Homes in which nearly everything — lights, appliances, cooling/heating systems, electric sockets, locks, security equipments are connected to a remotely controlled network is described as Home Automation.
Home automation is a step towards “Internet of Things,” in which everything has an assigned IP address. And devices can be monitored and accessed remotely.
How IoT works?
An IoT framework comprises of devices which converse with the cloud through some sort of connectivity. Once the information gets to the cloud, software processes it and performs an action, such as sending an alert or adjusting the device properties.
IoT system comprises of devices, connectivity, software, and a user interface. Device like light, AC etc is connected(Bluetooth/WiFi/BLE) to Hub then with the help of conversational or graphical user interface depending on the situation, user will communicate with hub, a standalone receiver that can send data to cloud. Data will be processed by software which will send an alert or adjust device properties.
Graphical User Interface Vs Conversational User Interface
Mobile app/GUI will be a secondary way of interacting with IoT devices. I will not want to open my app every time to reduce/increase air conditioner’s temperature when I can command Alexa to reduce temperature. Conversational UI will be the primary way but app will be required as a backup and for on boarding.
User will be able to register either via mobile app or interacting with voice assistant.
Steps required to set up “voice assistant”/hub:
Onboarding with Mobile App
User can either sign up by Facebook/Google with one tap or they can input their E-Mail/Mobile number, receive OTP, fill it to verify themselves and then set up a password. User will verify password by tapping on the ‘eye’.
User will fill their name and house name. If user has signed up with Facebook/Google, they will check name ‘Same as registered on Facebook/Google’.
Most important characteristics of good design are discoverability and understanding. We inform user upfront how to set up devices as we do not want to confuse user at any step and assure them setting up devices is easy. You can see instruction in the above image.
Prominent pair button on IoT devices will be a necessity.
After tapping on ‘get started’ user will select room they want to automate or manually add one by tapping on ‘Add Room’. Reason for selecting room and then pairing devices in that particular room is, their can be more than one Air Conditioner in the house and best way to differentiate them is by room.
Feedback must be immediate: even a delay of a tenth of a second
can be disconcerting. User is instructed to activate pair functionality of devices to connect with ‘personal assistant’/hub. ‘Finding devices to pair…..’ is displayed to show seeking.
User can tap on pair to connect with devices. Successful connection will show ‘Device paired successfully’ if pairing fails app will prompt ‘There was some error while pairing try again’.
User can tap on ‘Use Paired Devices’ and will reach home page to tryout newly connected devices or tap on ‘Pair devices in other room’ and reach ‘Select room you want to automate’(see the above picture) page to continue the process of automation.
On boarding will end as user reaches home page.
Onboarding with Voice assistant
Name of AI is Karl.
Karl: Hi! I am Karl. Your personal assistant. You can ask me to set reminder, send message, adjust devices paired with me or just talk to me.
Call my name to wake me up.
Register to get started.
Kindly, tell me your mail id or mobile no.
You: Mail id is [email protected]
Karl: Is your mail id [email protected]
Karl: You will receive OTP on your mail id. Kindly tell me the OTP.
You will check for OTP on your mobile/laptop
Karl: Have you received OTP?
You: Karl, OTP is 123456.
Karl: Let me verify…..Great your OTP is correct. Now can you spell password for your account.
You: Karl, Password is b-i-g-Capital B-1-2-3-4.
Karl: Is your password b-i-g-Capital B-1–2–3–4.
Karl: Cool. Now can you tell me your name.
You: My name is George.
Karl: Hey! George Nice to meet you. Please tell me name of your house.
You: What do you mean by name of your house?
Karl: George, Name of the house can be Farmhouse, house on 14th street etc.
You: Karl, Name of the house is The Hill.
Karl: Cool! You have registered. Now, lets connect with devices. Shall we start pairing devices in bedroom?
Karl: Kindly activate pair functionality of the devices you want to connect in bedroom. I have started seeking.
You will turn on pairing functionality(Bluetooth/WiFi/BLE or some other tech) of lights, air conditioner, television, speaker etc.
Karl: Paired successfully with air conditioner.
Paired successfully with television.
Paired successfully with speaker.
Paired successfully with 2 lights. I will turn on one of those lights. Kindly tell me its name for future identification.
Light on right side of room turns on.
You: Karl, Call it right light.
Karl: And the other one?
You: Left light.
Karl: Great any more devices you want to pair with me in bedroom.
Karl: Great, now you can ask me turn on or turn off light, set its intensity, play music, set ACs temperature, set your favourite channel on television.
You: Turn off Right light.
Karl: Right light turned off.
Karl: Shall we set up another room. Maybe kitchen, living room or any room of your choice.
You: Sure let us set up Kitchen.
Onboarding ends here.
I have shown you both the on boarding process. Which will you prefer? I have set up an open poll to check which on boarding most people will prefer, there is a link at the bottom of the article.
Can we improve on boarding on Karl? I personally will prefer not to shout out my password aloud and if I am using combination of mobile and voice assistant I will prefer to do whole procedure on mobile. And then ask Karl to do my bidding.