NEWS: Amazon, Google and Apple to push for Smart Home unity

techquest

Well-known Member
It's all good stuff and I'm into most of it. The problem is though it is making it much easier for it to be misused. 1984 should maybe released again as 2084!
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
It sounds good, who could complain?
Sounds a bit too good.
Struggle to imagine Apple allowing other brands to work with their stuff.

How about Google Assistant on a HomePod, which can play Spotify?
 

bogart99

Well-known Member
It's all good stuff and I'm into most of it. The problem is though it is making it much easier for it to be misused. 1984 should maybe released again as 2084!
Do not think we will have to wait that long, we are very nearly there now, we just do not know it!
 

techquest

Well-known Member
I wouldn't mind betting the Chinese have more on everyone in the world with their seemingly capable surveillance abilities!
 

topgazza

Distinguished Member
I dont have any "smart" devices in my home. Not resisting it or taking a luddite view. I have looked around and just dont need it. If I want to turn thermostat up I get up and walk the 3 yards to it. I dont want to heat my home when its empty so I'll wait till I walk in the door before turning it up. Same for outside lights or any lights in the house. When I need them I'll get up and turn them on. I don't live in a huge mansion.
Same for music which I can BT from my phone from my sofa. Dont need to shout across the room. I can see the browser on my phone so again no need to bellow. My son has every AI and smart gadget going and loves it. Fair enough but just cant see ant practical use for it. Still, companies need to sell tech and we need to buy it so it's all fair game.
 

Crafty

Member
Totally agree gazza, I've had cause to look at them a little closer recently and came to the conclusion that they don't really do anything.

Paying hundredds to get compatible thermostats/light controls etc set up and working just so you can speak to turn on/off lights defies all logic. I can probably link it to my TV... which already has voice control (that I don't use)...

Apparently they can tell me about my daily commute, schedule & appointments. My commute is pretty fixed - if the traffic is bad it just means I'm sat in the car for longer, any diversion route will just take longer. It also can't access my meetings etc because thats on work accounts which is not accessible for security and in any case doesn't seem to be easily accessible as its MS exchange based.

But I can watch youtube videos! just like my TV, tablet, laptop and phone then... It can stream music through its single speaker, I'm sure many here would much rather use their expensive AV/hifi kit to listen to music..

They are a solution looking for a problem to solve. They're a novelty at the moment and I think it'll wear off and the general public will get bored of them, leaving only the enthusiasts to play with them.
 

topgazza

Distinguished Member
I have no problem for anyone that loves them. It's harmless fun. But the way they are marketed as some sort of great advance is a bit... far fetched.

I used to work for Sun Microsystems 10 years ago who, with GE were developing smart light bulbs and fittings to anticipate lamp failure and advise maintenance. Useful for warehousing and factories with hundreds if not thousands of lights. It works but no one wanted to pay the premium for the bulbs and tubes. Same for chips in your fridge that ordered milk/eggs etc when you were running low. Couldnt take into account you may not want any more and required constant application updates by the user. Too expensive and pointless as you open your fridge door and look. The concept of all of this originated from military research and most of it has never become reality in consumerland because its not really useful, too expensive etc but there is plenty more to come I suspect.

It fills a gap until the next big thing happens. Betamax video recorders ?
 

Crafty

Member
I can remember reading about Bill Gates making (or, rather having a system made) an automated home using windows servers (remember NT ?!) years ago. None of this is new.

They are a triumph in marketing.
 
Totally agree gazza, I've had cause to look at them a little closer recently and came to the conclusion that they don't really do anything.

Paying hundredds to get compatible thermostats/light controls etc set up and working just so you can speak to turn on/off lights defies all logic. I can probably link it to my TV... which already has voice control (that I don't use)...

Apparently they can tell me about my daily commute, schedule & appointments. My commute is pretty fixed - if the traffic is bad it just means I'm sat in the car for longer, any diversion route will just take longer. It also can't access my meetings etc because thats on work accounts which is not accessible for security and in any case doesn't seem to be easily accessible as its MS exchange based.

But I can watch youtube videos! just like my TV, tablet, laptop and phone then... It can stream music through its single speaker, I'm sure many here would much rather use their expensive AV/hifi kit to listen to music..

