4 Years of smarter home automation

Are you surprised how difficult it is even in 2020 to transform your home into a smart home? We are too — well actually more frustrated than surprised!

It’s 2020, and upgrading your traditional home to a smart home with some automation to increase comfort or save energy is still a tricky topic. Talk to a couple of random people on the subject and you will get responses ranging from complete disinterest, concerns, frustration to curiosity, enthusiasm and love.


Why are we still waiting for the promised Smart Home future?

When looking around, it seems that Smart Homes are not as omnipresent as foreseen. Why is that? To me a mix of reasons is still standing in the way: mistakes in marketing, complicated distribution channels, company tactics, product complexity, lack of standards, and many more reasons. There is not one single aspect to blame, but a combination of them.

If you are interested in entering the Smart Home world, there are roughly three options to get you there:

  • “Do-it-yourself”: Pick a smart home hub and hardware parts from various brands to have full control and flexibility. While having a lot of choice and flexibility, the risk is that you will give up the project frustrated by the time you need to fix compatibility issues.
  • “All-in-one solution”: There are nice systems where you buy into a closed ecosystem and pick everything from one brand. These usually work nicely and with no fuss, but it requires replacing hardware, offers limited flexibility and there is serious lock-in effect.
  • “Problem focused shiny products”: The third option is to buy some sleek and focused consumer products. While they offer a great user experience and joy at the beginning, they are not built for flexibility and don’t play nice with others.

We at Apilio think that smart home automation should neither be difficult, expensive nor limited. Therefore we are on a mission to remove the constraints that come with the third option above, because we like nice products but don’t like being limited. That was the spirit in the early days of Apilio and it is still the spirit that drives us today.

Updating the building blocks to make a smarter home

There is so much nice hardware already installed around, now let’s just let everyone use it to their liking! If it improves your comfort — awesome! If it saves energy — even better!
One of my favourite examples: I had to install a new central-heating boiler and I did a lot of research to find the most energy efficient model. An investment of over 15'000 € and at least the double amount of that in fuel costs for the expected lifetime. When freshly installed, the system was relying on a single outside thermometer, while I had already around 10 digital high quality indoor temperature sensors around the house in various gadgets— none of them helping to optimise the energy consumption. What a missed opportunity!

Keep the hardware, update the brain

Since I published the first article about Apilio four years ago, Apilio has matured from a private hobby project into a professional service, taken care of by an enthusiastic team.

Interestingly, the ingredients that set it apart from other solutions are still the same today:

  • An event “memory” and the ability to define your own rules — both essential to building automation rules that go beyond the basics.
  • The goal to let you use the hardware you already have, accomplished by a neat integration with IFTTT (with its 600 connections) and additional connection channels built by us.
  • The drive to stay lean, to achieve more with less. “Reduce to the max” in every aspect.

The journey behind and ahead

If you have come across Apilio in the past and liked it, the good news is that it is still the same! And if you didn’t like it, the good news is that it is completely different!

Comparison of an earlier version of the Apilio UI with the current looks.
How our user interface developed over the years.

We kept the original idea of giving our user the tools to build the automation logic of their dreams with a point-and-click interface. But we have made great strides in making it easier to set it up, making it more transparent and informative, giving our community and documentation a decent home, developing a revenue stream to enable Apilio to be around in the long term and many more.

We are looking forward to the coming weeks, months and years of developing Apilio. Listening, learning and innovating in small steps.

Go for your smarter home

If you have some connected gadgets at home that need a little help to become smarter, check out Apilio and create your account today! It’s mainly an investment in reading and thinking than money.

If you find this article as Apilio newbie, head over to our website to learn more about how it works and what it does. If you are an Apilio oldie and haven’t checked it out since a while, go and experience all the changes since then (Rejoice, I stopped doing interface design 😄).

June 3, 2020
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