Domotics, or home-automation in plain English, is an upcoming trend all over the world which means that almost everything in your house will be automated. From switching on the lights, to controlling the heat and even checking the contents of your fridge.
The main problem now for this, lies in setting up a general platform on which all of these things can communicate.
Your Samsung washing machine, your Philips Lights and your Nest thermostate all have different protocols which they use to communicate with your device.
In the worst case this means that for each appliance in your house you’ll need a separate app, which means that you’ll have a ton of apps on your phone, just to control your house.
On the other hand, we can see that the two biggest players in the smartphone market are working on platforms to bring these all together into one app.
First, Google’s Android. In 2011 they showcased Android@home at their developers conference. And since then it’s been silent. Some hoped that it would revive when Google bought Nest, but still we haven’t heard anything from them…
The other big one, Apple, on the other hand, has shown to be much further in this. Together with iOS8, Apple announced Homekit, their platform for domotics. Although it’s still in its early phases, Apple does have the first-mover advantage.
Still, the problem remains that as a ‘hardware’ designer, you’ll have to implement something into your hardware to make it talk to the platform. And with two platforms, this isn’t such a big problem, but when more arise it does (if you want your smart hardware to talk to the most common used platforms). So I do hope that Apple with start annoying Google, by bringing HomeKit as an Android-app.
In this way they can get more advantage of the network effects, and so get this sector flowing by helping hardware designers with one standardized platform.
For the market, on the other hand, it would be better if Android would come out with their system, so developers get a choice for platforms to develop for. And most of all, it will make sure that the prices for licenses will get down (or at least not up).
So to conclude, much lies ahead, and the future will tell what comes next. All we can hope, is that we will have a choice in platforms and that they come quickly, so the domotics revolution can take off.