Widgets are The Next Evolution of Smarthome Apps

Written By Simon J Richardson

On January 21, 2020
Simon has been involved in smart homes for over 20 years in Australia, China, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong and currently works with SAL National and SAL Commercial to develop, adapt and adopt new IoT solutions for the Australian Commercial and Residential markets.

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Why are widgets the next evolution of smarthome apps?



It’s the one thing we can never get back once we’ve spent it and it today’s ever faster world, controlling your smarthome has to be more convenient not less. This means saving even more time and effort.

This convenience comes in the form of choices, and choices that make this easy and fast to execute for every family member.

What are Widgets

Widgets are little software Apps that are activated in a different way to normal Apps on your mobile device.

That is, you don’t download the widget, it comes embedded in the smarthome App and can be activated with some simple configuration by the homeowner.

Once activated, a subset of smarthome functions become available. More importantly they are available without opening the smarthome App at all.

Quite often these smarthome widgets are accessible by swiping right on iOS devices - see the Apple news App as a good example...that’s a widget.

Some smarthome vendors like SAL PIXIE make it possible to control your home without even unlocking your iPhone - simply swipe right and you have widget control ready to go.

That’s a real time saver and as you can set the widget up to have groups, scenes and devices you can control 1 or many circuits of lights, blinds, fans - whatever you have decided to assign to your widget.

SAL PIXIE PLUS iOS App with Widgets

What About Voice Control?

Voice is the “killer app” for the smarthome and systems like SAL PIXIE PLUS work with Amazon Echo devices, Google home range and even SIRI shortcuts just from your iPhone - no voice assistant needed just your iPhone and the PIXIE PLUS gateway.

So why would I ever need an App for control? Sure you need it to set things up, create groups, scenes, schedules and alike, and some basic setup requirements, but with voice control isn’t the App obsolete from a control perspective?

Here’s my take.

Until voice, the fastest way to turn on a single light was probably to get up and flick the dimmer or switch - even if you had a smarthome app.

You had to open the phone, open the smarthome app, wait for it to connect, navigate to the right screen and then press the right button. That’s a lot of actions to take to turn on a light.

That’s a lot more work for the homeowners but the industry loves to sell the wow of App control and so that’s what got sold.

Once voice arrived, at scale as it is now, you can get started from $49 -$79 with fully capable voice assistants and scale up to hundreds of dollars with voice assistants embedded in all types of audio, visual and electronic appliances.

Voice control means 1 of 2 things.

Being in earshot of the microphone inside the voice assistant when issues the command - OR shout at it
Installing a voice assistant in every room in the house.

So whilst voice is undoubtedly the easiest way to control your smarthome’s lighting, blinds, aircon, audio visual and more, its not always practical to have a device in every room - whether that’s from a budget, installation or privacy perspective.

Amazon has tried to solve one of the troublesome rooms - the bedroom - by introducing whisper control. Try asking her to setup up “whisper mode”

SAL PIXIE PLUS App Widgets for Android

Time Always Wins

Every homeowner will make different choices when it comes to control and its having the widest range of choices that consumers should look for when choosing a smarthome platform to run with.

A smarthome solution that has widgets and voice control and does not demand use of the smarthome App has more choices and wins the time race every….time.

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3 years ago

[…] previously written about how widgets are the next evolution of smart home apps but to date very few smart home Apps have deployed Widgets the way the PIXIE PLUS app […]