Connected Homes

By: Chad Vavra, Isobar Director of Experience Strategy and Design

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The next time we leave our homes for four days and come to CES, we may be able know exactly what’s going on back there. The connected home landscape has grown exponentially. You won’t believe how many sensors there are. And while there are still challenges, we’re on the cusp of radical change.
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New sensors range from personal weather stations that monitor the quality of the air in your home to camera-enabled doorbells and locks.

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There are sensor systems that can connect to a central hub – but almost all of them are closed and work only with sensors made by the same company. Want a smart light from WiMo and a thermostat from Ecobee? Each company will tell you to download its app and control the sensor separately. (Right now, companies are disinclined to work together as they battle for supremacy in the home.)

With the amount of sensors here and on the way, it will get unmanageable quickly. But there’s hope.

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What’s next?

If you’re building a connected home right now, you still have to sign up for an account with each sensor company to get the data to travel through the cloud.  Don’t expect companies to give their control up soon.

Don’t be surprised if Google and Apple start managing those accounts for the companies.  And remember, both Thread and Homekit are managing the mesh network, not the customer’s user interface.  That means we’re still relying on app creation.  IFTTT already does this with companies who provide API access. It could be a big threat to them, or maybe they’ll be the ones to design for the user.

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