The Internet of things: HomeKit
Generally speaking, the Internet of Things refers to the networked interconnection of everyday objects, which are often equipped with ubiquitous intelligence. The Internet of Things will increase the ubiquity of the Internet by integrating every object for interaction via embedded systems, which leads to a highly distributed network of devices communicating with human beings as well as other devices. Thanks to rapid advances in underlying technologies, Internet of Things is opening tremendous opportunities for a large number of novel applications that promise to improve the quality of our lives (Xia et al, 2012). Analysts at Gartner (2015) have forecasted that by the end of 2015 almost 5 billion ‘things’ are connected to the Internet. By the end of 2025 they expect that 25 billion ‘things’ will be connected to the Internet.
Companies are using and integrating the Internet of Things to create new customer experiences and attract more customers. One might argue that the Internet of Things is the future for companies nowadays.
Apple has recently released HomeKit. This is a framework for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home. With this you can transform your home to a so-called ‘smart home’ or ‘connected home’. With the HomeKit application users can serve almost everything in their house, from the lighting to the locks to the heating system, it can all be arranged with one application.
HomeKit can be integrated by developers in (existing) applications and products. It does not matter who fabricated the domestic products, if the HomeKit software is integrated, they can all communicate with the HomeKit app. By doing this Apple resolves a huge practical problem. Before HomeKit, every single smart ‘thing’ communicated with it’s own application, which made it almost impossible to work together with other ‘things’.
Users can even use HomeKit with the help of Siri. They simply have to give spoken instructions to Siri and Siri will make sure that the lights will dim, or that the heating goes up. It is even possible to say what you are up to, and these smart devices instantly know what kind of settings you prefer. For example, if you say the words: “I am going to bed”, Siri will make sure that all the lights are off, the door is locked, and the heating is set lower.
The main benefit of HomeKit is that it provides one interface that you can use to serve every smart device in your home and even connect the different smart devices from different developers with each other. Until the launch of HomeKit this was not possible. I am very curious to see how this will develop even further due to the fact that Apple is already working together with the world’s largest producers of smart devices.
Xia, F., Yang, L. T., Wang, L., & Vinel, A. (2012). Internet of things. International Journal of Communication Systems, 25(9), 1101.