One thing that could derail Apple’s HomeKit plans

“There’s a quiet storm brewing in the home automation space,” Chris Neiger writes for The Motley Fool. “While some companies are striving to create products that will allow users to adjust the thermostat with their tablet or unlock the doors with their smartphone, Apple and Qualcomm have set their sites on creating platforms that will allow all of those devices to communicate with each other.”

“Though the home automation sector — part of the larger Internet of Things — is poised to take off, there are currently no set standards for getting third party devices to communicate with each other,” Neiger writes. “Apple and Qualcomm both want to change that, and Microsoft just joined Qualcomm’s alliance to help beat out the iMaker.”

“Apple announced its HomeKit platform — which helps third-party home automation devices work together — just last month,” Neiger writes. “But back in December an alliance was built around Qualcomm’s standard language for Internet of Things devices, called AllJoyn. This group of companies known as the AllSeen Alliance includes Haier, LG, Panasonic and other… Earlier this week Microsoft decided to join the alliance, which is the first major mobile consumer tech company to sign up. While Google’s Nest just launched its own open platform for home automation and Apple is building HomeKit, Microsoft is throwing its weight behind AllJoyn. The company’s presence in AllSeen is significant because it could point to how future Windows devices interact with home automation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Any home automation scheme that doesn’t work well with iPhone and iPad is DOA. And, the home automation solution that will work best with the devices that the vast majority of affluent homeowners use, iPhone and iPad, will be Apple’s. Period.

It would take several concurrent acts of God to derail Apple’s HomeKit plans.


        1. Since neither contention can be proven, both theism and anti-theism are matters of faith; there really is no derogatory term that can be used for one side which is not equally applicable to the other. A flat declaration that “god doesn’t exist” is a very good example of what you call “zealotry,” just from the other side.

          Sauce for the goose.

    1. M$ has only one real intention and that is to stop the smaller enterprises from merging into an enterprise that will challenge it.
      It is bad enough having Apple and Google frustrating them, the last thing they want is another party pooper claiming entry into the crowded room.
      So M$ will do what M$ is best at doing, embrace and extinguish as it did with its ‘Plays for sure’ store, Xbox and Nokia.

      Just saying………..

      1. Actually I think its more simple than that here. Microsoft has (nice one Balmy) no platform to offer and even if it did as a tiny player in the mobile world it has not an ice flakes chance in hell of succeeding. So in all honesty unless it was going to kiss the toes of Apple or google it had little choice but to support the only other game in town. Still don’t give its snowflakes much chance mind and it won’t dominate thats for sure the opposition is far too powerful and potters in that group will only cooperate on their terms and certainly won’t offer exclusivity.

  1. Since Google appears to be the biggest competitor to Apple how is MicroSoft joining the alliance a big deal? They are slowly dying and have lost a lot of their leverage. To me it seems like another “journalist” trying to create something that isn’t even a story.

  2. I’m still using X-10 for wall switches to turn on ceiling lights in our century-old farm house. It’s finicky, but it works most of the time. I’d love to replace it with something more modern and reliable, but Insteon requires modern, up-to-code wiring that I don’t have. I’ll be interested to see what develops with HomeKit for this most basic function.

    1. This reminds me some years ago dear old Billy boy went out of his way to demonstrate windows controlled home automation boasting about how it was the future. What the hell have his company done in the intervening years to actually make that happen, nothing visible at all it seems and thus jumps on another companies bandwagon.

    1. and every writer knows that their tech articles are read by more if it has apple as a subject. It is how country western songs were more successful if they mentioned Texas in the lyrics.

  3. Like it or not (and most of us here on this site don’t) Microsoft OSes and Applications run on far more home computers than Mac OS X and Apple’s Applications — even in the U.S. and the imbalance is even greater when looking outside the U.S.

    Yes, Microsoft’s best days are very likely behind them, but they are not disappearing fast and they have a HUGE installed base.

    I’ve known several home users who have made the switch from Windows to Mac OS and have spent a month or more literally swearing at the Mac before they “got it”. Some gave up and went back to Windows because it’s what they know and have used for a decade or more. Anyone who really thinks switching from a Windows based system to an Apple based system (either Mac OS or iOS) is a trivial thing to do for the average homeowner (who can barely spell “IT” and has no idea what the acronym means) is truly putting forth just wishful thinking.

    Yes, tablets (especially non Microsoft OS based tablets) are taking over from the typical home personal computer, but it’s not happening fast — no matter what Apple, Google, Samsung, or even Microsoft tries to tell us. The transition started a few years back, but it won’t be even close to a break even (as many people have ONLY a tablet/phone combination as have a personal computer too) for a a while yet. It won’t move into true dominance for a few more years.

