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Apple wants HomeKit to get better at helping you automate ‘smart house’ routines

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20200117149) for “modification of automated environmental behavior based on user routine” that hints at even more powerful HomeKit features for a “smart house.”

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 info, Apple’ notes that an automated environment can allow users’ mobile devices to control various other accessories. The user can interact with an accessory by operating a controller that can communicate message to the accessory in response to user input. 

In some instances, accessory operation can be automated. For example, a controller can be programmed to automatically instruct an accessory to initiate a specific action when certain triggering conditions are met, such as turning on a heating system or changing a thermostat’s target temperature at a particular time, or turning on a light if the controller detects an ambient light level below a threshold. 

However, Apple says that automating behavior of accessories in an environment can be complicated by various factors, including the fact that users might not always adhere to a consistent schedule. The company wants HomeKit to be the basis for overcoming such issues

Here’s the summary of the newly granted patent: “An automated environment can include an accessory device that operates according to an automation rule, to take a prescribed action when a triggering condition occurs. A controller device for the automated environment can determine a user’s regular routine and can detect when the user is deviating from the regular routine. The controller device can communicate with accessory devices in the automated environment to modify their behavior relative to the automation rules.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.