Apple has applied for a patent (number 10,630,500) for “selection of a coordinator device for an automated environment” that hints that it may be considering its own line of “smart home” products. Or the patent could simply involve more HomeKit features and increased cooperation with third party product suppliers.
Apple’s HomeKit is a framework that allows control of compatible home automation devices through all your Apple devices and Siri. The tech giant says that over 100 brands worldwide are committed to providing accessories that are compatible with the HomeKit framework, and the number available is growing every day.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that one category of electronic devices that’s becoming more popular includes various electronically controllable devices, such as thermostats, lighting devices, household appliances, etc. Users want to control these devices easily and conveniently using mobile devices and the like and to automate their operation.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent filing: “An automated environment can include multiple controller devices capable of communicating with multiple accessory devices. The controller devices can automatically elect one of their number as a coordinator device for the environment and can automatically perform a new election if an incumbent coordinator becomes unavailable or resigns.
“The election processes can be transparent to any users. An elected coordinator can perform various operations to facilitate management of the automated environment, including routing of communications between controllers and accessories.”