appleautomationLast month, SDM wrote about the announcement from Nest Labs, makers of the Nest thermostat, about the Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide alarm. By 2014 it is expected to be available in a version that will be compatible with wired security systems, indicating Nest is targeting the security industry.  Read more in “Nest Reimagines Security Industry With Nest Protect.”

Now, Apple is throwing its hat into the ring, targeting home automation with a new patent for an intelligent system where a person's location and habits will automatically control at-home appliances. 

Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,577,392, as published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is for a "system and method of determining location of wireless communication devices/persons for controlling/adjusting operation of devices based on the location." Those devices can include home devices. By gathering a user’s location and even anticipating the user’s future location, devices and functions in the home can remotely and automatically be activated or deactivated.

Apple Insider explains how the technology will work in “Apple's Home Automation Tech Taps iPhone, Mac Hardware for Intelligent User Tracking,”by Mikey Campbell. It is an interesting read, and a new take on home automation that will be interesting to watch unfold. The main take away? If Apple is pursuing the technology, watch out, because there’s definitely a market there to tap.

Competing with Apple can be a distressing thought, but while at Honeywell’s 2013 CONNECT conference in Los Angeles this past weekend, I heard the most comforting advice yet on all the new competition from Roy Spence, co-founder and chairman of GSD&M, a leading marketing communications and advertising company. He said, “It is easy to take away a customer, but it is hard to take away a relationship.” Focusing on the relationship you have will help weather the storm. Sound advice from the man with a company, GSD&M, that has helped grow some of the world’s most successful brands such as BMW, Wal-Mart, DreamWorks, and the U.S. Air Force. Spence has also been a trusted advisor to legendary leaders such as Sam Walton and Southwest Airlines founder, Herb Kelleher, and his counsel has been sought by U.S. presidents.