No one likes coming home to a cold, dark house. For those who fear what goes bump in the night, there are automated home products that use geofencing to switch on the lights and turn up the thermostat when the user gets with a certain distance of the house. Typically, something like the smart thermostat Lyric utilizes owners’ smartphones to act as a signal that someone is two miles away from home, so it should kick on to have the house toasty by the time he or she arrives.
It’s a decent system, as long as everyone in the family has a smartphone. No one wants the heater shutting off just because 12-year-old, cellphone-less Timmy was left at home while his mom went out to buy milk. Still, AT&T has its own ideas about how to kick start home automation: link its connected car service, Drive, to Digital Life, its home security and automation service. Soon, users will be able to use their dashboards or voice recognition to control their homes’ air-conditioners, coffeemakers, stereos, locks, and security systems.
“Once you’ve told your home when the car is (for instance) within 20 feet of the house to please open the garage door, put the lights on, turn the alarm off, move the thermostat up, you can have those inanimate objects, the home and your car, really taking care of you,” Glenn Lurie, chief executive of AT&T Mobility told Reuters.
Among the car companies who have partnerships with AT&T Drive are Audi, Subaru, General Motors, Ford, and Tesla. According to AT&T, Drive lets each of these automakers customize its own system, so Audi’s won’t look like Ford’s, for example.
For now, those Digital Life customers without a compatible car will just have to control their smart home the old-fashioned way: with their smartphone.