Smart Home
A smart home connectivity setup is seen in this picture illustration. Pixabay

Apple seems to have big plans for its voice assistant Siri, as was evident from its launch of the Apple HomePod, Siri-based smart speaker at the World Wide Developers Conference last month. A new patent has revealed that the company has more plans for Siri, including integrating it in a smart home setup.

Patently Apple on Saturday discovered an Apple Patent titled “Intelligent automated assistant in a home environment” which was filed in Australia on June 22. The patent seems to be in line with the company’s 2015 report titled “Apple Invents Siri for Home Automation .” Both the patent and the report are focusing on Siri and home automation, but the patent also contains information about Siri’s home automation usage filed between 2014 and 2016.

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In the patent, Apple gave an example of smart bubs being integrated with Siri and how this will work, “For example, a typical home can include 40-50 light bulbs placed throughout the various rooms of the home. Using conventional software applications, each light bulb is given a unique identifier, and a user attempting to control one of these devices must select the appropriate identifier from a list of available devices within a graphical user interface.”

The patent details how Siri might be the ideal go-between multiple smart devices and a controlling device, such as the iPhone. Remembering the correct identifier for a particular light bulb and finding that identifier from a list of 40-50 identifiers can be a difficult and time-consuming process. For example, the user can confuse the identifier of one device with that of another and thus be unable to control the desired device. To add to the difficulty of managing and controlling a large number of remotely controlled devices, different manufactures typically provide different software applications that must be used to control their respective devices. As a result, a user must locate and open one software application to turn on/off their light bulbs, and must then locate and open another software application to set the temperature of their thermostat.

Apple's invention covers systems and processes for operating an intelligent automated assistant in relation to home automation.”

The patent showcases even more uses of Siri in advanced home automation, in one part it describes opening the door of your home remotely while sitting in your living room by issuing voice commands to Siri. Another such action is telling Siri to “Close the blinds when it reaches 80 degrees."

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The patent seems to be Apple’s model of how a smart home will work. It showcases that almost the entire home and it’s functional aspects such as the garage door, home appliances and the central thermostat, will work via Siri-based voice commands. With just a voice command the automated assistant will control every aspect of the home. For example, if you want the temperature to warmer, just tell Siri to “set the temperature to 80 degrees.”

The majority of patents regarding home automation have been filed in 2016, which means that Apple is still working on the technology and while we might not see something of this kind in 2017, we might get to see it in the near future.