Relevant to me as I'm in the rough-in phase of a whole-home remodel project. I struggled a lot with what level of control to use, before settling on a minimal Lutron system for some areas of the house, comfortable in the knowledge that if I get tired of the Lutron interface, I can create my own & poke it over the network. I understand most people aren't interested in this level of control, but they might be concerned when their interface becomes dated in 5 years and can't be replaced due to an incompatibility with the hard-wired infrastructure. I see this as a downside of closed systems like Control4.
I don't disagree that it would be a hassle to replace all of my switches and stuff if I wanted to go to a different system. And I'd prefer there be a standard around this stuff. But using the term "hard-wired" think gives the impression that it's much more involved than it really is.
I hate to do this, because HN strongly prefers original sources. Of course, people sometimes post a Google search url that one can click through to read the OP. But we can't make that the official URL for the post.
If anyone has a suggestion to solve this problem, please let us know.
Maybe that rule doesn't need to be followed. Maybe it's just a common pattern sites follow, and it can be tweaked.
There could be official metadata URLs such as cache links or non-paywall links, that appear alongside the main links.
Certainly you've thought of this and some of the possible dangers of doing it: For instance, there could be blowback from sites if they think you are systematically circumventing their attempts to charge for content.
But perhaps some mild flavor of it could be done, to address a subset of the use cases. For instance, content could be cached privately by HN, with the cache link hidden at first. Then if the content became unavailable, depending on the reason for that unavailability, HN could reveal the cache link or not, based on HN policy about which reasons for content unavailability are cases where it is desirable to provide a cache link.
When I tried to copy and paste part of the article, it worked, but I then saw the following (sigh):
> High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1bef71b8-e433-11e3-a73a-00144feabd...
I actually submitted that TC link a few minutes after the FT one was submitted. Now that the link on this has been changed to match the one I submitted what happens to my submission? (I don't have a problem with this just curious as to how the system works as identical links can't be submitted usually).
Another interesting side effect of this will be how it effects Apple's 'coolness'. The only people willing to spend the money on home automation tech are those who own homes or who don't plan on moving any time soon - i.e. not young people.
> The only people willing to spend the money on home automation
> tech are those who own homes or who don't plan on moving any
> time soon - i.e. not young people.
Sure anything that requires a permanent installation is less likely to
be installed by anyone but the home owner, but can't you automate
a lot of things in your home without permanently installing anything?
and here are others:
My garden however is a complex mess that could benefit from automation.
Wish I had the skillset or contacts to create a wirelessly controlled irrigation timer. Track watering history, pause schedules if rain is forecast, etc.
I even wondered if you could recharge a system like this by a little low-friction turbine after the valve? And solar as a back-up?
For example, your oven publishes a simple API via BLE which the iControl software understands and translates into a nice remote control UI. From there, you can get/set the oven temperature, set timers etc. There's also a possibility that anyone could write an 'oven' app, which can then control any oven. That way, it's up to third-party software how smart or automated your home becomes.
There's also a possibility that anyone could write an 'oven' app, which can then control any oven. That way, it's up to third-party software how smart or automated your home becomes.
I dunno, that doesn't really sound like Apple to me.
Firstly, they cannot (or will not) make their devices multi-user, which is a problem in the home environment (eg an Apple TV that's tied to only my account - and already exposes more info than I'd like).
Secondly, Apple has a habit of abandoning things and shutting them down when it doesn't suit them. This is mostly ok for some services but would be disastrous for me as a user if I've put bought into the system.
Finally, Apple doesn't play nice with others. Perhaps they've learned to be better since they've had to interface more due to the App Store but for the most part I don't see them caring about an ecosystem other than their own.
That is a valid and interesting contrast. Google, for openness and transparency; Apple, for control and privacy.
That is not the strongest of arguments; every company does that (google reader, HP and PCs (for a while), IBM and x86 servers, etc). I think your worry is more that they won't provide an open specification and won't ever sell their business so that, if they leave the market, you can't shop elsewhere.
I am not sure making it multiuser is really needed in the home automation case. If it all links back to the touchID on the phone it will meet all requirements of user separation.
Do you think they'll support a thermostat for 30 years?
So, it'd be you know, like a DSLR is not for life, whereas a film camera was.
In exchange, you'd get innovation faster, and they'd have to keep you occupied with cool new stuff. Don't know how much you can add to a thermostat, but this kind of "market share" could lead to "the house of tomorrow" kind of future in 10-20 years (like mobile phones have completely changed personal communications in the past 20 years).
Perhaps ironically, Google is the one doing automation with a first party (Nest), and Apple seems to be working with others.
Yes, I know some home automation devices have the server built into every device (every plug, every camera, every light is a standalone "thing" in the Internet of Things), but this adds significantly to the cost. On the other hand, with some good software, it makes controlling everything without a central hub possible.
In terms of dedicated hardware, what you are describing sounds a lot like an airport express/extreme wifi base station.
However, there is another side to this, and that is monitoring.
