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Home automation, a category more broadly referred to as the “internet of things,” is almost surely going to be a large and growing market in the coming years. And while Apple’s recently announced entry is the forthcoming HomeKit platform, Google has yet to announce anything exactly equivalent. At I/O 2014, however, Google did announce its plan for Nest, and shed much more light on its Android Wear smartwatch operating system.

Today, an Android developer demoed a system that he already has working which brings home automation to Android Wear. While HomeKit intends to give developers an easy way to connect their apps to partnering hardware manufacturers, Google’s system (or lack thereof) is much more open-ended. In this example, hardware from DroidCK paired with apps that are already in the Play Store work almost seamlessly with an out-of-the-box Samsung Gear Live smartwatch, taking what was already an Android-powered home automation system and extending it to a wearable with little additional work.

The Android Wear device can control devices through Google Now commands as well as on-screen buttons:

Home automation systems aren’t exactly new, and products like Philips Hue lightbulbs and the Nest thermostat have been controllable via our smartphones for quite some time. What we’re only just recently seeing with smartwatches like the Pebble and now Android Wear devices, is this concept becoming much more feasible and readily accessed when it’s needed. Pulling our your phone, unlocking it, and navigating to an app to turn off your lights may actually be less convenient than manually hitting a wall switch a few feet away. But being able to say “Ok Google, turn off the lamp” might be a completely different story.

Google showed us this in an Android Wear promotional video earlier this year:

The rumored Apple iWatch, which is seemingly already being tested by pro athletes, is rumored to have a number of sensors for monitoring health information, and that information will almost surely tie in with HealthKit. But the other big “Kit” that Apple announced at WWDC, HomeKit, seems to also fittingly tie in with a wearable wrist device. That device being an iWatch would mean that the experience we see announced later this year may not be too far off from what we see in the video above.

Comparable to Google’s plan for its Nest brand, Apple just might be building its own “mainstream” smarthome hardware, which would in theory tie the system together from end to end and generally give Apple control over the entire experience. While there’s no way of knowing what specific kind of hardware Apple is working on, lightbulbs, thermostats, and smoke detectors are definitely some of the most obvious candidates. In line with Apple’s no-fragmentation philosophy, all of these Apple-made devices controlled with an Apple-made iWatch would, in theory, be a great solution for home automation.

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8 Responses to “Android Wear gives us a glimpse at what home automation with an iWatch should look like”

  1. Looks great until someone writes a virus that turns everything off every 5 minutes lmao

  2. “The Internet of Things” and manually controlling something from your watch or smart phone is the exact polar opposite of home automation. Most people don’t get home automation, including those releasing products like the Hue bulbs. Most consumers need to be shown a deeply integrated system before they can even begin to appreciate what it could do for them. There are many professionals installing amazing systems every day, however for any of this to reach critical mass and typical consumer adoption, it’s going to take something a lot more simple and a lot lower priced than the great custom systems being put in place today. It’s also going to take a lot more than a Next and a few lightbulbs. That’s all party tricks with 15 second appeal, not home automation. If it necessitates manual intervention, if it necessitates controlling one device at a time, if it necessitated interacting with multiple applications, it’s not automation.

  3. thethirdshoe says:

    Good One…
    It’s like saying “Android Phones give us a glimpse at what smart phones should look like, when the iPhone comes out.”
    Such a kidder…

  4. Really? Talking to Google to switch the lights on seems kind of douchey to me.

    Hope Apple comes up with something better. I’m hoping for some deep iBeacons integration and situation awareness in home automation so your watch, phone or whatever knows which devices are available around you and ready to be controlled. And it should anticipate what you are about to do. Like switching lights on automatically when it is dark and you enter the room and obviously switch it of once you leave for energy saving reasons…

  5. j0hnf23 says:

    wow, these mockups are just terrible. everybody thinks that the “iWatch” will run a full iOS 7 or iOS 8. I don’t believe that this will be true.

  6. Terry Dio says:

    I could NOT see ever wearing that. I seldom wear any watch now and something that fugly and obtrusive is totally out of the question

  7. Len Williams says:

    It would drive me crazy to have to repeat “OK Google…” each time I wanted it to do something for me. It’s more like a marketing plan for how many people they can get to say Google’s name per hour. Smart home automation to me would involve a LOT more than just telling various pieces of equipment to turn on and off. A well designed home automation system should allow you to set up a list of variables that actually “automate” your daily activities. For example, the system should be able to sense by your speed and route that you’re coming back from a bicycle ride, and as you approach the garage it should know to open the door automatically, which you can easy override by saying “cancel” if you don’t want it.

    Another example: Each morning you may have a daily routine Monday to Friday of 1) Checking your stocks, 2) visiting a few specific web sites for the latest information, 3) turning on the TV to a news channel and 4) powering on your coffee at a certain time. A home automation system worth its socks should allow you to easily program these actions in as your standard “weekday morning” routine, and should “automatically” do them for you without asking, providing notification of what actions are taking place. You should be able to say “cancel coffee” if you don’t want it on a particular morning. It should also ask you before you go to bed if you haven’t approached or set up the coffee pot for the morning “no coffee tomorrow?”, and this would be based on your previously set up list of actions. With iBeacon technology, it would know if the coffee pot isn’t set up because you haven’t been near it.

    For those in northern latitudes during the winter, the system should automatically turn the temperature down to a preset level, and when you come within a mile of home, should raise the temperature automatically in preparation for your arrival. The key point is that it should be able to be predictive of what you want before you ask for it, and it should allow for routines to be set up and work together. For example: “Turn off all lights except for the front porch and kitchen lights when I leave the house” and “turn off lights when I leave the room”. These should be spoken commands that set up automation routines that automatically link themselves together and are triggered by your location and the time of day, and they should be easily canceled and/or altered by voice command. It would be a combination of Siri voice input and iBeacon technology.

    What is shown in the videos on this page isn’t what I’d call innovation or automation. It’s just remote voice activation, which is fine but relatively low-tech, whereas true automation would allow a proper home system to predictively carry out a series of common actions because it detects your presence and is aware of the actions you usually take each day at certain times, in routines that you can set up: “Open the garage door when I get within 10 feet when I’m riding my bicycle” could be an example of one part of a routine you could set up. iBeacon would be able to detect by your speed and route that you’re not walking, and that you’re coming from an outside location rather than simply coming out of the house to take the trash out.