple actions: put music, broadcasting in several parts of the House, send messages, do some research on the internet… and control home automation devices. Here’s a short video that gives an overview of the possibilities offered by Google Home (Google I/O 2016).
What’s new at Samsung ?
Samsung is not trolling on the subject. The manufacturer has developed its own platform called SmartThings and relies on two protocols to communicate with the devices, the Zigbee and Z-Wave . Unlike Apple and Google who must wait until manufacturers are adopting (or not) their standards, Samsung can enjoy directly from a very large number of produced compatible .
SmartThings architecture is very classic. A Hub installed in your home allows to manage up to 200 devices. An app for iOS, Android, and Windows allows to control your devices from your smartphone.
Only one fly in the ointment, SmartThings was shown the finger this summer with some very serious security vulnerabilities.
What future for home automation software in 2016?
Not easy to draw a conclusion on the question that interests us. The trend is very clear, the connected home is a very big cake. Apple and Google have everything need them to succeed, smartphone and smartwatch in our hands. Currently the proposed software are very complementary to the existing domestic software. They allow to fly our aircraft and to keep an eye on our home when we’re not home. Apple offers the best experience (and easiest) because everything is built-in natively compatible iOS devices. For Google, it is still too top to say if she will take the Weave with Brillo. We make the point in 2017… Finally, in regard to Samsung and its SmartThings platform, is currently the platform that can do more compete with home automation software. See if Samsung will be corrIger pulls (again!) and butcher revealed security vulnerabilities recently.
Despite this, home automation software should still remain essential for a good time. Here are some arguments in their favor. First of all, it is very easy to integrate devices based on very different protocols (ZWave, RFLink…). If you want to stay in the cocoon of Apple, you will need to buy MFI certified devices (and pay full price). I do not even talk to develop your own DIY connected objects (the essence of this site!). Finally, the home automation software to create very complex and perfectly custom scenarios.
as in computing, things move very quickly in home automation, the year 2017 should reserve us many surprises, and why not a new Open Source Homebridge plugin to drive our software from Google Home home…