Home monitoring technology opens up a much larger group of interested consumers for this.
My point is we shouldn't just be talking about automation here. Automation is only part of the story. Monitoring may be a much bigger part.
Apple doesn't innovate by being first, they innovate by being best.
Bring it on.
The Nest Thermostat, for instance is about energy savings and not having to think too much about the thermostat. Lockitron about the convenience about never having to worry about keys again...
Saying this makes me feel old or something, but I just don't get it?
I had a friend with a cottage and they had a system hooked up to their AC. When they were leaving home to drive to the cottage, they would call the cottage phone number, the AC system would intercept the call and after a few buttons later (ex #485*) the AC would be up and running. By they time they arrived, the cottage was a cool 19C.
Home automation provides convenience (not having to drive all the way home to close the garage you accidentally left open), integration (being able to control and monitor your lighting, HVAC, sound, video, pool/spa, landscaping fountains/lights, etc. from a single remote with a single UI), and customization (pre-programmed actions, timed sequences, and unique designs that make a house uniquely suited to its occupants) that are not otherwise available.
Edit to add: there are also accessibility benefits to automation.
Most people won't want to monitor their lighting, HVAC, sound, video, pool/spa, landscaping fountains/lights, etc.
* Never coming home to a dark house (minimal lights automatically come on at sunset, and tapping one button immediately inside the entry door turns on several lights in the area you're walking in to).
* Watching a movie in complete darkness, but hitting 'pause' and having the necessary lights to get to the bathroom or kitchen come on (at a dim level so you're not suddenly blinded).
* Having "believable" automated operation of lights and other things when we're on vacation, giving a better appearance of someone being home.
* Being able to adjust the temperature when we're not home (helpful when we've been gone a while and want the house pre-warmed/cooled).
This certainly ALL falls into the luxury category, but it's quite nice. I don't think the issue in this market is that people who aren't geeks wouldn't enjoy the benefits. It's a combination of a lack of proper marketing, high cost, and the interfaces for these things not being where they need to be for average users. Maybe Apple can address at least some of those factors.
Garden automation (lighting, irrigation and monitoring).
Better window treatments like controlled awnings and blinds or window opacity in the future.
I've gotten much use out of a simple remote control dimmer  in the living room, but that's not automation, and most people would probably consider even something that simple as an unnecessary luxury, much less want whole-home automation.
The real power is that every item can be improved a little with automation. Your dryer starts an hour before you wake up so that your clothes are dry, your underwear is warm and toasty to face that cold winter's day. You can check from the supermarket if there was anything you don't have at home for the cake you're baking. The lights slowly dim to get your brain thinking it's ready for bed. Your lights change colour to make the room feel warmer or colder. The blinds slowly open just before you're supposed to wake up so that you can be woken by light rather than an alarm clock. Your oven begins cooking the roast to work around your schedule. Stopping the microwave from continuing to nuke the popcorn from the other room so you can wait for it to cool without getting up.
None of these are particularly brilliant and maybe you would look at it and ask why spend an extra thousand on a fridge for this? An extra 50 a light-bulb... A few thousand for installation of a base system just to have the privilege. Another 500 for motors for blinds. And each of those is just for one nice hardly noticeable difference in your day.
Maybe the cost for the value doesn't make sense. It won't for a lot of people. Having said that it seems to me that what we're talking about here is automating some of the duties of a butler/body servant type job, at a lower cost than employing one for something that will be in place longer.
I'll also add some good old anecdotal stuff at the end about some of the silly little contraptions I've found in my apartment in Japan and the difference they make. I've got an automatic bath tub push a button and it fills to an appropriate level at a temperature you set. It seems so silly to spend the money to save yourself two minutes of faffing about with taps for something you might do every other week or once a month. But without that two minutes and without the pressure to not let it overflow I have nice relaxing baths much more often because all I need to do is push a button and finish whatever I'm doing before grabbing a book.
There are also remotes for the lights. It's great to walk in the door grab the one remote and walk through the place turning on and off the lights on my way to the lounge to settle down all without having to go slightly off towards one wall or another, this seems small (or ridiculously lazy) but I honestly think I'll spend the money when I move to keep this tiny freedom. Being able to turn the lights on and off from bed and freely rearrange rooms without worrying about light-switches is an added bonus as well as dimming by remote are all great and have made ever day slightly more pleasant. There are a few other contrived convenience around (there are others that I was used to that are missing here though) and I can honestly say that quite a few of them are something that have made necessities slightly easier or enjoyable things more accessible. I'll definitely be hunting out these little conveniences when I've left. So there's my two cents.
Can we do that yet though? Some sort of smart inventory taking cabinet?
> The problem is it's a thousand little things not just one big thing.
Absolutely right. But we start with things that justify a purchase because they complete a worthwhile task on their own. That reduces the barrier to entry.
It's one of those things that would take a large amount of work for a company to get it to the point where the ease of use is the same as the current system, I'm sure we'll eventually see a usable system (as it seems that computer vision and object classification techniques being developed in other areas will be applicable here).