This year, instead of asking Santa for gifts for me, I’ve decided to make a wish list for some of my favorite smart home product companies. Sure, it’s a little bit of passive-aggressive snark, but I’m sure nobody expects anything less from me. And seriously, I want them to have all of these things.
So here we go…here’s what I wish for each of these smart home industry product and service companies:
Amazon: An assistant with a better than 50% chance of responding appropriately and a whole new Alexa app—they need to just start over.
Anova: A tablet app that works in landscape mode.
Apple: All the past Home app wallpapers; Automations in Shortcuts that integrate with HomeKit more like how they were initially portrayed.
August: A form factor that works with traditional (not post-industrial-steampunk) interior design.
Best Buy: Staff who can answer questions about their smart home products without reading the boxes.
Blink: An identity within Amazon.
Caavo: A redesigned remote.
Chamberlain: An actual Alexa skill and full acknowledgment that nobody wants to pay $1 per month per smart home integration.
Fibaro: A redesign for their HomeKit app to feel at home on iOS 7 and later.
GE: HomeKit support for all the C-Things.
Google: A Works with Google Assistant platform that’s even half as capable as Works with Nest and routines that are worthy of a company claiming to care about the smart home space.
iDevices: HomeKit support for the Instant Switch and the device colors shown in 2016.
IFTTT: More T’s.
IKEA: More. Much, much more. Just don’t forget about quality control.
Insteon: API support for sensors and keypads.
Lutron: HomeKit support for Pico remotes and sensors for Caséta.
MCO Home: A US distributor.
Microsoft: Open-sourced Media Center.
Ring: Doorbell faceplates that match traditional architectural hardware finishes (e.g., chrome, brass, …).
Samsung: Alexa and Google Assistant.
Schlage, Baldwin, Quickset, and Yale: A smart lock retrofit solution for existing mortise deadbolts (August doesn’t count—see above).
Signify: Better availability for Philips Hue products across all markets and lower prices…for everything. I mean, c’mon…how are these products still so expensive?
SmartThings: A UX architect to review and refine what the developers create before it’s released.
Staples: The direction and courage they lost in 2015.
MySmartBlinds/SmarterHome/Tilt: A consistent branding strategy, Bluetooth mesh, and the SmartThings support customers expected for MySmartBlinds last year.
Tovala: Voice assistant skills, an IFTTT service, and many, many more simple cooking and reheating recipes.
Universal Devices: A web-based user interface for the ISY that doesn’t use Java.
Wink: A(nother) new owner that commits to invest in and revive the platform. Then: an app redesign and overhaul.
Yonomi: Integration with Ring.
Zooz: Light Almond, Ivory, and Black.
In all seriousness, I wish for these things because I want these products and brands to be better—to refine or round out these respective companies’ offerings. Whether it’s hardware or software, I haven’t found one company out there that meets all my expectations in design, featureset, availability, performance, and experience. Not one.
Santa, I’ll vouch for these folks. They’ve all been good this year. Could you maybe help them each to be just a little bit better?