Establish KDE Technologies (Plasma, Applications, Frameworks) as the top choice for Smart Homes
Open, Needs TriagePublic

Description

Description

Smart Home (which I here define as "Home automation combined with a digital assistant") is one of the big things that home appliance and consumer electronics companies are focusing on recently.
Every device, from the fridge to a light bulb, have "smart" variants nowadays.

However, while several FOSS solutions exist in this space, especially the convenient digital assistants are still dominated by proprietary software.

This is a serious threat to our Vision: If people run KDE software on their desktops - and hopefully in the future their phones and tablets - but still have all those devices in their homes which listen to their every word, know all about even their most private habits, and send all that information back home without any user control over it, our efforts have been pretty much for nothing.

That is why the area of home automation and digital assistants are an crucial front on the battle for user privacy and freedom, and I believe KDE could fulfill an important role on that front.
Qt is optimized for embedded systems, and especially with the Mycroft integration in Plasma, we are in a perfect position for becoming the #1 Free Software smart home hub.

There are three main areas where we could provide excellent user interface products:

  • Desktop Smart Home hub (Plasma and Applications)
  • Mobile control applications
  • Embedded UIs (e.g. smart home control panels in the house)

Furthermore, our libraries could be useful in that area as well (Kirigami!).

This would require strong collaboration with projects like Mycroft or openHAB, who have the connections needed to actually get onto devices.

What it will take

  1. Gather the requirements that such user interfaces would have to fulfill
  2. See what we can already offer and determine the delta
  3. Develop what's needed
  4. Promote our solutions to users as well as hardware vendors

How we know we succeeded

  1. The majority of users of open / open-standards-compatible Smart Home systems install KDE software on or use KDE software with them
  2. Smart homes ship our software on their control panels
  3. Smart home companies recommend users to install KDE software to use with their systems

I am willing to put work into this

  • Aditya Mehra - I can work on mycroft integration, developing Qt/Qml user interfaces for different platforms, connecting smart API's and applications

I am interested

colomar created this task.Oct 2 2017, 7:21 PM
colomar moved this task from drafting to ready for discussion on the Goal settings 2017 board.
ngraham added a subscriber: ngraham.Oct 2 2017, 7:27 PM

A venn diagram of "People who care about privacy" and "people who buy and use smart home devices" doesn't have a lot overlap, I fear.

If you buy a device that monitors everything about your behavior, house, and life, haven't you already lost the battle by deciding that you don't really care about your privacy? I don't see how we can salvage this situation for people who aren't very interested in the concept. We might want them to care about privacy, but if they did, that would have an always listening spy gizmo in their house in the first place.

Aiix added a subscriber: Aiix.Oct 2 2017, 8:08 PM

I am interested on working on this as well, I think there is always a choice for people who care about privacy on what smart products and devices they buy and trust as there are many smart electronics manufacturers following open APIs to allow developers to make use of there upcoming tech. Always listening devices do not need to always be listening or transmitting but as currently everyone till now in the smart devices market has only seen propitiatory implementation of these devices so there is a general negative outlook built up towards digital assistance and smart home systems when it comes to privacy.

Currently with an open source implementation like Mycroft, this privacy control is put right back into the hands of users who have a choice of wanting to use certain API's provided by the manufacturers or upstream capabilities or even writing their own to interact with their own device, there is nothing being forced on a user right from being able to work completely offline within one's own local network including running a service like speech recognition locally to knowing and being able to control exactly what data and meta data is going to any API endpoint by a user.

Aiix updated the task description. (Show Details)Oct 3 2017, 3:21 PM

A venn diagram of "People who care about privacy" and "people who buy and use smart home devices" doesn't have a lot overlap, I fear.

If you buy a device that monitors everything about your behavior, house, and life, haven't you already lost the battle by deciding that you don't really care about your privacy? I don't see how we can salvage this situation for people who aren't very interested in the concept. We might want them to care about privacy, but if they did, that would have an always listening spy gizmo in their house in the first place.

This is a total "black or white" view, which does not match reality.
With that thinking, we shouldn't be making any apps for Android, either. Because why would someone who buys a smart phone that stores everything on Google servers by default care about privacy?

There are several people within KDE who own Amazon Echo and/ or Google Home devices as well as other home automation devices. Do none of them care about privacy? I don't think that's the case. For them, the benefits of these devices outweigh the cost to privacy, but that doesn't mean they don't value their privacy at all, or wouldn't want a more privacy-friendly alternative.

lydia added a subscriber: lydia.Oct 4 2017, 9:38 PM

FTR I'm one of these people @colomar describes ;-)

Well, if I'm not wrong we can develop an infrastructure with software that allows people to build their smart home systems. People go to Google and Amazon because it's easy and it's already working. But we can develop one more solution that cares about privacy and leaves the user to extend the project without the limitations that Google and Amazon have.
Amazon, for example, allows you to build your own echo device, you can check on this video: https://youtu.be/vreyairMTwY?t=1m40s
There's also this open source platform, Home Assistant, wrote in Python, and is quite modular on the case of automating stuff for home.
What I mean is, we still have time to join the "market", and I think that we already have the boilerplate to do it.
We have on one side the IoT market, that is basically accessible and open source, and the other the software side, that lacks on good and open source solutions(at least in my point of view)

@laysrodrigues Yes, that is exactly what this proposal is about :)

obogdan added a subscriber: obogdan.Mon, Nov 6, 9:18 PM

Thanks everyone for helping draft this proposal. The voting has started. If you are an active KDE contributor and have not received an invitation to the vote please send me an email to lydia@kde.org.