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BW Businessworld

Future Now | Knock To Control Your Smart Home

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Smart Homes that are all rigged up with Internet of Things solutions aren’t even here yet, but already technologists are obsessed with finding innovative ways of controlling stuff in them.
Here’s an odd one: A company called Swan Solutions has come up with a round little thing called Knocki which is essentially a remote. It’s got wireless Wi-Fi connectivity and you can use it with any surface you can knock on to turn it into a controller.
Mala Bhargava
Those who have used one of LG’s recent phones or any of the others that have copied the knock-knock feature can see how easily this can be implemented. On these phones, knocking, or rather, tapping, twice wakes up the phone. On an LG phone, a specific pattern of knocks can be used as an additional security measure, like a password.
A similar implementation can be used for remotes that aren’t the usual TV style bars we’re used to but more like fixed and designated disk shaped objects. The idea is to reduce having to take out a phone and open up an app to do the same thing or even pick up a remote. You know where the Knocki disk is and you know the pattern and you just knock.
A bunch of use cases have been outlined by the company that came up with Knocki. For instance you could knock on your bed to activate a security alarm or alert the police. Think of how great a savior that could be in case of a break-in. You could knock on a table to start the music. Or on a door to turn on the lights. You could even knock on the door to send off a message on your phone to someone to say you’ve left or that you’re back. Multiple Knockis can be designated with different tasks in different parts of the house in this way. You’ll need to remember a lot of knock patterns, though, almost like a morse code.
Knocki has its own phone app and using that you can set it up by selecting a place, selecting a surface, and then assigning a knock pattern to trigger an action. You can also complicate matters nicely by adding IFTTT to the equation – that’s If This Then That, with which you essentially give something a command to do a task when you trigger it. So, If I knock twice and unlock the door, also turn on the lights for my husband who’s just come through the door.
I hate to think what a house full of constant knocking sounds will be like however, and how sore the inhabitants’ knuckles will be after a few days. But the solution is actually buyable from