Future Macs may simplify home automation
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Future Macs may simplify home automation

An Apple patent (number 20100205528) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office for wireless home and office application management and integration. It provides systems and methods for managing and controlling networked devices.

A system comprises a host application executing on, for example, a personal computer, and one or more networked devices executing a client application. A networked device includes a consumer appliance equipped with network capability, a digital device such as MP3 players and DVRs, an electronically-controlled device such as a light circuit or other type of circuit, and the like. The host application automatically establishes communication with the networked device. The networked device configures a user interface for user control of the networked device. The host application provides a graphical layout of the networked device. The inventors are Clay Bavor and Jesse Levinson.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "The number of appliances and other electronically-controlled devices in homes and businesses has drastically increased. These devices are typically controlled through a local control interface (e.g., buttons or remote controls). Because the devices have can have varying manufacturers and functionalities, their local control interfaces can also vary. For example, an oven can provide controls for temperature and cook time while a television can provide controls for channel selection and volume. Moreover, whereas a television adapted for use as in a sophisticated entertainment center can provide controls for aspect ratio and resolution, a television having an integrated DVD player can provide controls for DVD playback.

"Present attempts to integrate and manage home and office appliances using a personal computer are typically directed to rudimentary solutions limited to the device and communication set-up and other low-level communications. Moreover, these attempts are typically vendor-specific, require hardware set ups of communication cables, and software configuration of drivers and application level controls.

"For example, the X10 technology allows users to control appliances by connecting the appliances to outlets on X10 appliance switching boxes which in turn connect to the wall electrical outlet. The computer can transmit messages to the X10 units with a series of power pulses in the household electrical wiring. However, the X10 technology suffers from serious reliability issues, can send only basic commands to appliances, has limited support for data transmission, and is difficult to set up and use. Software applications for managing X10 appliances are similarly unsophisticated in that the packages provide no intuitive icon- or graphics-based interfaces, make organizing appliances difficult. Also, because of X10's addressing system, the user is subjected to potentially confusing configuration details.

"More recent technologies allow devices such as MP3 stereos and digital video recorders allow to be configured from their personal computer over an Ethernet network. Others devices can communicate via IEEE 802.11b, a wireless networking standard. Nikon offers a professional digital camera with an IEEE 802.11b transmitter for sending photos to a web server via FTP, and some printer manufacturers incorporate wireless chipsets in their products as well. These and similar technologies can require that a user install drivers and other software on the computer before using the device, and perform some setup related to establishing communications, sometimes involving hardware and IP addresses.

"Technologies such as NetSense and UPnP lack sufficient support for various types of controls of devices. In particular, web interfaces using NetSense and UPnP suffer from the limitations of HTML forms, such as the lack of many desirable user interface widgets, including sliders, complex buttons, and drag-and-drop image and file wells.

"Other technologies such as iReady, using Bluetooth as a communication medium, suffer from Bluetooth's well known limitations including an extremely short range, slow transfer speeds, and an inability to see and control all of one's appliances from one location.

"Therefore, there is a need in the field of home automation for systems and methods for intuitive management of networked devices using, for example, graphical layouts, and there is a need for application level control without the need for user configuration of hardware and/or software.

"The present invention provides systems and methods for managing and controlling networked devices. In one embodiment, a system comprises a host application executing on, for example, a personal computer, and one or more networked devices executing a client application. A networked device can include a consumer appliance equipped with network capability, a digital device such as MP3 players and DVRs, an electronically-controlled device such as a light circuit or other type of circuit, and the like.

"The host application automatically establishes communication with the networked device. First, the networked device can automatically access a network (e.g., a wireless network having a DHCP service) on which it can broadcast a network address and service. The host application can sense the broadcast and automatically establish communication with the network appliance while registering the service for availability to a user.

"In another embodiment, the networked device dynamically configures a user interface for user control of the networked device. To do so, the networked device can transmit user interface information that specifies components of a user interface. The user interface information can be structured in an open format. The components are related to application level control of the service provided by the network appliance. For example, the networked device can use XML to format name-value pairs, i.e., names of components and current values associated with the components (e.g., volume slider at 50%, titles of MP3s in a playlist). The host then generates the user interface from a component repository and sets values as indicated by the networked device. The user interface can also display components related to lower level control such as a state of the networked device (e.g., on, off, online, offline, error, and the like) or communications configuration (e.g., IP address, port, network connection, and the like).

"In yet another embodiment, the host application provides a graphical layout of the networked device. Accordingly, the host application can display a floor plan or pictures of the environment containing the networked device (e.g., pictures of a room in a house or office). The networked device can be displayed as a representative icon, allowing the user to double click the icon for gaining access to the user interface.

"Advantageously, the user can remotely control the networked devices from the personal computer with minimal set up and without regard to a specific operating system. In addition, the user interface has a consistent and recognizable format across different networked devices, but is nevertheless customized to capabilities of the networked device. Moreover, the graphical layout eases user management of multiple networked devices."

