An Operating System for the Home


Published by USENIX

Network devices for the home such as remotely controllable locks, lights, thermostats, cameras, and motion sensors are now readily available and inexpensive. In theory, this enables scenarios like remotely monitoring cameras from a smartphone or customizing climate control based on occupancy patterns. However, in practice today, such smarthome scenarios are limited to expert hobbyists and the rich because of the high overhead of managing and extending current technology. We present HomeOS, a platform that bridges this gap by presenting users and developers with a PC-like abstraction for technology in the home. It presents network devices as peripherals with abstract interfaces, enables cross-device tasks via applications written against these interfaces, and gives users a management interface designed for the home environment. HomeOS already has tens of applications and supports a wide range of devices. It has been running in 12 real homes for 4–8 months, and 42 students have built new applications and added support for additional devices independent of our efforts.