They are a solution looking for a problem to solve. They're a novelty at the moment and I think it'll wear off and the general public will get bored of them, leaving only the enthusiasts to play with them.
Definitely not a solution looking for a problem to solve. I think that simply demonstrates your own limited imagination at best but more likely your own views being projected on others.

Home automation can be wonderful when it is actually automated and left to be automated. It’s nice when it’s aware of its surrounding and does it ready for you.

No need to be transformational just needs to be there like a good butler. Ready without having to should command, anticipating your needs.
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
I love my Google homes, and the very latest Google Hello door bell is one of the best items I've ever had. I can see who comes up my drive, do they leave a parcel, and of course, if someone was to come later and steal it.
No idea why I waited so long to get one. Well, I do know it was the price!

But anyway....... I have 7 of the normal sized Google homes and just got another one coming from Ebay this week for a second Stereo Pair.

It's not because I'm going crazy with home automation it's only to do simple things, but when you get used to having them it would be weird not to.

My ones just act as Alarms/Timers as and when needed.
Say I'm looking at something on Ebay which finishes at 5:15pm I'll just say out loud to set alarm for perhaps 5:10pm and I can forget about it.

Likewise for Cooking something or anything else I'll just say out loud, anywhere in my home, set timer for 1 hour 15 mins.

I've started using the shopping list, so as I'm in the kitchen and say notice I'm low on rise, I just speak out load Add rice to my shopping list.
Then at the end of the week I will view the list and know all I need to get. Easier to just say it at the time.

I have quite a few TP-Link smart sockets connected to table/standard lamps which I use every evening, so just say turn on the lights and they do.
I don't bother with main lights.

Also have same sockets connected to my multiport phone charger, and TV Speakers, so I don't have to fiddle around plugging things in or using switches to turn them on.

It's only little things, but it just makes enough of a difference to be nice to always have around.

Of course as I have them all over the home I can play music/podcasts on any combination of them at any time. My whole home, or just in one room.
 

Crafty

Member
Definitely not a solution looking for a problem to solve. I think that simply demonstrates your own limited imagination at best but more likely your own views being projected on others.

Home automation can be wonderful when it is actually automated and left to be automated. It’s nice when it’s aware of its surrounding and does it ready for you.

No need to be transformational just needs to be there like a good butler. Ready without having to should command, anticipating your needs.

Oh dear, seems I struck a nerve.

I have "limited imagination" because there is absolutely zero point in spending a chunk of cash to buy a "smart" speaker and a bunch of wifi switches to turn lights on and off or the boiler ? 😆

Was there any need to start throwing insults around ? not really, but you obviously felt it was worth it to defend your gadgets.. projecting your views on others maybe ?

For the vast majority, these things will be fad, soon to be relegated to the back corner of a cupboard somewhere, as I said, leaving the enthusiasts to continue playing around - which is cool, they like them. People were automating stuff long before these things came along.

The whole point of the news article in the OP is to continue making money from these things, not necessarily frm the devices themselves but from the data they collect.
 

Inked

Distinguished Member
Oh dear, seems I struck a nerve.

I have "limited imagination" because there is absolutely zero point in spending a chunk of cash to buy a "smart" speaker and a bunch of wifi switches to turn lights on and off or the boiler ? 😆

Was there any need to start throwing insults around ? not really, but you obviously felt it was worth it to defend your gadgets.. projecting your views on others maybe ?

For the vast majority, these things will be fad, soon to be relegated to the back corner of a cupboard somewhere, as I said, leaving the enthusiasts to continue playing around - which is cool, they like them. People were automating stuff long before these things came along.

The whole point of the news article in the OP is to continue making money from these things, not necessarily frm the devices themselves but from the data they collect.

People were automating stuff long before these things came out for sure, but it didn’t have the ease of setup and use, automatic updates etc. It was very much for the enthusiast rather than the mainstream. With the amount of Echo/Google home products being bought year on year, this is very much a mainstream, growing sector which shows no signs of being relegated to the back of cupboards by the masses.

The end user now requires far less knowledge about home automation (and the announcement means that this will become even easier due to better compatibility across brands).

