AV Automation specializes in Home Automation and Home Theater. While we are fans of several different automation control systems, Savant is by far our favorite as it allows users ease of access with a simple to operate iPad or iPhone interface. We greatly enjoy Apple and the relationship we have established with Austin MacWorks, an Apple Authorized Reseller and Specialist here in Austin. So when we came upon this article about Apple’s patent for intelligent home automation with wireless technology, we just had to spread the word.
Apple’s idea is not just a super-smart remote control switch for your lighting either – it would be able to track a user’s location in and near the home and then intelligently react. Apple’s iHome would use location and movement data from iPhone and Mac hardware to anticipate occupants’ upcoming movements and provide an intelligent reaction. Every entertainment device, temperature and lighting control, telephone, and appliance in a home could be connected to a central hub device. The system could predict when you come home from work and turn on exterior and interior lights and adjust the thermostat. Once inside, residents could find a welcoming environment with the TV turned on to their favorite tv show, the scent of fresh coffee brewing and the dull hum of the washing machine. The idea is a step beyond internet-connected electrical outlets or lighting solutions like Philips’ Hue. Apple imagines the house would be intelligent and would look at the house occupant’s movements within the home to try to predict what their next actions would be. The key to all of this is location and movement data.
A smart connected home is one thing, but the really desirable goal of all home automation is a system that anticipates your needs and responds without any user input, operating at maximum efficiency. That’s exactly what Apple describes in this system, and it’s done using devices that Apple is already actively selling to users, with the very same capabilities already built-in.
The question here is exactly how much it would take on the user’s side, in terms of time, effort and resources to implement such a system, should Apple decide to make it a feature of its products. Apple certainly has the ecosystem on its side in terms of device-making partners, but it may be another few years before users are at the point where they’re willing or ready to accept the cost of setting up the infrastructure for something like this. Still, it’s a very intriguing route for Apple to explore, and could offer some glimpse at where iOS is headed down the road. We’d love to hear what you think!
Apple’s automatic environment configuration patent application was first filed for in 2012 and credits Thomas Ethan Lowry as its inventor.