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The Next Big Thing
How the connected home could finally come togetherBrian Cooley looks at the connected home and what tech developers will need to do to make it a reality.
[MUSIC] Let's bring connected home technology home and do so in one place. Things like lights and door locks, webcams, garage doors, and thermostats. Well, we thought we could bring some rationality to this space. Now one of the things I found most interesting from Apple's recent Developers Conference was their announcement of HomeKit. It's one of the least developed at this point, but it has amazing potential. CNET began reviewing connected home technology Summer of 2013. And one of the first things you notice is how many vendors there are. Of devices that have their own apps, their own logic, their own behavior, and their own quality of interface. It can be a little chaotic. We need a place for all of them to come together as simply as the home itself pretends to be. Products like Revolve or the Staples Connect Home Hub are a middle layer of hardware and software. That seek to broker the relationship between your phone or tablet and the devices that now control your home. Apple's Home Kit would seem to give us a place to get closer to our connected home devices in a more simple, transparent manner. Giving developers a single place to tie back to where they know they'll find enormous critical mass. And where they can get together with some degree of interconnection. So that I'm not handling every single device in my home discreetly, but having some degree of sorta macro relationship. Where one behavior on my part can command several devices to do what I need. For example, if I pull out of the driveway in my car, my phone can sense that geolocation change. And perhaps, tell lights, thermostat and security system to go into the right mode for an empty house. Now, Apple has a well-known elegance with how they pull these kinds of things together. And of course, an extremely loyal and enormous developer base. On the other hand Apple also has a way of deciding what will and won't be possible within their universe. And doing it in sometimes a conservative fashion. We also need a very clear analog from the Android camp to answer Home Kit. Or a huge number of users will be left out of this home simplification revolution. Also it's interesting how many of Apple's carrier partners are also in the business of selling you smart home devices. And the connection and app software to operate them elegantly. That puts those two at odds, but with a partner they can't afford to lose, Apple. In sum, I would watch for developers who understand that tight integration down at the core of the OS is a smart place for home control. The home is a simple place. We want it to get better, but we don't want it to get more complicated. There's very little tolerance for that. Making this kinda home control as core to an operating system on a mobile device as is messaging or decoding web content. Seems the smart path to me. [MUSIC]