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How Does Apple HomeKit Work?

homekit

We are truly living in the age of technology, where innovations are being made across all sectors, and products are becoming more readily available to the mainstream. Finally, all of the best gadgets from our favorite films are coming to fruition. Apple’s new HomeKit, for example, makes Disney channel’s Smart House a virtual reality. As a one-stop-app for home security and accessibility, Apple’s HomeKit allows you to assemble all of your smart devices and monitor them virtually anywhere and anytime.

Think of the Apple HomeKit as the hive mind for all of the smart devices, or worker bees, you have hooked up around your home, from lighting to thermostats to motion detectors. This system lives inside the free Apple Home app and Siri voice commands

Those with iOS 10 or later can get acquainted with the app over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. To control your devices remotely at, say, the office, however, you will need EITHER:

  • A third or fourth generation Apple TV, running tvOS 9 or later OR
  • an iPad running iOS 10.

Not to put an end to the list of stipulations, it is also required that consumers who wish to share access to control their Apple HomeKit must have:

  • a fourth generation Apple TV with tvOS OR
  • an iPad running iOS 10.

So, despite the app being free, you can expect to dole out a hefty amount of money, depending on what you already own and what you must purchase to meet the system’s requirements. As with any technology in its infancy, there are limitations to what devices are compatible. The HomeKit must be compatible with the smart devices it is meant to coral. Brands like ecobee are programmed to jive with multiple smart systems, including HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. Because it is not the only option for consumers, Apple’s HomeKit must be able to stand out from the competition.

Set-up is made to be beginner friendly, with features such as scan-able accessory codes. However, classifying accessories creating a homepage can be confusing. There are functions, groups and names necessary for Siri to correlate your commands to location, product, and action.

Then there are zones that are a compilation of multiple rooms, such as the downstairs zone consists of a bathroom, living room and kitchen, which are each listed as individual rooms. Once you have set up all of your phrasing and terminology for Siri to recognize, and your app to list, you can begin to reap the rewards. Forgot to lock the front door on your way to work? Simply speak into your iOS device remotely or tap the app to ease your mind. Besides the practicality of security features, HomeKit allows you to embrace your inner wizard and control your surroundings like you’ve graduated from Hogwarts!

Technology has certainly come a long way in such a short amount of time. For instance, in 1954 a Chevrolet was available for about the same price as a new, clunky, and imperfect advancement known as colored television. It wasn’t until upgrades were made and production became more streamlined that prices were able to drop and become a fixture in American households across the country.

We don’t know where smart technology will take us from here, or whether systems such as HomeKit will become as ingrained in the average household as the television, but when innovation is encouraged, we all benefit.

Key Finders: What Are They?

Back in the day I remember my aunt showing me her new key finder. We attached it to her keys and hid it while we weren’t looking. Then we had to until we heard beeping. That stupid thing was always beeping though and eventually went missing from her keys. No one could find it. My aunt must not have been very good with her keys because she also owned one that didn’t require you to whistle (or clap) and instead used a remote control. Fairly certain she wasn’t very good at not losing remotes though, and it too found its way into the bin. With distractions of life, I can now understand the appeal my aunt had for these gizmos and it seems now they are a little smarter. Some will let you use your smart phone to find the tags you’ve attached to whatever you lost.  Some can track where you last were and as I am constantly retracing my steps which sounded like a massive time-saver for me. I went researched best sellers on Amazon.com, the Tile (Gen2) which is one that can tell you were your tile last was has sold over 7900 units and holds a 4 star rating.

Features

  1. It comes with an app,
  2. It locates by sound, app or last known location and a special ‘lost’ feature lets you create your own search party with other Tile users,
  3. If I can’t find my phone and I can find a Tile, I can use the Tile to find my phone.

The Good

  1. I attached it to my cat’s collar, she never goes far but is going deaf and I found her one night way more easily with the Tile than waiting up for her to come in for the night,
  2. Connectivity is fairly solid,
  3. Easy to attach or put into something with a pocket,
  4. I gave one to my aunt and she could either use my app or her own!

The Bad

  1. 1 year battery then you buy a new one,
  2. I have to run Bluetooth all the time and leave the app running for location services to work.
  3. 100 feet is not that far, unless you are keen to have strangers looking for your Tile it just happens it’s your wallet, then if it’s stolen, it’s gone.

So while it’s not the best thing since sliced bread, I do think it’s a pretty good improvement from having to whistle.

The Role of Voice Artificial Intelligence in the Home

Voice artificial intelligence in the home is a young concept. But it’s quickly gaining ground in the hearts and minds of people. In the few years since the conception of voice AI, leading technology companies, and even start-ups have already made their mark. The future seems bright. Despite the present challenges in fully implementing such systems, it appears the hard work is already behind us with systems such as Amazon Echo capable of conversing with a human being. It is truly incredible that an app can hear and interpret human speech and give a relevant response albeit still incapable of accurately mimicking human speech. The progress made is truly astounding.

If there is one thing voice artificial intelligence has excelled in doing, it is making life easier around the home. All the little things around your home that you don’t necessarily feel like waking up from the couch to do or are too busy to worry about at that particular moment, you can have the system do. This system consists of electronic items and appliances within your home and is referred to as the internet of things. By interconnecting electrical devices within the household and having a central artificial intelligence which responds to your speech commands, the applications are endless.

Maybe the light switch seems too far away, or you don’t feel like doing a sweep of your home to lock the doors and windows, or you just got in bed and remembered you left a light on; it’s as easy as saying it and it just gets done. Like some virtual butler in touch with the information superhighway, voice artificial intelligence in the home could revolutionize the way we live. Although such systems are not ready for full-scale application and seamless integration within the existing ecosystem, the progress made is irrefutable. It’s hard to imagine that before Google, the only way you could get information was by asking somebody or reading a newspaper or a book in the library.

Now, comically, it may soon come to pass that all you need to do to obtain some information is ask and your home AI will respond with the most accurate piece of information relevant to your query, available on the internet. I am especially intrigued with the thought that you could have certain specific individuals such as your children walking around with smartwatches linked to your home system with GPS. All you’d have to do is ask where a person is, by name no less, and the system will simply tell you. It seems like a dream even talking about it, but that is exactly where we are headed.

The possibilities are endless with this type of technology. But I find it more fitting to seek its applications in helping those who need it most and the people who stand to gain the most from the employment of voice artificial intelligence in the home. Physically disabled individuals would find that various aspects of day to day living which may have proven tedious or even difficult in the past now easier to cope with.

Besides, businesses could take advantage of this technology as a source of reliable information and a range of services while eliminating the need for various personnel. Although it may present an advantage to different businesses, this technology may also impact negatively on the rate of employment.