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A truly smart home should configure itself, argues Apple patent

A truly smart home should configure itself, argues Apple patent

An Apple patent application released today describes how to set up a truly smart home.

Anyone who has ever made new smart home devices available will know that even with HomeKit it can be a fake and sometimes frustrating experience. When you add a physical smart light switch, for example, by telling the application that the light (s) it controls is not the most experience-friendly …

The patent application is dense and has the prosaic title "Tracking and authentication of objects using modular wall units". You have to get in some way before the full potential of what Apple describes becomes obvious.

The background explains the problem it sets.

Setting up a smart home can present many challenges. For example, differentiating brands and their incompatibilities with each other, different connection and communication protocols, wiring and connector types, hardware / software configurations, and overall system configuration can be daunting for ordinary consumers. Even experimental technology enthusiasts can be challenged by the non-intuitive and often frustrating process of completing a fully integrated smart home. In addition, smart home networks often need to be reconfigured, sometimes on a large scale, because old equipment is replaced with new equipment. Despite the many benefits that smart home technology brings to society, smart home systems are needed to enable lay consumers to customize, scale and reconfigure their homes in a more effortless and easier way to be used.

The patent talks a lot about how to automatically detect the presence and location of uninspired objects such as sofas and people, and it is not immediately clear why they should do so. The reasoning becomes clear later.

The system can then automatically determine and generate a floor plan for the building based on the locations, orientations and distances determined, without the need for user interaction or interaction.

Once you know the plan, you can make smart guesses as to the purpose of each new piece of smart home kit added.

For example, in response to a control switch (for example, a light switch in a modular accessory) installed on a particular host, the system can automatically configure the control switch to control the operation of a particular lighting element in the host. a certain room after determining that the control switch is in the special room and that there are no other lighting elements or control switches in that room.

In other words, if you install a smart light switch in the dining room, the system will automatically configure it to control the lights in the living room. It would simply ask for your permission to do so.

The "modular wall panel" side imagines some standard basic units, such as the power socket or the light switch housings, where you can place a variety of different hardware units. The hardware simply slides in and your smart home realizes what it is and what it should do.

It is an extremely large and wide patent and would require the cooperation of many different parties to turn the idea into reality. But as a vision of how a truly smart home should work, it is certainly a very attractive and similar one to Apple.

Patented by Apple

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