Monday, October 27, 2014

Shut up and take my money? Homekit hopes

I remember my smart phone experience before iPhone.  I had a Palm Treo.  I was able to do many things I do on my iPhone:

  • Watch movies
  • Listen to music
  • Download useful apps from the internet
  • Synchronize my contacts, read email, todo list(s)
I wanted to do all of these things.  However, they were all hard.  Watching movies caused it to crash, and there was the tiny screen, and even with an SD card, there was not room for much.  Listening to music?  There was a similar set of problems.  Music playlists were a nightmare.  I was thrilled to download applications, but it was not centralized and it was hard.  The rest mostly required a computer at times, at best.  The iPhone made all of these things vastly better, and really is a computer in my pocket.

The area of home automation, frankly, sucks.  Nest was a breath of fresh air in the space.  I was dreaming of a Nest home irrigation management system like  I live in California and saving water while keeping my plants from dying is an attractive idea.  What all could be in home automation?
  • Door locks - closest match:
  • Irrigation management - closest match:
  • Lighting management - one option: Phillips Hue
  • Power - one option: WeMo Home Automation
  • Sensors and alarms:
    • Moisture sensors - closest match:
  • Home security
    • Cameras
    • Door/window open/close/lock management
    • Window covering management
    • Lights management
    • Sound management (maybe should make some sounds if I am away?)
Here is a narration of what I would love in terms of smart home management:
1) Temperature management in the house would take into account different household members having preferences for different temperatures in different locations, even in a small-ish house.
2) All of the options I have, I therefore want the system to have:
  • Know about the sun (or lack of sun), and its effect on temperature.
  • Know about rain and its effect on temperature, and the desirability of using open windows.
  • Know where people are and will likely go in the house.
  • Know how secure I need the house to be at a given time.
  • Have awareness of motion outside the home to decide how much to have windows open.  Be aware of squirrels/cats/racoons or other animals/pests and do not let them in!
  • Open/close windows to heat/cool.
  • Open/close window coverings to heat/cool.
  • Adjust vents/air flow to cool/heat only specific locations.
  • Use air flow to bring cool/hot air from another place in the house to affect where people actually are.  This can be with windows, and can be with the furnace fan.

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