For Apple , the home of the future will also be “intelligent”, but might not be intuitive enough. The object of the patent just published by the USPTO, “Object tracking and authentication using modular wall unit” (namely, tracking and authentication of objects through the use of modular units from the wall), is about precisely this problem. Not surprisingly, the giant of Cupertino is pushing, along with Amazon, Google and other major players in the field of home automation for the creation of a common standard.
The description of the patent focuses not so much on the difficulties of managing a smart home, but on those relating to the configuration: different devices of different brands, each with their own incompatibilities, different protocols for connection and communication, cables and connectors, assorted, procedures, hardware and software installation. In short, create a home system that is interconnected, in the future, it seems, will be the internet of things, can prove to be a complex undertaking, not within the reach of all, and still be too long – regardless of the personal skills.
How many of us still have the relative who asks us to configurargli the WiFi router? Here, multiply this for twenty bulbs, two smart TVS, a refrigerator, and so on.
And Apple, with its HomePod at the moment is the tail in the market of the smart speaker home, as he is going to improve the situation?
What Cupertino is reportedly studying a system capable of automatically detect the presence of a smart device, to understand the spatial placement and re-authenticate immediately for use. In short, Apple would like to extend that experience without the friction that is inherent in the interaction between the devices in its ecosystem, the owner of the whole house.
At that point, immediately after you have screwed a light bulb smart, it would be possible to display it inside the app’s Home on the iPhone. And here come into play “unit from the wall modular” mentioned in the patent, that once installed in various points of the house are able to detect the position of inanimate objects, people, and draw a floor plan of the buildings without the user having to intervene in an active way.
There is a bit of iPhone in this project: in fact, all of this would be possible thanks to those sensors ToF to obtain useful depth data, which according to Kuo, we’ll see on the next generation of the iPhone, and the technology of the signal ultra-wideband UWB that allows devices to have a more precise knowledge of its position in space, and that has already been implemented on the iPhone 11, and on the brothers more 11 Pro and Pro Max.
A solution that for certain aspects is reminiscent of the one based on WiFi mesh proposed by “eero” on Amazon (in Italy since last year), or the similar but more oriented to the health and safety of the domestic presented the Wellness Pod Lynksis.
Once you have collected data on the environment, the system can (also, interfacing with the smartphone) to develop predictions of intelligent devices in the smart home and their functions and routines. These modular units will be of different types, and basically if installed in a room will automatically recognize the bulb, and smart, and place it in the house, and maybe put it in relation with other lighting systems that are active in that environment, or vice versa, to understand that it is the only source of electricity accessible.
In short, the struggle for the conquest of the domestic space, which is intended to be populated by smart devices and connected, is open and Apple want to take part as a protagonist, as already demonstrated recently at CES 2020 Las Vegas