The home is where we spend our time, living, sleeping, socializing — and, yes, working.
That being said, it's no surprise there has been a significant amount of innovation around the smart home concept in recent years. New products offering Internet connectivity have burst onto the market — and many of them offer real value in the smart home space.
Despite my eagerness and anticipation for each new smart home product that is released, each has also been meet with a certain frustration and trepidation. The big problem: I generally need to access or use each new product on a different platform.
That's a barrier to development of the Internet of Things (IoT). But now, here comes Apple.
Challenges of Fragmentation
The fragmentation in the smart home space has always been one of its largest flaws. The consumer has been left having to manage multiple apps for different products, unless they purchase a suite from one manufacturer. But who wants to be constrained to just those offerings from one company?
Apple is taking aim at pulling the smart home space together with its recently announced HomeKit. This will allow companies which make products in the smart home or IoT space to develop it to work with the Apple platform, which in turn will allow the end user to control all their devices from a single app, which of course will run on their iPhone or iPad.
Apple further simplifies matters for the user with its MFi (Made For iPhone/iPad) certification. Creating the certification to go with the HomeKit was a smart move. It allows customers to know when they buy an item that it will work with the Apple platform and also allows companies on board with Apple to market this fact, perhaps adding a bit more wind to the sails for some smart home products.
By the same token, the MFi certification allows Apple to add value to its partners right out of the gate. By being able to brand their smart home devices as MFi certified, they could automatically add some additional appeal to the end user who might be interested in the HomeKit platform.
Step in the Right Direction
From my view, bringing a slew of smart home products together on a single platform and tossing in some nice features, which Apples is doing, is a significant step forward in the smart home. At the same time, there are some drawbacks to a single company having control over a platform and being able to deem who has access.
Apple taking this role in the smart home space allows it to control the experience for the users, which is something it has been traditionally good at. I would feel safe arguing the point that Apple has some of the best designed user interfaces (UIs) in the industry, and bringing that across to the smart home market will go a long way in fostering user adoption.