Smart speakers paired with music streaming services are great, ask one to play a piece of music and the chances are it will be playing within seconds. Far easier than other methods of music selection/playback.

Smart lighting opens up more options for home security, access for those with disabilities etc without having to make modifications to the home (no need to change switches or modify wiring, just add a smart bulb).

Smart learning thermostats enable greater control over home heating/cooling, so that you hardly need to touch the thermostat at all.

If you’re that worried about the info the companies are collecting on you, I’d suggest cutting up your bank cards / loyalty cards, get off the www, turn off all your lights (manually of course) and go hide in a corner in the dark. Because you’re being tracked one way or another from the moment you wake in the morning.

(I suppose you still have a coffee table full of remotes for your AV setup too....)
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
For the vast majority, these things will be fad, soon to be relegated to the back corner of a cupboard somewhere, as I said, leaving the enthusiasts to continue playing around - which is cool, they like them. People were automating stuff long before these things came along.

I may well be wrong, however I think I would, for the general public, respectfully disagree with this particular point.

I 100% agree very very few people, other than the 'techy people' will use these 'Smart Speakers' to their full potential. Something perhaps like the 80/20 rule which says something like 80% of people only use 20% of features.

Once you have one of these in your home for a while, or (shock/horror) a child has one in their bedroom.
And you just use it for very simple tasks.

An Alarm
A Timer
What's the weather tomorrow
What's the time.
What's 2.5 pounds in kilograms
What's £28 divided by 5
Turn on the Table Lamp (with a single smart socket)
Play me some happy music (free services)

Once a normal, non tech person has that in their home for a few months, and just get's used to setting a timer, or asking about the weather.
They would not want to get rid of it. It takes very little for it to be something that's just nice to have sitting there when needed.

Unless you are REALLY paranoid and think Google/Amazon are recording what you are saying 24/7 together with everyone else who owns one of these.
I think the majority will just find they are more handy to have when needed than not have.

And again true, you can use a modern phone for all of this, but I doubt even the most techy person carries their phone with them from room to room at home all the time.

I'm sure it is the future. If you are born into a household with smart speakers, which tens/hundreds of million children are today around the globe. Being able to just speak/shout! out-loud to get a quick answer/assistance with a simple request is going to feel so normal, that it will simply be seen as odd not to have it. Like you are trying to make life harder than it needs to be.

Just a viewpoint of course ;)
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
I am 62, wife 60 and we have long gone the Amazon route, must admit love it. I have smart bulbs the come on and off at time I choose or on demand, heating like wise, tv on and off on command, ring doorbell etc. All things considered I think the announcement will be very good for the industry going forwards. The reason I mention my age is the kids well adults in there 30s now, 3 of them, there the luddites in our family, with no smart gadgets at all which I find really strange, lol.
 

topgazza

Distinguished Member
I think it's a Marmite thing. I've spent all my life working in IT , networks and control devices yet I have no desire for Smart devices or anything similar. If I want a light bulb on I get up walk 2 yards and turn it on. Heating ? Its a mighty 3-4 yard walk to the thermostat. I never want to put it on before I get home as I consider it a waste of energy. My home gets warmer in 10-15 minutes so thats fine. I have a door knocker.
Now, thats not to say it's a horses for courses thing and my son has every voice and remote activated gadget in the world in his home and swears by it. It's great to have the choice and I suspect when our backwards building industry reaches the 21st century, probably some time in the 25th, we will have all 1GB WiFi, and 100% smart homes as a basic standard. But for now I just don't have the motivation, however tempting my love technology is, to have it other than WiFi and remotes for my TV and Firestick.
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
I think it's a Marmite thing. I've spent all my life working in IT , networks and control devices yet I have no desire for Smart devices or anything similar. If I want a light bulb on I get up walk 2 yards and turn it on. Heating ? Its a mighty 3-4 yard walk to the thermostat. I never want to put it on before I get home as I consider it a waste of energy. My home gets warmer in 10-15 minutes so thats fine. I have a door knocker.
Now, thats not to say it's a horses for courses thing and my son has every voice and remote activated gadget in the world in his home and swears by it. It's great to have the choice and I suspect when our backwards building industry reaches the 21st century, probably some time in the 25th, we will have all 1GB WiFi, and 100% smart homes as a basic standard. But for now I just don't have the motivation, however tempting my love technology is, to have it other than WiFi and remotes for my TV and Firestick.