 
AAPL
$95.64
Apple Inc.
+0.92
MSFT
$45.30
Microsoft Corpora
+0.47
GOOG
$593.40
Google Inc.
-1.35

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Together 3.2 - Store and organize all of...
Together helps you organize your Mac, giving you the ability to store, edit and preview your files in a single clean, uncluttered interface. Smart storage. With simple drag-and-drop functionality,... Read more
Cyberduck 4.5 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Airmail 1.4 - Powerful, minimal email cl...
Airmail is a powerful, minimal mail client.It was designed to retain the same experience with a single or multiple accounts and provide a quick, modern and easy-to-use user experience. Airmail... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.1.12 - Monitor and co...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.37 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.9 - Fo...
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. This update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected and fixes a rare issue... Read more
FileZilla 3.9.0.1 - Fast and reliable FT...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.Version 3.9.0.1: MSW: Fix installation issue with locked DLLs... Read more
OS X Yosemite 10.10 DP4 - Developer Prev...
Note: This is a Developer Preview. You must be a registered Apple Mac Developer to download this update. OS X Yosemite is Apple's newest operating system for Mac. An elegant design that feels... Read more
FinderPop 2.5.6 - Classic Mac utility, n...
FinderPop is a Universal preference pane that extends OS X's contextual menus using a FinderPop Items folder much as the Apple Menu Items folder used to do for the Apple menu. It has other features... Read more
SpiderOak 5.1.7 - Secure cloud backup, s...
SpiderOak is a multi-platform secure online backup, storage, access, and sharing solution engineered for the consumer and small businesses. You must first sign up to use SpiderOak. Running natively... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Secret Files Tunguska Review
Secret Files Tunguska Review By Jennifer Allen on July 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: CONSPIRACY-LITTERED ADVENTURINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Offering traditional adventuring with no fear of in-app purchases, Secret... | Read more »
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat L...
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat Learning Library Sale Posted by Ellis Spice on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dragon Raiders Review
Dragon Raiders Review By Nadia Oxford on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: RUN, DRAGON, RUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dragon Raiders is rough and scaly in some parts, but overall it’s an enjoyable level-based running... | Read more »
MyTaskList Review
MyTaskList Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: EFFECTIVE IF PLAINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s not the most stylish of task management apps, but MyTaskList has all the features you could... | Read more »
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRICKY FLYINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A tough game of careful thrusting and navigation, FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines... | Read more »
MTN Review
MTN Review By Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADORABLE, SERENE, AND AMUSINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad MTN is an adorable, talking pet mountain that is less game and more zen garden.   | Read more »
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available o...
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available on the App Store Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Bio Inc. Review
Bio Inc. Review By Nadia Oxford on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SICKENING - IN A COMPELLING WAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Bio Inc is about orchestrating the medical destruction of a single person. If that doesn’... | Read more »
HELMUT Review
HELMUT Review By Andrew Fisher on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRUNDLE SIMULATOR 2014Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad HELMUT is a fun, fleeting time-sink that offers a momentary distraction and nothing else.   | Read more »
Walkr Review
Walkr Review By Jennifer Allen on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ORIGINAL WALKINGiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Walking is a bit more exciting thanks to this planet building/discovering sim reliant... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple 27″ Thunderbolt Display (refurbished) a...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ Thunderbolt Displays available for $799 including free shipping. That’s $200 off the cost of new models. Read more
WaterField Designs Unveils Cycling Ride Pouch...
High end computer case and bag maker WaterField Designs of San Francisco now enters the cycling market with the introduction of the Cycling Ride Pouch – an upscale toolkit with a scratch-free iPhone... Read more
Kingston Digital Ships Large Capacity Near 1T...
Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc.,has announced its latest addition to the SSDNow V300 series, the V310. The Kingston SSDNow V310 solid-state... Read more
Apple’s Fiscal Third Quarter Results; Record...
Apple has announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 third quarter ended June 28, 2014, racking up quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per... Read more
15-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Retina on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1829 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $170 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 2.5GHz Mac... Read more
Twelve South HiRise For MacBook – Height-Adju...
If you use your MacBook as a workhorse desktop substitute, as many of us do, a laptop stand combined with an external keyboard and pointing device are pretty much obligatory if you want to avoid... Read more
Why The Mac Was Not Included In The Apple/IBM...
TUAW’s Yoni Heisler cites Fredrick Paul of Network World whoi blogged last week that the Mac’s conspicuous absence from Apple and IBM’s landmark partnership agreement represents a huge squandered... Read more
Save $100 on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, plu...
Adorama has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: - 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB MacBook Pro with Retina Display: $1199 - 13″ 2.... Read more
Blurr it 2.3 for iOS – Quickly Blurs Selected...
Hyderabad, India based TouchLabs has announced a new update of Blurr it 2.3, their photography app for iOS users. Blurr it allows you to blur part of the image to hide potentially sensitive or... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr *Apple* Engineer - IT - Requisition #: -...
For more information about TIAA-CREF, visit our website . The Apple Engineer will provide engineering and third-level incident support for 300- 500 MacOS desktop/laptop Read more
*Apple* Systems Administrator - DISH (United...
…satellite service provider, and Dish is currently looking for an experienced Apple /Mac Systems Administrator. Apple systems administrator will be responsible for Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.