Microsoft Creates Operating System for Your Home
The “smart home” has been promised to us for years, mostly through press releases and the occasional TV commercial where someone’s refrigerator calls the repairman before they know there’s a problem, or you can remotely open and close your garage door with a smartphone from miles away.
Unfortunately, all of these efforts have involved a patchwork of communication capabilities from a variety of appliance, electronics, security system, and heating and cooling vendors, none of which can work together. Microsoft thinks it may have an answer with its HomeOS, which could provide centralized control of smart devices.
HomeOS is coupled with a HomeStore, through which users can easily obtain applications that are compatible with devices in their homes and obtain any additional devices that are needed to enable desired applications.
Developers and designers could use the platform to create apps for a wide variety of devices, allowing non-technical users to manage them more easily, and embed this functionality in new devices. Microsoft is currently licensing HomeOS for free to academic institutions.
Conceivably, this would not only give homeowners remote control capabilities over things like garage doors, TVs, game consoles, furnaces and lights, but also allow them to program different devices to work together (in one example, a user turns down a thermostat and the room fan shuts off automatically).
HomeOS is currently being tested by a number of universities and researchers, who will hopefully help work out some of the obvious potential challenges of home automation. My first question: What if your smart home turns out to be haunted?
You can see a video explaining the concept and a demo below: