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Apple, Google will kickstart smart home revolution

Monday, November 10th 2014 by Ellen Branagh

Apple's HomeKit programming system will do for the smart home industry what AirPlay did for the audio market, the creator of an energy saving device has claimed.

Stefan Grosjean, CEO of Smappee, which monitors energy consumption of individual home appliances to help people save money, said names like Apple and Google would “unlock the potential” of the smart home market.

Apple’s HomeKit platform will link smart home devices, allowing people to control things like their locks, lights, cameras, thermostats, plugs and switches.

AirPlay streams music and video to Apple AirPlay-enabled devices in the home.

Speaking to Cable.co.uk about the future of the connected home, Mr Grosjean said: “The home automation systems that exist today are for the big villas, the big houses.

“It’s expensive. I have one myself, and when I see the capability and complexity it has, the KNX (a network standard for intelligent buildings) and the things of this world, when many brands work on it.

“I believe standards pushed by either Google or Apple which is now happening with HomeKit will be like AirPlay.

“Three or four years ago, old speakers, you had to have the speakers and the amplifier from the manufacturer. You couldn’t stream.

“Now speakers just come in with Bluetooth and AirPlay.

“I think HomeKit will be like for AirPlay in the audio industry, HomeKit will be that protocol.

“That is an issue today, KNX, the industry protects it, Zigbee (another standard) fights for it in the US and the UK. It’s all standards.

“The appliances, like the Whirlpools and the Philips and the machines, the white goods, don’t come with the intelligence because they don’t know what protocol they should use.

“And I believe that with the push of the internet of things and big big companies that now want to go into that that this will unlock the potential and exponentially change it.

“That’s why with Smappee we want to be playing a central role.”

Mr Grosjean said smart home technology would change households beyond recognition.

He said: “I even tell electricians, ’guys you have to look at this internet of things, that world is happening’.

“Home control will come. You won’t have switches anymore on the wall, you won’t have to fit them anymore.”

Giving lights being controlled wirelessly and automatically as an example, he added: “Electricians, for instance will have to understand this move and become consultants.

“This is the direction it will go, it will massively change.”

Richard Morgan, business development manager at Smappee, said homes still have a long way to go compared to other parts of our lives.

He said: “If you think of your home, essentially, what has evolved from a technological point of view in your home in the last 100 years?

“You’re still switching lights on and off with a switch, your fridge still sits there maintaining a temperature, whereas everything else has evolved at such a pace.

“When you buy new cars they switch off at traffic lights, they start up at traffic lights. Everything else has evolved.

“Smartphones and mobile phones. Everything has evolved apart from the home and everything within it is still literally the same as it was 100 years ago.

“So the potential of what a home is – an energy animal if you like – is huge because there’s so much in there and it’s still the same as it was when my father was my age.”

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