How does HomeOS work?
Most of us don’t have to think about what makes a computer system succeed, but Microsoft does.
Computers have an operating system, which is software that orchestrates interaction between the hardware and the application software. For example, you are reading this with a web browser or in a mobile app, both of which are application software programs. This software doesn’t actually put these words on your screen. It sends requests to the operating system, which conjures up all the elements required to display text and photographs on a screen.
In fact, many of the things that application software appears to do are in fact done by the operating system.
That’s one of the biggest benefits of Microsoft’s HomeOS. Many of the jobs that home-automation appliances might want to do can be done by HomeOS. Instead of every appliance maker and software maker reinventing the wheel, they can simply make requests of the HomeOS and have the job done for them.
That means a small company can create an appliance much more easily and reliably. Let’s say, for example, that a company wants to make and sell a lamp that dims when the TV is on. Instead of having to create the technology to know when the TV is on, the lamp maker can simply use the published instructions for HomeOS for being informed by the system when the TV is on.
A standardized platform promotes the automation of homes by making it easier for companies to make home automation products.
The idea is that Microsoft will try to convince home-automation companies to create both hardware and software that supports HomeOS. Consumers will buy these products, which are likely to include all the things one might automate: sprinklers, lights, home-entertainment systems, fans, doorbells, heaters, air conditioners, coffee makers, dishwashers, robotic vacuum cleaners and home security systems.
In addition to products that support HomeOS, you would buy a server, which would be a small computer system that everything would connect to, mostly wirelessly. You would control your home automation with a smart phone
. This actually improves the experience, because as this image shows, you can see camera feeds on your phone, which is probably always going to be with you.
And finally, the coolest thing of all: a HomeOS app store.