I read a paper written by Microsoft on HomeOS. Just from reading, I do have to give credit to them for being pioneers in the field. We do know that there are some difficulties using their system and devices, but their innovative idea on PC abstraction is indeed very promising for smart homes and user satisfaction.
Microsoft advocates centralized PC operating system for home and decentralized network of devices because 1)all devices will be connected and this connection will allow for smart home functionality, 2)it is easy to add devices since they are not closed system, 3)users already know how how to use computers, and 4) it is easier for developers to implement functionality without worrying about devices.
The common challenges faced in developing smart homes are: 1)users are not experts in technology, 2)inconvenience vs insecurity, 3)the fact that modes of connection can vary(Wifi, Ethernet, 3G, ZWave), 4)there can be conflict between devices(ex. a climate control application may want the window open when a security application wants it closed), 5)different homes have different requirements as to how activities should occur, 6)and users frequently want to grow their technology incrementally, as their preferences evolve, which may not later be compatible with a newer version of OS.
With all of the above in mind, Home OS was created based on user interviews and feedback from a study/trial of implementing the system in 12 real homes. People were able to get email notifications with photos when the front or back door is opened at unexpected times, and could turn lights on and off using gestures with Kinect.
This paper is a good reminder of why we want IoT. Also, it shows much more can be done with Kinect, in which we will try to implement gesture functions later in the research.