Home Automation Overview

Introduction

With a Home automation system, users can utilize home automation apps on their portable devices to control and configure the connected accessories in their homes, regardless of the manufacturer. Typically, a home automation app needs to help users in the following tasks:

  • Setting up a Home
  • Managing users
  • Adding and removing accessories
  • Defining Scenes

In addition, a home automation app should be easy and enjoyable to use. Here are some ways you can create a great experience:

  • Integrate with voice recognition
  • Automatically find accessories
  • Use approachable language

Setting Up a Home

The Automation system is centered around three types of locations: Rooms, Zones, and Homes. Rooms, such as "Living Room” or “Bedroom,” are the basic organizational concept and may contain any number of accessories. Zones are collections of Rooms, such as “Upstairs.”

Users must specify at least one Home to use as the location of their accessories. Each Home contains Rooms, and can optionally contain Zones. Rooms and Zones make it easy for users to find and control their accessories. Apps should provide ways to create, name, modify, and delete Homes, Rooms, and Zones.

If a person has multiple homes, allowing them to specify a default Home enables faster setup and configuration of new accessories.

Managing Users

Apps should provide ways to manage which users are allowed to control the accessories in a Home.  When an account holder is specified as an Admin, they can also add new accessories, manage users, set up Homes, and create Scenes.

Adding and Removing Accessories

It’s important to make the addition of new accessories quick and easy. Apps should automatically search for new accessories and present them prominently in the UI.

Users need ways to identify the accessory they are adjusting, so make sure to provide quick access to a control that physically identifies the accessory. In the case of a light bulb, for example, you might let users flash the bulb using your app to confirm its identity in the home.

Configuration should include assigning a Name, Home, Room, and optional Zone to an accessory. Admins need to enter the accessory’s setup code (included with the hardware documentation or packaging) to complete the process of associating it with a Home.

Finding Accessories

Be sure to give users different ways of quickly finding accessories. Time of day, season, and a person's location can influence which accessories are important at that moment, so users should be able to find accessories by type, name, or location in the home.

Defining Scenes

Scenes are a powerful way to adjust the characteristics of multiple accessories simultaneously. Each Scene has a name and can contain any number of actions associated with an accessory and its characteristics in a Home. If possible, suggest Scenes that users might want based on the configured accessories in their home. For example, an Away scene might lower the temperature of the house, turn off the lights, and lock all of the doors.

When users are creating their own scenes, consider suggesting accessories to include based on selected Rooms or Zones. Giving users choices can make configuration faster and easier.

Voice Recognition Integration

VR can make it easy to execute sophisticated operations with a single statement. The VR system recognizes Home, Room, and Zone names and can support statements like “James, lock up my house in Tahoe,” “James, turn off the upstairs lights,” and “James, make it warmer in the media room.” VR also recognizes accessory names and characteristics, so that users can make statements like “James, dim the desk lamp.”

To recognize Scenes, VR may need requests to include the word “mode” or “scene,” such as in the statement “James, set the Movie Scene,” “James, enable Movie mode,” or “James, set up for Movie.”

It’s best to let users know which actions can be triggered by VR at the time the action is configured. For example, when confirming that the Movie Scene has been set up, also display suggested language the user can say to James, such as “You can use James to activate this scene by saying ‘James, set the house to Movie mode.’”

Messaging

Home automation can be intimidating to users. Allonis strives to make it approachable with easy to use with friendly, conversational language.