Hey Siri, Do This Then

“Hey Siri, turn on the bedroom lights at 5:30AM”

“Hey Google, close the shades at sunset”

“Alexa, turn off the TV at 9PM”

“Hey Siri, turn on the A.C. if the temperature gets above 73”

“Hey Google, turn on the house lights when there’s movement in the entry area”

“Alexa, open the garage door when John gets home”

All of the above requests are things that can be done, but they all require some sort of rule be set up on a smartphone. While all of these assistants can turn things on, turn them off, move thing up and down, and such, they can only do those things now. I can turn on the lights now. I can open the garage door now.

If I want to automate something to happen later, I have to use the Apple Home app on iOS, or hope that Belkin, iDevices, etc. have built in automation features into their own apps. While the Home app makes this manageable, it’s still more work to go through the numerous screens needed to set a rule than to simply ask your voice assistant to do it for you.

Supported: “Hey Siri, remind me to take out the garbage at 7PM”

Supported: “Hey Siri, turn on the living room lights”

Not supported: “Hey Siri, turn on the living room lights at 7PM”

iOS (and Android/Alexa) can set reminders for the future where you’ll get a notification at a certain time or certain place, so they should extend that logic to support smart devices as well. This seems like such an obvious thing for these assistants to do that I’m honestly shocked that none of them support this yet.

Philips Hue App Getting a Much Needed Update Soon

Philips announced a few new things to do with their Hue line of products at CES this week, and this part stood out to me the most:

In Q2 2018, the company plans to update its iOS and Android apps to version 3.0, bringing about a redesign of the app inspired by comments and feedback from current Hue users. Philips said 3.0 will "enhance" existing and new features so that the smart home lighting system can be activated "with even more ease."

Thank god! Seriously, the Hue app as it exists today is really rough. It just looks bad and feels like one of the most unreliable apps on my iPhone.

They also had this little nugget:

A "Hue Sync" app for macOS High Sierra and Windows 10 devices will be coming in Q2 2018. Hue Sync will let you create and customize light scripts for games, movies, and music played on a Mac or Windows computer.

It's quite interesting to me that the whole smart home/IoT revolution has been happening completely separate from the PC. This will be the first real app that I'll use that lets me manage any part of my smart home that isn't on iOS or Android. Probably not a larger trend that we'll see from other device makers, but interesting nonetheless to see something (anything!) happening in regards to smart home management on the PC.