I guess you'd be the one wanting door handles and light switches fitted on the USS Enterprise ;)

 

topgazza

Distinguished Member
Absolutely :thumbsup:

But having worked 30 years in IT including developing innovative commercial and military image capture systems with my own company I would not consider myself a luddite. I love technology but what seperates true technology innovation from marketing glitz is its practical use. At the moment its largely a gimmick and nothing more than manufacturers looking for the next product to make a killing. If people think sitting in a chair turning a light on when the switch is 3 feet away is an advance in humankind or technology then they are mistaken. Turning on heating when you're not at home is anything more than lazy and a waste of energy...ditto.

But thats harsh to many and I understand that. I appreciate the humour in your post and I think its a good point. However, until they design homes where the funtionality is in built with technology that removes the need for switches then its largely just that gimmick IMO. That people love it is great and despite my opinion on current smart technology I do appreciate the use people get out of it...or at least think that they do.

Anyway, has anyone ever seen anyone hoovering on the Enterprise ? Weird huh ?
 

neilball

Well-known Member
I too would rarely see the benefit in talking to a smart speaker for day to day activities, but this misses a major advantage of most of these systems - they are also integration networks allowing things that were never designed to be networked together/automated to have a new “smart” life without the need to rip out and replaces/upgrade. It’s also available at a much lower cost than ever before and avoids the need to spend many £100s/£1ks/£10ks on very specialist hardware/wiring/installation/programming/maintenance.

Lower costs and easier implementation means it’s also being used more in installations to help make homes easier to live in/operate by those with a wide range of physical health issues and disabilities. The ability to use voice control to operate lighting, appliances, and environmental controls adds real benefit in normal day to day life that would otherwise be difficult or impossible otherwise. Go back a few years and this would cost a small fortune to provide and also be difficult and disruptive to add to existing homes. Now it’s a relatively trivial task to add this functionality and an order of magnitude of cost cheaper.

Even for basic home users the simple integration engines of these systems allow a variety of benefits - time scheduling or smart scheduling (dusk-dawn etc), or event/activity driven control.

In my own home I’ve been able to use inexpensive modules to add things like automatic speed control of my heat recovery ventilation system with easy override when needed, add astronomical time control to my outside lights (come on automatically at 15 mins after sunset and switch off at 1am), have a “Goodnight” event turn off outside lights, turn off a number of applicances automatically without needing to run around the house and garage to check things have not been left on. It may all seem somewhat trivial, but it’s amazing how quickly these platforms have grown and how easily they can add useful features. You don’t even need a smart speaker to use these systems, and the server/cloud technology is essentially being provided for free right now.
 

topgazza

Distinguished Member
It's a step in the right direction thats for sure. The fully integrated house must be the next big step where all this current technology can be really exploited to good effect. I worked for Sun Microsystems from 2000-2008 and way back in 2000 they had devleoped with GE the "chip in a fridge" that could order food for you automatically. Still being touted now but its not really a practical solution or what was intended by the developers. It really wa sjust a demonstartion of where technology was going and the uses would come later. We're still not really there until that new type of home is built. But it is exciting to see what the future holds in "smart" homes
 

neilball

Well-known Member
I remember all the Cisco kit that was involved “back of house” to make the Orange House of the Future (a marketing exercise to showcase modern technology in the home) work (sort of) about 20 years ago, and how the cost of the integration equipment was probably more than the value of the house in which it was fitted! I worked with SeaChange back then and had some fun making the HVAC controls work with the various platforms involved. The attempts at voice control were pretty limited (and often comical) back then too, and although it’s been 2 decades it still seems amazing at how quickly this all came together recently. Back then there were whole teams of engineers and technicians fighting to do what now could be done be a slightly tech-savvy home
owner.
 

topgazza

Distinguished Member
Indeed. It reminds of all the life changing inventions and products that came out of the space station.... that never quite made it. But some have and some are still being developed as the difference between discovering something and putting it in practical use is often huge. But we'll get there
 

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