Apple has filed a patent for a system that could automatically detect smart home devices and configure them for the room they are in.
Configuring devices to be fully integrated in a smart home can be challenging for a variety of reasons, such as the use of different types of wireless protocols and incompatible devices. Even tech-savvy homeowners can find configuring a smart home frustrating, so Apple is seeking to make this system easier and more user-friendly.
In theory, Apple’s system could enable you to install a light switch into one of your rooms, which is then immediately displayed in the Home app on your iPhone. Once this is identified, you can control the light switch specific to that room.
The system can also detect the presence of inanimate objects such as chairs and sofas. This may not seem immediately useful, but it’s all part of determining and auto-generating a floor plan for your home which, once established, enables intelligent guesses to be made about the purpose of each piece of smart home tech added.
A ‘modular wall panel’ would be used to slot a variety of different hardware units, which the smart home then figures out how to respond to. It’s not completely clear what this panel is, but it’s a safe guess it would be some version of a standard base unit such as a power socket.
When Will This be Released?
Apple has just filed the patent, and there’s no timeframe on whether this system will be implemented in an Apple product. But it’s an exciting next step for smart home tech which could make life much easier for self builders designing a smart home.
It should be noted too that similar systems already exist. Intellthings offer sensors (RoomMe) that connect to a user’s smartphone allowing it to sense when a person’s phone enters the room, activating smart home devices. And some Roomba vacuums by iRobot can make a map of your home.
Smart Home Tech Benefits
Installing smart home tech can help you save energy, therefore reducing heat bills, as well as increase comfort and convenience, such as enabling complete control over your home through a mobile app. Smart home tech can also increase your home’s security, through high-definition cameras and smart doorbells.
A truly smart home begins with the design stage and making sure you have a wired (and wireless) infrastructure to support the technology you hope to add.