Mike Elgan shares what he envision the home would be like with iBeacon.

Scanning the vast, emerging innovations for low-cost, mobile-controlled home automation (much of it on crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter at present), it’s pretty clear that the home of the near future (3-5 years) will operate something like this:
As you pull into the driveway after a long day at work, the driveway and footpath lights come on. The door is unlocked for you as you approach it.

  • Upon entering, the lights turn on, music starts and a soothing voice greets you, giving you updates about when your spouse will be home and letting you know who came to the door earlier.
  • You tell your invisible personal assistant — let’s call it “Siri” — “Hey, put on the game.” (An Apple patent surfaced recently for a special dock for using Siri in the home separate from a mobile device.) Siri knows enough about you and your interests and habits to turn off the music, turn on the TV and tune into the Knick game currently in progress.
  • You go into the bedroom to change and the TV in there comes on with the game, then off again when you leave the bedroom.
  • You don’t have a TV in the kitchen, but when you go into the kitchen to start on dinner, the audio from the game automatically plays for as long as you’re in there.
  • Whoops! You spill some mustard on the floor, so you say: “Siri, I spilled something.” As you leave, you cross paths with the floor-mopping robot, which Siri has dispatched at your request.
  • You get the idea. All of this will happen without you taking the phone out of your pocket. Apple’s iBeacon system is perfect for this entire scenario, which of course requires some kind of indoor location system.

Sounds far-fetched? I don’t think so. We are within a few years of that becoming reality.