A few months ago, home automation company PEQ released Lego-like control interface in the form of an iOS app. Users could add functions simply by stacking on more blocks. The kitchen light could be turned on and off by tapping a tile. Swiping a tile up and block could change the temperature on a Nest thermostat. And you could even combine many functions into one block, so that a single tap would turn on all the downstairs lights of your home and then set the thermostat to 72.
Now, we have a first look at how PEQ will handle home automation using the Apple Watch, and it’s a sensible approach: They’re simply moving those function blocks from the iPad screen to your wrist. Instead of several tiles on the screen at once, there’s only one at a time, which the user can swipe through. short list of the most important stuff.
So why is this better than just using PEQ on that iPhone living in your pocket? One of PEQ’s designers, argodesign founder Mark Rolston, contends that glancing at your wrist is a step less friction than pulling a phone from your pocket. And living in his own hyperconnected smarthome, managed by his iPad and iPhone, has taught him this.
“It’s just accessibility,” Rolston explains. “A recurring scenario for me is, I walk out the back door, and I might have some lights still on, and as soon as I walk away, I pull up on my phone [to check]. We used to have this routine, asking, ‘Did you leave the light on? Run upstairs and see if you left the light on!’ We don’t do that anymore.” And to Rolston, the ability to look at his wrist rather than check his phone to answer that basic question, “did you leave the lights on,” is the paradigm shift at play.
Another benefit comes in moving notifications to your wrist. “The most apparent thing about this is, you’re sitting in a meeting, and you get a beep that something’s going on in your house,” Rolston explains. “You flip your wrist, you look, and you see [via a video feed] it’s the house cleaner or your wife got home early. That’s why the door lock went off and why you’re alarmed. Having that be less of an interruption, we look forward to it.”
The new PEQ app, complete with Apple Watch integration, should be available for the Apple Watch’s launch.