Apple has surprised the users. Many were expecting the HomeKit tools for developers in iOS 8 to come with a centralized app. But Apple instead handed all the power to the voice assistant application called Siri. Users can now control features and accessories through Siri.
Currently iOS 8 is in the beta phase and users can’t expect all pervasive HomeKit support within the iOS framework. HomeKit is a chassis which controls devices that are connected in a user’s home and initiate communication between them. Device configuration and communication could be done be through actions, triggered by Siri.
Third party apps could help users discover and configure devices. But as iOS 8 is in beta, there’s dearth of third party apps. However, Siri is responding to the commands of users. The ability of Siri to respond to HomeKit commands was revealed in iOS 8 beta 2. The WWDC, which took place early this month, gave us an idea of how Siri will coordinate with HomeKit.
The Macworld/iWorld 2014, which took place from March 27 to March 29 showcased some presentations which gave clear indication that Siri could play a key role in revolution of automation. Industry sources observed the conference and predicted iOS and Siri both would require assistance from third party apps. Once combined with those apps, the voice assistance software from Apple could bring revolution.
The only way to let developers build apps based on Siri is to make Siri API available to them. Apple finally did this when it announced the HomeKit in iOS 8 at this year’s WWDC. Now iPhone users could enjoy a slew of facilities thanks to HomeKit. Those facilities include turning their lights on and off, locking the garage door and making arrangements at the home comfortable.
A user for example, just needs to use his original voice and say a command like “lock my garage door” or “turn the lights on”. Siri will execute all those commands and notify them “looking into your garage doors” or “looking into your lights” which they could see at their screen. Siri could also handle queries from users like “is my front door open?”
An article published on AppleInsider lists the services that the HomeKit framework will provide. The article reads, “built-in HomeKit services include garage door openers, lights, door locks, thermostats, IP camera controls, switches, and more.” The article makes it clear that more control will be given to users over their device’s but third party app developers need to build apps in line with Siri to give users ease at exercising the control.
Apple has announced it will run a certification program for HomeKit. The program will guarantee their product’s support for new features. The initial partners of Apple are Philips, August, Honeywell, Ti, iHome and many more. These are famous consumer electronics companies.
Industry sources are of the opinion that Apple is trying to make a foothold in the Smart home market. It’s a lucrative market and the tendency of Smart home device manufacturers is to let users control multiple devices through a unique framework. Apple has undoubtedly made progress as the HomeKit gives Siri control over multiple appliances. For example, if someone asks Siri, “Are all doors of the room locked?” Siri will do speed check and reply back “Yes, they are locked.”
Hopefully, in forthcoming days, third party developers will build apps that will give users more control over connected devices via Siri.