Microsoft is finally ready to step into the world of home automation.
The company is testing out a brand new operating system for your home, appropriately called HomeOS. It is the culmination of years of work behind-the-scenes as the software giant has tried to reinvent what it means to have a "smart home."
Right now the world of home automation is largely tied to enthusiasts, rich people, and technology nerds. It isn't something that is mainstream quite yet but it is getting there.
Home automation refers to the ability to transition processes around the house from something you have to do manually to something that happens automatically.
So for example, instead of turning off all the lights at the end of the day, a "smart home" will automatically shut down the lights at a specified time, or after you close the garage door on your way to the office.
A smart home can turn your air conditioning on at 4:30 PM so that it's nice and cold when you arrive back afer work but won't have to worry about keeping it on all day and running up your electricity bill.
Microsoft no doubt has some tricks up its sleeve to make home automation more exciting but that's the gist of it. Right now it is testing out HomeOS with high-end hobbyists.
Among the things Microsoft is focused on is having technology that "enables scenarios like remotely monitoring cameras from a smartphone or customizing climate controls based on occupancy."
Microsoft has long had a prototype smart home up in Redmond, Washington, but this is the first time we're seeing a real consumer product come out of that.