Imagine a home without wall switches. You can't - if you are a practical human being. How much ever the voice commands and touch panels have improved, there is nothing like a fixed mechanical 'thing' on the wall which you know will always be there for you to reach out even in the dark. The switches are the first and most popular 'input device' for people to control equipments running on electricity. Although the omnipresence have depreciated the feel of importance, switches put immense power on people to control their lives.
Switches are remembered in our spatial memory - you reach out automatically to a particular switch on the wall when you think of turning on that light or increasing your ceiling fan speed. This has the shortest learning curve too - as you can experience how quickly you get accustomed to them in a new house or hotel room.
To me, this looks like the reason why many quality home automation and smart switches companies have decided to retrofit the mechanical tactile switch than going ahead with 'app-only' or 'voice-only' controls. Whatever be the smart features that are being introduced through an app-based light or appliance control, the switches have not been completely swapped out.
With Amie Smart Homes, we have gone one step further. We have patented a technology (patent pending) which will allow the detection of fan speed regulators and light dimmers most commonly found in many homes - without breaking it open, and not voiding their warranty. This is a big advantage, since for most customers, there is no compromise on aesthetics of the wall switches and dimmers even if they have to shell out extra bucks.
With this invention, the dimmers you find on the wall becomes yet another 'soft input' and the set point directly gets fed to the smart home processor as a "percentage" number. This dimmer can be assigned to control either your existing fans or lights, or even other devices like air conditioners or room heaters, all the while being in sync with the smart home app, and voice commands. This small invention will definitely help us to achieve our goal of implementing a practical smart home ecosystem.