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Wall to wall Apple: How iOS could make its way into your home

Marco Tabini | March 28, 2014
Our residences are long overdue for a technological makeover. More and more electronics have, over the years, found their way into houses and apartments: Everything from thermostats to ovens and washing machines are, for all intents and purposes, run by small computers. To boot, many dwellings are now completely covered by wireless networks that can carry very significant amounts of data, without requiring expensive wiring.

For example, low-power sensors spread through a house or apartment could collect realtime information about temperature and humidity, and use Siri's power to apply the latest climate management techniques to both keep you warm and help you use less electricty and natural gas.

Or, perhaps, health data collected in real time — even while we sleep or are otherwise occupied — by wearable devices and other household appliances like scales can be used alongside medical models that can alert us when it's time to take a visit to the family doctor. 

In both these cases, Siri's artificial intelligence doesn't just automate our home: It augments our abilities by incorporating expert knowledge in a variety of fields that we wouldn't normally have access to.

A darker side

Of course, many of the innovations that make home automation interesting are double-edged swords that could herald an unprecedented level of invasion into our privacy. Do we really want big corporations to know how much time we spend in our living room, or our resting blood pressure, or whether we like to keep our house at a balmy temperature in the middle of winter?

These questions are hard to answer, but Apple has already made an open commitment to security in a whitepaper that goes to great pains to show that it treats its customers' data with as much care as it can. As iOS makes its way into more and more aspects of our lives, I wouldn't be surprised if the company positioned itself as a devotee of strict privacy principles — even more so than it already has. Especially in comparison to its main competitor, Google, that could go a great length towards helping these kinds of technologies gain more mainstream acceptance.

 

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