Revolv, a connected home startup that used to be known as Mobiplug, has shown off a video of one of its engineers using Google Glass to control the connected devices in the Revolv offices. The video (below) is fun, but it got me thinking about how we plan to control and interface with connected devices in the home.
Revolv makes a hub that plugs into your router and will control a variety of connected devices via a smartphone app. Products such as the Philips Hue, certain Insteon light switches, Lockitron locks and the Sonos music player are currently supported in the first versions of the product.
As you can see from the video, John Kozura, a senior developer at Revolv, is wandering around pulling up connected devices in the Revolv app using a combo of taps and swipes to get to the desired device, and then voice commands to tell the device what to do. “Revolv, more Blue!” And voila! The Philips Hue light bulbs turn blue. He can also just tap to turn things on or off if he doesn’t want to bark commands at his gadgets like some kind of displaced boot camp officer.
As an interface to control my home, Glass seems like it might get a bit cumbersome if I have a bunch of devices to tap through in order to get to the device I want to change. However, the voice control aspects could be cool as a means to quickly get a “recipe” that combines several devices together to start up. I could imagine coming home and saying, “Okay, Glass, Revolv App, I’m home!,” and then having selected lights turn on and my garage door lock itself.
Yet, once I’m home, I’m not so sure I want to perpetually wear Google Glass, much like I tend to keep my smartphone on a counter as opposed to on my person. I’m a believer that Google Glass will be important for controlling the internet of things, I’m not sure how active a role I want to have in directing my myriad connected devices from a pair of $1,500 glasses.
I think James Rundquist, a developer who designed a Glass app to get information from his Nest thermostat, said it well when he told my colleague Katie Ferhenbacher:
… that in his short experience experimenting with Glass, he see Glass apps more suited for passive and quick interactions — “less content consumption, more quick one-off actions and passive information gain.”
Taking several swipes to turn off a light doesn’t seem like the right interaction for Glass, but setting off chain reactions that set a mood or prepare my home for me to leave might be the right experience. And when I’m on the go, I’d welcome the chance to confirm that I did lock my front door. We’ll have to check back with Revolv after it gets its product in people’s hands (especially those people who have Glass) and see what users think.