Apple’s Siri could be the “Smart Home” IoT system to beat…

Whenever you speak of latest innovations from Apple, it’s only natural to compare to what’s happening from closest rival in the mobile space – Google.

Whilst Google looks set to be the first into the smartwatch space, and recently acquired ‘Nest’ with their range of connected devices, the smart home automation arena is still wide-open for one of the major platforms to take hold of.

A new patent from Apple for voice-recognition service Siri could give us a glimpse at a not-so-distant future where our homes are automated via a (hopefully more accurate) voice assistant which helps ease our lives and, like Nest, may reduce our energy consumption through smart sensors...

According to a Patently Apple report, the new version of Apple’s personal assistant would use information gathered from distributed sensors that a user could place throughout their home, to provide automated help to people in many circumstances.

Sensors, for example, could tell in which room occupants are and/or what rooms they are likely to be in at set times - this would allow heating to occur in only the required rooms. Have you ever had the heating switched off in the bedroom, leaving you a cold room to tuck down in when you switch off the TV in the living room? What if you could say to your iPhone: “Siri, can you start warming up the bedroom?”

You wouldn’t necessarily even have to be within your home, on the way back from work you could ask a similar request so the house is nice and toasty for you by the time you get back.

Of course this kind of functionality could be abused and Apple must tread carefully around its use-cases and protection around access. At a guess, this is why Apple has invested in the ‘TouchID’ fingerprint scanner found in the latest iPhone.

The likelihood is that Siri will be opened up to developers and equipment manufacturers to become a platform in itself which can be utilised in the same respect as ‘AirPlay’ for multimedia streaming. This would allow, say, garage door manufacturers to build-in functionality for raising the door with your voice... Or for window blind manufacturers to create devices to open and close them as needed to let more or less light out. You can see how this could be a security issue…

With Siri now in the car, it’s clear Apple is continuing a big-push to get the voice assistant readily-available in every aspect of our lives. Of course, like any patent, any system won’t necessarily come to any fruition… but we’d be surprised if it didn’t.

How would you feel about a home automation system powered by Siri?

To learn more about the Smart Home visit IoT Tech Expo Europe in London's Olympia, 2-3 December, 2015. 

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