Siri closes the blinds

automationWill a niche solution by manufacturers like Apple, using ALL-IP, be made available?

Since the beginning of the 1990s, building automation systems in large industrial and office buildings have been an integral part of the construction industry. Intelligent and cost-intensive field bus systems from different manufacturers, provide via various sensors and actuators, a wide range of information, as well as control of numerous parameters such as individual room temperatures, light and control systems.

Nevertheless, the tasks of building automation systems go far beyond providing information related to the technical aspects of measurement and steering building equipment.

SME and Private Homes

Most users in SME’s and private homes do not benefit from this technology because of the high acquisition costs and the hardly measurable advantages in time and money that such systems give.

Many stand-alone solutions have been developed: Individual systems for heating control, air conditioning, lighting, electrical blinds for the windows and beamers installed on the ceiling, are only to mention a few examples. However, each system had to be independently programmed and controlled.

Radio buses

For quite some time numerous radio buses have been established besides field bus systems. The advantage of radio buses compared to wired buses are the simple retrofitting capacity and the independence of any electrical line. Light switches for instance can also be subsequently placed anywhere. Moreover, the price of a radio systems is often considerably lower than of conventional bus systems. The disadvantage of such systems was that they were only partially or not at all compatible.

A presumed susceptibility to faults has been avoided by choosing a certain frequency. Gateways connect the radio buses to the field bus system and even more importantly to the LAN.

Until recently all manufacturers tried to defend their systems. Meanwhile, several manufacturers have formed a strategic alliance in order to enable a better interoperability.

Currently, manufacturers like Deutsche Telekom, Gigaset, Philips and now also Apple have positioned themselves in the market.

Apple HomeKit

HomeKit is the new iOS interface by Apple for a networked home or office as a comprehensive system. Developers can use libraries for instance in order to integrate the voice recognition Siri for their applications without having to write a single line of code.

For app developers and automation products HomeKit is the most important interface but end users cannot yet apply it. A central place for users to control their HomeKit products will be launched by Apple in the future. If everything works out the way Apple announces, we will only need one single app and Siri in order to control our lights, doors, heating and sockets. Not like at present, where we need to virtually have individual apps for every lamp.

Just Apple

When the HomeKit compatible product is connected to the iOS device you can control it or turn it on and off by Siri voice commands depending on the kind of product. Here are some examples:

  • “Turn the light on.” or “Turn the light off.”
  • “Dim the light.” or “Dim the light to 50 %.”
  • “Set the temperature to 20°C.”

With the following commands you can make settings for rooms or environments:

  • “Turn on all lamps in the training facility.”
  • “Turn off the Support light.”
  • “Dim the light in the kitchen.”
  • “Dim the light in the demo room to 50 %.”
  • “Set the thermostat in the first floor to 21°C.
  • “Turn on the printer in the office.”
  • “Siri, prepare everything for a party.”
  • “Prepare the ambience for dinner.”
  • “Activate the night time mode.”

It has been presumed for a long time that a future version of the Apple TV box could take a decisive role as the control center for home automation. Nevertheless, if the platform was only controlled by a mobile device it would not be “smart” anymore when the owner leaves the house with his device.

WAN Coupling

The secure coupling of a smart terminal device via VPN to the home LAN fills this gap. Not only all devices at home or in the company can be controlled from all over the world, but also all services of the home telecommunication center can be used. When the cleaning lady rings the bell you can see her and remotely open the door.

Siri: “Open the staff entrance door.”

Teldat is aware of this challenge. We support our customers within the scope of our router portfolio, with all ALL-IP products including VPN and VoVPN solutions as well as secure voice connections via SIPS and SRTP in the area of media gateways and PBXs. Together with other manufacturers, telecommunication companies and suppliers we develop these solutions and always implement the latest version in order to offer our customers the highest performance with the best possible security.

Randolf Mayr: