Perfect Home Automation




When people start using home automation, they always experience home control first: being able to control devices in new ways using a phone or computer. They believe the future is now and their app will be their remote for their lives. They only focus on what they are getting, not on what they are losing. You install some light bulbs and all of a sudden you are no longer able to use the light switches. You’ll arrive at home at night and have to pull out your phone, open the app, let it connect and finally you’ll be able to turn on the light. All while turning the light on could have been a switch away.

Yes, you can solve this with presence detection. What if your phone runs out of battery? You’ll have to resort to the switch again.

If you find that using your new home devices is cumbersome, the promise of home automation technology has failed you. Your lights should work with both a switch (or button) at the entrance of your room and via presence detection. Honestly, there are hardly any valid use cases for being able to control lights from your phone except for showing off.



This means that everything you automate has to work flawlessly. If you successfully manage to cause a response to some stimulus 90% of the time, you’re going to have a disproportionately poor experience 10% of the time. A common automation that fits this pattern is to fade the lights when you start watching a movie or series in the living room. It only works if everyone is watching.

Limit the impact of false positives and negatives.

每次自动化,您总是必须考虑:如果不起作用,会产生什么影响?家庭自动化由许多不同的供应商组成的许多不同的系统组成,这些供应商讲了许多不同的协议:事情会出错。由您确保他们失败时的影响有限。理想情况下,设备应恢复到智前的家庭体验。如果使用普通开关打开/关闭,或者当未连接到集线器时,飞利浦色调灯泡将像标准的白光一样。如果您的系统失败时情况变得更糟,您的用户将起义。以嵌套恒温器为例had a bug in the beginning of January这导致它停止加热房屋,yikes!


Home automation should blend with your current workflow, not replace it. For most devices, there is no faster way to control most devices than how you are already doing it today. Most of the time, the best app is no app. The only interface that can be more convenient, and is accessible for visitors of your home of all ages is a voice interface. The industry has realized this too and there are some major players focussing on voice interaction. Take Apple for example: the only way to control your HomeKit devices is with Siri. Amazon has taken it one step further with the Amazon Echo, providing an always-listening connected speaker/microphone for the living room. I expect a lot more companies to join this segment in 2016.

Voice interfaces are not perfect either. The speed at which you can issue commands is low because you have to wait for a response. There are also issues with the discoverability of commands, recognition of accents and dependency on the cloud for processing your voice. I believe that all but the first one are problems that are going to be solved eventually.

This however doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for apps, there definitely is. They are perfectly well-suited for checking in while you’re away, browsing the state changes of your house or making the lights go all funky when there are kids visiting.

Your system should run at home, not in the cloud.

The cloud is a magical thing. Somewhere in the world there are computers collecting the data that your house generates, testing them against your automation rules and sending commands back when needed. The cloud will receive updates and improve itself over time so it is able to serve you better. Until it’s not. There are many reasons why your home might lose its connection to the cloud. The internet can stop working, an update might have gone wrong or the servers running the cloud crash.

When this happens, your house should be able to keep functioning. The cloud should be treated as an extension to your smart home instead of running it. That way you’ll avoid awkward situations like when Amazon AWS was down and theAmazon Echo stopped working.

Good home automation never annoys but is missed when it is not working.

Thanks to Chris LaRose for this feedback and comments.