Apple is building a team of both software and hardware engineers to push its efforts on HomeKit and related accessories , reports Bloomberg. This is a recent effort, through which they hope to further push both third-party adoption and the adoption of new, proprietary HomeKit-compatible products. This comes at a time when Google and Amazon have been pushing their own home automation platforms for several years.
More HomeKit software, compatibility and accessories
For this, Apple has the old Mozilla CTO , Andreas Gal. Gal joined the company after the acquisition of Silk Labs, an artificial intelligence startup. At that time, there was already speculation that his technology would end up in HomeKit, as a way of promoting intelligent products for the home.
A list of new hires is the clearest sign that Apple is working on improving HomeKit
In addition to talking to sources knowledgeable about the plans, Bloomberg has also found jobs related to this effort. These are 15 jobs related to the HomeKit platform , smart devices and related software. It appears that he has also hired staff from smart accessory manufacturers, including Amazon and Qualcomm middleware. The latter is very relevant, as its role in the Internet of things is paramount.
Beyond the HomePod and Apple TV
Apple has shown little interest in moving into home automation categories beyond television and speakers. Both are covered by the Apple TV (not a television itself) and the HomePod. Meanwhile, Amazon and Google have a wider portfolio of their own products, especially the former. Google has several models of more or less capable speakers , routers, cameras and thermostats, while Amazon has lots of speakers, routers and cameras, but also products such as microwaves or lights.
Leaving aside the expansion of Apple TV via its app and Apple TV+ on other platforms, as well as the possibility of a greater variety of speakers at a greater or lesser price than the HomePod, the truth is that there are not many categories of interest to Apple. It is clear that the company is not going to launch a microwave with Siri and HomeKit , since the real value provided is doubtful. Nor does the field of routers seem to be attractive after its abandonment of the AirPort in spite of the appearance of the mesh models (even if you never say never).
Smart surveillance cameras are another area where Apple can provide differential value via security, privacy and data encryption
However, there is another category where Amazon and Google coincide, and that is outdoor surveillance cameras. Very popular in the US, consumers use them to monitor the street and surroundings of their homes, something attractive if you live in a suburban area and not in a flat. Here are a number of issues related to the privacy and recording of recorded data, even more complex when you put in the cocktail of facial recognition technology. Apple could provide differential value, where precisely it is about to launch an upgrade for HomeKit. In a future update with the feature known as HomeKit Secure Video, cameras compatible with its platform will be able to have iCloud storage and encrypted communications.
At AppleHomeKit Secure Video: we answer questions about Apple’s future home automation service
Another way to push HomeKit is in increasing the compatibility of existing products. Apple eliminated the requirement to have an authentication chip in every accessory or hub long ago, a necessary but not sufficient measure to increase the variety of HomeKit accessories (one of the big absences is the smart vacuum cleaners). Whatever the result of these efforts, we may not see their fruits for some time.