Why I'm excited about OS-level integration to help proliferate the Internet of things

Homekit
By Chris Umiastowski on 24 Jun 2014 09:30 am
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A week ago I picked up a new Tesla Model S, which has all kinds of awesome Internet connectivity features including a mobile app that lets me control certain aspects of the car from a distance. The car also has a neat feature that can be programmed to replace the remote control for my garage door opener. It's nice to just hit a virtual button on the car's touch screen rather than worry about the remote.

So here's a typical homeowner nag: I walk out my front door and decide I'd like to open the garage. I don't have the remote in my hand because … well … who carries their garage door remote around with them? So instead of walking back through the house and entering the garage from the inside, it would be really cool if my phone could just open the door. Obviously Tesla could add this capability to their app. They already allow me to open the sunroof from my phone, so why not also relay the garage door signal?

Obviously any connected car could do the same thing. But so could any connected garage door opener. You don't need the car to be involved. A quick Google search shows me this already exists. Craftsman makes door openers with smartphone apps that presumably connect to your Wi-Fi network.

Yet these are all complete no-brainers in terms of things that we're all going to want to control from our phone. Our phone is turning into the remote control for our life.

Because we are in the early days of the "Internet of Things", I guess every product vendor has to create their own app. But it's going to get really silly really fast when I have a separate app for a garage door opener, smart doorbell, smart camera, Sonos music system, my connected car, home alarm system, lighting, heating and air conditioning system and who knows what else.

Yet these are all complete no-brainers in terms of things that we're all going to want to control from our phone. Our phone is turning into the remote control for our life.

That's why I'm excited to see Google and Apple building out their respective operating systems such that product vendors can just hook into the native OS. I don't want to hunt around for the right app to open for every little thing that my phone controls for me. That's just dumb.

Apple announced HomeKit at the most recent WWDC conference a few weeks ago, and it's possible that Apple prefers to control the software end of things and leave other vendors to create the hardware that integrates into their ecosystem. Google, on the other hand, seems to be more interested in acquiring hardware vendors such as Nest and, more recently, Dropcam.

Either way it is clear both companies will be integrating personal remote control features right into the OS. More functionality with less UI clutter … that's what I'm looking forward to.

What are your thoughts? Are more connected things for the best, or too much?

Reader comments

Why I'm excited about OS-level integration to help proliferate the Internet of things

1 Comment

Sounds like a solid idea. Something like this should have been thought. I assume most people who can afford a model S has a garage door. How do you like it?

Cdly App via Nexus 5