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How Google and Apple will smartify your home

Mike Elgan | May 26, 2015
The automation revolution starts Thursday. Here's what's coming soon to your house.

At the Apple Watch rollout in September, Apple Watch vice president Kevin Lynch demonstrated a home-automation app from Alarm.com that not only showed a live video of the inside of a garage, but also enabled the garage door to be opened and closed via the watch. So it looks like Apple Watch is going to be a prime controller for HomeKit-enabled devices.

According to an unconfirmed but credible report on the blog 9to5Mac last week, Apple might unveil Version 9 of iOS at WWDC and the update of the mobile operating system may include a home automation app called Home.

The Home app is a user interface for controlling HomeKit-enabled products, according to the post. It organizes home automation devices by room and enables you to discover, set up and control home automation devices.

That same report said that Apple TV would serve as a hub for HomeKit devices, and for the iOS devices that control them.

In fact, Apple's cryptic graphic for WWDC says "the epicenter of change" and features a colorful rounded square surrounded by lots of different shapes. The conventional Kremlinology on this image is that the square in the middle is Apple TV, and the surrounding objects are home automation devices. If that's accurate, the idea of Apple TV as the hub for home automation is the main theme for Apple this year.

Google and Apple intend to be major players in the mainstreaming of home automation. But other big companies jumped into the ring this month, too.

Samsung introduced a line of chips called Artik for IoT and home automation systems. The company already owns (through acquisition) a company called SmartThings, which makes a hub for controlling and connecting home automation appliances.

And Chinese tech giant Huawei introduced an IoS operating system called LiteOS.

Nearly every major consumer-facing tech company will be involved in the home automation revolution. It's an industry that's just in its infancy and will roll in major revenue for the companies in the future.

So say goodbye to your dumb home. The smartification begins Thursday.

 

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