Imagine walking in the front door, having the lights turn on, the TV switch to your favourite show and the air conditioning adjust to the perfect temperature – all of this without you having to do a single thing.
In May of last year Google unveiled the Android@Home framework, a set of protocols for controlling home appliances through any Android device. Schmidt took this a step further last month by outlining the future he sees where devices communicate in our homes.
“What you really want to be able to do is, as you walk into your house with your Android device, all the things that have computers in it sort of adjust as necessary,” says Schmidt.
He said the smartphone will become the portal to other devices and appliances in the home, which will all work together seamlessly and allow access to whatever type of information you want anywhere in the house. In many homes this is already happening, with Wi-Fi being used to control lights.
“When you go into the family room the television knows it’s you because your device authenticates you as opposed to other family members,” he said. “A text message comes to you. It all syncs together,” he says.
Sceptics have pointed out the fragmentation of the Android market, where the vast array of makes and models in the Android market could prove problematic to the smart home ecosystem.
Schmidt prefers the term “differentiation” and believes it’s not a big issue. He argues that home owners will want to have choice and that it will open up the market to developers and creative type.
“Competition provides value, drives cost down, etc, etc. It means everyone is a winner… and you get enormous growth effects.”
See also: Smart Phones, what about Smart Homes?