Here’s a roundup of Connected Homes news that’s been making waves in the media these past weeks.
Apple Homekit launched
Apple get us up and running with their launch of Homekit, the one stop location to control your connected home devices through your Apple device.
“Home brings to the smart home what it has brought to other product categories-- a clean, easy-to-understand interface. Whereas before you had to use third-party apps to configure and control your HomeKit-compatible smart home products, the Home app brings them all under one, Apple-controlled roof. It's almost as if Apple is finally ready to admit that yes, it does indeed want to compete in the emerging smart home market.”
“The Home app has some clear advantages. Centralized control of all HomeKit devices! Easy scene setup! Intuitive scheduling and geofencing automations.”
“At the same time, this software isn't perfect. We wish it had a tutorial to help HomeKit beginners, a back button so you can return to previous screens sans confusion and a separate tab that neatly displays all of your HomeKit devices.”
“Even with these limitations, the Home app gives HomeKit some much-needed infrastructure -- a kickoff point for anyone interested in using Apple's platform. But that isn't where the smart home ends for Apple.”
O2 Launch subscription connected homes service:
O2 are bringing in their service offering for connected homes, one of the first to launch a service in addition to products such as smart plugs.
“O2 Home will also offer connected plugs to control any device, cameras, intruder alarms and more all controlled via an app from wherever you are and which can react to your return home using GPS technology.”
“The mobile operator is the first in the UK to get into the much-hyped connected home space, which is expected to be worth £150bn by 2020, and comes from a tie-up with AT&T in the US where it has already attracted millions of customers.”
“The service starts from £20 a month and includes a smart hub, presence sensors, open and close sensors used for doors and two smart plugs.”
“It is also highlighting that O2 will take car of the installation, after research found that while nearly three quarters are interested in using smart technology in hte home, just five per cent are planning to install it this year. The survey by O2 found the biggest factors holding back adoption were price and installation.”
“An earlier study by PwC found consumers had greater trust in energy firms and tech or telecoms firms than high street retailers when purchasing smart home devices.”
Hands on with Amazon Echo:
Amazon Echo are up and running and AndroidPit have come through with a hands on report of their findings getting to grips with Echo/Alexa.
“Amazon's digital assistant, Alexa, is the brain behind the Echo. This provides information from Wikipedia, plays music from Amazon Music, Spotify and other services, and is open to APIs from other products, meaning developers are able to integrate Alexa functionality into their own devices and software.“
“In the demo area where I had access to the Echo, it responded promptly to commands despite ongoing conversations in the room permeating the airwaves. The quality of music reproduction appeared to be good, but you shouldn't expect spectacular quality here.”
“Amazon is confident that the Echo will be a success. The Alexa is not just a digital assistant, but a smart home and entertainment platform. The Amazon Echo and Alexa could be compatible with lights, thermostats and other applicable household products.”
“Moreover, Alexa serves as a source of information, providing, for example, the next train time or helping you call a taxi. Third-party devs can also take advantage of Alexa without worrying about the speech recognition components, which are handled by Amazon.“