Apple Patent Shows Self-Configuring Smart Home


A new Apple patent application outlines the way a truly independent smart home would function. The patent application — titled “Object tracking and authentication using modular wall units” — is verbose.

According to Apple, the challenges of configuring a smart home are a myriad, such as getting the different brands of various items to all work together. There are different connection and communication protocols, and differing wiring and hardware/software configurations. Setting up items can be daunting to consumers. As new equipment is released, customers may also have to replace their old devices with new ones for prime usage.

For this reason, Apple believes there is a market for a truly efficient smart home system that can be easily customized, scaled and put to use. Its plan involves a system that automatically detects things like sofas and people, and would generate an automatic floor plan that could determine distances and needs without any human input. The Apple plan would then be able to guess about any type of smart tech introduced into the home, based on that floor plan.

For instance, if one installed a smart light switch in the dining room, the Apple system would automatically link it to the dining room’s lights after asking and receiving human permission to do so. There would also be a modular wall panel, where users could insert any kind of hardware units. Once inserted, the smart home would figure out what to do with them.

The patent is “broad and far-reaching,” 9to5Mac reported, and would require cooperation from a number of different sources. Yet, as Apple’s stock market value is now in the billions, with its trades hitting decade-long highs, the company has leeway to explore such technology.