    The bottom line is that Microsoft does have some sway in the world, even the home world. MDN trying to loudly proclaim than anything other than Apple’s implementations is irrelevant (i.e., “DOA”) is just shouting loudly enough to convince themselves.

    Do I think Microsoft’s and Qualcomm’s implementation will prevail and become the dominant set of platforms in the home automation world. No, I think that scenario is extremely unlikely. However, to consider them irrelevant is naive at best.

    Apple needs to take BOTH Google’s and Microsoft/Qualcomm’s implementations very seriously and ship something that is *much* better. Either that, or Apple could find itself in third place rather than first.

    1. Your comments about desktop Windows installed base are correct, but meaningless. The next generation of home automation does not require a desktop, or even a tablet. They will mostly be controlled by phones.

      1. As somebody somewhere said the other day can you seriously think people will go to wherever their computer is located turn it on wait for any updates to the system in the case of bloody Windows go to the appropriate app or screen and then turn on/dim the lights hoping beyond hope that it actually works.

        No as you say user base of computers even laptops is irrelevant to the situation (or to be accurate as good as) control will be different and more sophisticated than that and the iWatch will be one way that proves the point. Lets be honest since when have people demanded a windows TV remote despite it crying out for some computer intelligence in it or an ability to plug into some.

    2. Except for the odd CIOs wishing to control their washing machine from within Excel – or do a light show using powerpoint – Windows is meaningless in the context of home automation.

    3. I agree that one can’t simply assume Microsoft away …

      … however, by the same token, in recent years, having MS “On Your Side” does seem to be the Kiss of Death.

      Thus said, I’m not particularly concerned about MS’s lead in home computers as a major factor for a couple of reasons.

      First, MS’s dominance is really more on the Corporate IT side and this biases the reports of ~16% Mac marketshare in the USA by effectively underreporting the home PC market.

      Second, many consumers are (deservedly) very gun shy of “messing” with their Windows PC, for fear of it crashing (again).

      Third, MS’s track history includes stuff like the Zune….Ford Synch…etc. Consumers are going to again be gun shy.

      Pretty much what MS does have going for it is deep pockets to go spend money. They are a realistic threat from the perspective of how they can bankroll Qualcomm’s efforts.


  4. Majority of the articles I have read re HomeKit are confused and have a short sight no longer their noses.

    Homekit for iOS devices (i.e. those who can afford and have the desire to have home automation) will cause an immediate response by all devices installed in a home to be compatible and I bet even SameSuck will update their TVs to be HomeKit compatible.

    I can see 2015 CES will show that Homekit will be the primary differentiator. No hardware vendor will want to miss out on iOS device owners. Every electronic device in our home will have communication added to it at an extra cost and soon the days of non-communicating devices will be at an end.

    Homekit will evolve and and an Apple Homekit server supporting non-wifi (eg. Insteon, X10, etc…) devices to communicate with iOS devices. HomeHub (probably based on AirPort Extreme/Express/Nodes) will provide advance automation (i.e. I would not want to have to dedicate say an iPad for turning the lights on/off automatically and I would not want to be limited to the automation provided by a hardware manufacturer.

    Homekit will in 2016 turn more of the intelligent hardwares of today to just communicable devices and the intelligence will come from the HomeHub (HomeKit central) where it will process way beyond what the so called AnalCyst understand. Sending and receiving signal from devices is the bare minimum. Advance homes is all about managing devices not just turning them off/on or adjust. An advance home must anticipate, save energy, cope with accidents, handle emergencies, handle maintenance, handle warranty, handle replacement.

    WWDC 2015 or at the latest 2016 will announce connectivity between HomeKit, HealthKit, CarKit, and of course iCloud. This will allow development more advance automation so devices can understand users need from say iCloud (advices, watch) into their home, into their car, and of course all to improve their health and allowing the individuals to be more effective at living their lives.

  5. Looking at the players involved it’ll be shit. None of those companies understand users and HomeKit for sure isn’t aimed at corporate market where they’d bribe a few CIOs and sucker them in.

  6. No home automation product that is primarily based on a PC will ever take off and be the standard. It MUST be mobile-device based, and that automatically rules out Microsoft from significant influence because no one has a Windows Phone.

    1. and of course half of those that do will find their phone wouldn’t work with their platform anyway, no doubt as androids will find too. Apple has a massive advantage having full control over so much more of their proposed platform.

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