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Blog 03 :: Ubiquitous Apps

James_Blog 03_Ubiquitous Apps

Ubiquitous Apps (Pertaining to how Ubiquitous Apps extend interfaces into physical spaces where people reside)


James was researching about Ubiquitous Apps and thought about the Air Purifier that he purchased from Xiaomi in recent years due to the haze period. Occasionally, he does turn on and off and it was a hassle to stand up and walk to the corner and for toggling, hence he went to download the Mi Home App and give it a try, again.

p.s. James had tried the App last year and it was pretty lackluster so he hopes Xiaomi had upgraded its features.

James experimenting with the App

Upon setting up the connection, he discovered there was a new Automation tab in the App which really interests him. He had used the Automator App in macOS and Shortcuts App in iOS which works really well for him. Once set, an array of systematic commands can be activated with just one gesture, be it a click away or via voice assistant. He guessed it was the same thing for the Automation in Mi Home App and continued to set Siri commands to toggle On/ Off of his Air Purifier. It worked, he was impressed and went on to examine how ubiquitous can the Mi Home App be via Video 1 below.

Video 1 - Mi Home App (5:34)

Video 1 illustrates the ubiquitousness of the Mi Home App whereby the user can literally control his electronics and gadgets with SIRI or just a simple activation from the widgets with the phone. From toggling the lightings to activating alarms and even vacuuming the floor, these chores can be simply be mobilized by voices, anywhere and everywhere. Of course, the actuation greatly relies on the voice assistant accuracy in perceiving the user’s pronunciations, but hey, triggering commands from the phone might be still more efficient than reaching for the physical switch. Not to mention, the all-in-one package that apps like Mi Home App offers for all its products. Many Internet of Things (IoT) devices now not only work on their native brand but also can be integrated into other counterpart ubiquitous Apps. For example, James’ Air Purifier can be controlled via the Google Home App too as shown above when James experimenting with the App.

After being intrigued by the Mi Home App, he furthered his research and chanced upon two other Ubiquitous Apps videos.

Video 2 - Samsung SmartThings App (2:26)

Video 2 illustrates how Samsung’s LCD Refrigerator is complemented by the Samsung SmartThings App. The LCD application display on the fridge itself allows users to literally have an enlarged mobile screen on the front of the fridge. Users can use it to browse the web or weather, set notes or timer, play music via Spotify, display a gallery of photos with transitions and even see what’s inside the fridge without opening it, just to name a few. The thing that really differs and elevates Samsung from Xiaomi is that Samsung offers a wider range of home appliances from the fridge, TV, Air-conditioners to dryer, washer and even dishwasher. We are all very familiar with these huge home appliances and how they are being necessitated in our daily lives, but when ubiquity is being integrated, the functions are just, fascinating. It enables users the ability to take a peek inside your fridge while grocery shopping or adjusting your fridge’s temperature and ensuring there are ices for you to enjoy a cold beverage once you have gotten home. The investigation of who is the culprit who ate your cake in the fridge would be ironically, a ‘piece of cake’.

Video 3 - August Smart Lock App (3:23)

Video 3 illustrates the August Home App which is another interesting and novel application. ‘Open Sesame’ isn’t a fantasy anymore, with the August, your door can be automatically unlocked and lock via GPS or the amazing voice of yours. Apart from that, you can now know if your door really locked or being left ajar, give someone access to your house temporarily and even receiving an alert if when your children have come home. All these features are enabled via the App, giving the user convenience and ease of mind. Now James’ will never have to worry being locked out as his phone can now be his virtual key to his ‘sanctuary’.

p.s. James had lost his keys three times in his life.


Nevertheless, James foresees Ubiquitous Apps are currently and going to be largely integrated into our daily lives in the near future. With the Pros of bringing convenience and giving users the omnipresent feeling of controlling or anticipating (with automation) things within their surroundings, there are always Cons similar to “putting all eggs in a basket”, scenarios like user’s phone is lost, or battery drained, not mention connectivity issues, may just occur due to Murphy’s Law. SIRI may not diferentiate voices and accent accuracy too. There is still a long way for the technology to be reliable and James is really looking forward to not losing his home keys for the fourth time.


Samsung SmartThings App Video-

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