The long-awaited release of the Apple Watch obviously shook up the nascent wearable industry, with robust pre-order sales reported, and largely good, if not glowing, reviews from technology pundits. Google’s own Android Wear platform hasn’t captivated the market as much as Cupertino’s newly released wearable, but considering the open nature of Android, there is still time to give Apple some good competition. With a variety of positive and negative smart watch reviews now available, you may be wondering whether a smart watch makes sense as another device for controlling your own digital smart home.
With many technologies, their ultimate success in the marketplace gives developers good reason to develop apps for a specific platform. Expect something similar to occur when it comes to smart watch apps designed to control Home Automation or Home Security systems. Let’s take a closer look at what the initial popularity of the Apple Watch bodes for the wearable market as a whole.
Smart Watch Reviews: Apple Watch Pre-Orders Sold Like Gangbusters
Even before it actually hit the market, the Apple Watch boasted over one million pre-orders, noticeably greater than the 750,000 Android Wear smart watches sold in the entire year of 2014. Still, many of those pre-orders remain unfulfilled due to production issues in Apple’s supply chain. Additionally, some manufacturing defects have been reported, which is typical when a new tech product gets introduced.
Comparing the smart watch market to Apple and Google’s continued battle in smartphones, Apple didn’t get the headstart over Google with the Apple Watch like it did with the iPhone. Once the first Android smartphones entered the fray, it only took a few years before Google gained dominance in market share, although the iOS app market still leads when it comes to innovative smartphone apps. It is easy to speculate that the smart watch market won’t reach the heights of the smartphone world, but those relatively small numbers aren’t stopping the development of apps to manage your smart home systems.
From a development standpoint, Home Automation and Home Security system providers are able to take advantage of code reuse to easily produce smart watch versions of their current system apps that support the Android and iOS platforms. The main issue is redesigning the apps’ user interfaces to conform to the smaller screen real estate of the smart watch, as well as taking advantage of the unique interface features of the Apple Watch. One obvious use-case involves leveraging a smart watch to receive and react to notifications from your Home Automation system.
The companies in the digital smart home market simply hope to see enough smart watch sales to make their development efforts worthwhile.
Home Automation Companies Get Into the Smart Watch Game
CEPro Magazine recently noted that a number of Home Automation system providers are introducing apps compatible with the Apple Watch. Their hope to convince early adopters of Apple’s smart watch into purchasing entire systems based on innovative control and function. Industry veterans, Honeywell, Lutron, and Crestron all offer Apple Watch apps, as well as relative newcomers, Peq, Alarm.com, and Savant. The first two companies featured in Tim Cook’s demo of the Apple Watch late last year.
It is reasonable to expect other HA companies to also offer their own smart watch apps for both the Android Wear platform and the Apple Watch, especially with some of the biggest names in the industry leading the way. Starwood Hotels recently developed a system to control hotel locks using Bluetooth LE technology — both for smartphones and smart watches. Lutron now offers smart watch control over their Caseta lighting system and their Serena motorized shades.
Even as smart watch reviews and sales continue to multiply, Home Automation companies aren’t waiting around before rolling out apps supporting this new mobile technology platform. Over the next few years, expect Apple Watch and Android Wear compatibility to be a standard feature from most companies aiming to be the primary provider for your digital smart home. Dick Tracy would be proud!
Photo Credit: Marc van der Chijs