Yesterday's Xbox One premier was a blazing hailstorm of announcements, each one more tantalizing than the next. And while all the new bells and whistles were exciting in and of themselves, the real endgoal, as FastCo. Design uncovered, probably won't be hitting us for another few years: a totally connected, totally integrated home control portal.
Unofficially dubbed Home 2.0 by Marc Whitten, Microsoft's chief production offer of interactive entertainment, and his team, the project is, currently, more of a persistent interest than something actively set for release, and it's something that's been in the back of their minds ever since Microsoft acquired id8 Group R2 studios—home automation specialists—back in January.
Offering the ability to control nearly any part of your home—adjusting the thermostat, closing the blinds, locking the back door, feeding Fluffy, etc.—from anywhere in the world, id8 is just one of a number of apps that have cashed in on our tendency to want to turn dumb objects smart. And the technology is getting to the point where we'll trust it to do, well, pretty much anything. So home automation isn't going away, and as we acquire more and more of these automate-able appliances, we're going to need some sort of centralizing factor.
And the Xbox One seems perfectly primed for something of this magnitude, since it's open support for third-party apps would most likely mean that id8's current home automation could slide right in with ease. And with all of the different apps and devices that id8 currently runs, Whitten notes, "You need those [devices] in a central hub as an experience to bring all these things together."
Sure, this isn't an entirely new concept, but we might finally have the hardware necessary to put it to work. Plus, a game console does make a lot of sense as far as turning a device into a home automation center goes. Unlike computers, which are forever on the move towards increased mobility, game consoles generally stay right in your living room—and are attached to a big, ol' screen at that. Add in SmartGlass, and you'll be able to control you're Xbox One-powered home from pretty much any handheld device you own.
Even though you may not be able to open your garage with your Xbox anytime soon, as Mark Wilson of FastCo. Design explains, "With Home 2.0, the Xbox One is slated to become our first, widespread anchor to the promised Internet of Things. (Though, sure, it’ll play Halo, too.)" And assuming Home 2.0 does indeed want to incorporate our entire home, it's going to need to be compatible with the insane number of connected devices we have littered around our homes. The Xbox One is just beginning to show off what it can do, and with this, its vast potential alone is perhaps its most exciting quality yet. [FastCo. Design]