Building with Homekit Smarthome Products
With $320B in spare cash, Apple has enough money to enter any market it so desires. The Apple Company has jumped into the smart home game in a big way with the HomeKit. There are now hundreds of HomeKit compatible devices available in over a dozen different household categories, including lights, locks, cameras, doorbells, garage door openers, thermostats and more.
HomeKit and the Smart Home
Smart home devices allow you to set schedules for operations, control operations remotely through your smartphone or tablet, and let devices work together more efficiently and effectively. HomeKit is Apple’s smart home controller, introduced in 2015. In the years since HomeKit came on the market, dozens of different makers of home products have created a range of products that work with the controller.
Simple to Set Up and Use
Keep an eye out for the above image on any products you buy.
To use HomeKit, you don’t need a central hub, only an iOS (with the recent version, iOS11) device like your iPhone or iPad, or even an Apple Watch, together with the Home app from Apple, to get remote control of devices installed throughout your home. The system works optimally with an Apple TV at home, or you can use an iPad that stays at home so that it can send you remote notifications and give you control of the home devices remotely through the app.
It is possible to start simple with just a single smart home device along with HomeKit, and then build more smart devices into the system as you go. The thermostat, for example, is one device that you could start with to get more control over power usage and efficiency of the heating and cooling system in your home.
HomeKit is designed around the idea of ease of installation and set up for each smart device you use. If you are comfortable using a smartphone with apps, getting going with HomeKit will be simple. The Home app is installed already on iOS devices. Once you have HomeKit, just open the Home app and you will get a prompt to name your HomeKit network, or go with the default called “Home.” From there it is easy to add new smart devices around your home. Simply use the + button, tap Add Accessory, and aim your phone’s camera at the HomeKit sticker with a numeric code (on the device or in the manual), and select the device name that pops up.
Siri Will Be Glad to Help
Siri responds to voice commands on your iOS device
Once the device is recognized on your HomeKit network you can control it from your iPhone or tablet or even use Siri for voice command control. Some devices don’t allow the full range of control options with voice, and some users report challenges getting the wording just right to get Siri to recognize the device and command you are giving, though.
Expand Your Smart Home Network
After you have made the leap to smart home control with HomeKit and one smart device, you can begin to think of other things around your home to make smarter and more responsive. Fortunately, the number and type of smart home products that are compatible with HomeKit are rapidly expanding.
Want to get tricky and show off your power to control the color of lights? With lots of competition underway, prices have gone down and ‘smart lights’ but still expect high prices per unit. Most have an app you can download to program your settings and change custom colorization.
1 – Philips Hue makes options for lighting in various colors or just white, you can control brightness, color, and more with a range of products. $48 per bulb here.
2 – Lifx offers LED bulbs or light strips that work well with HomeKit. $60 per bulp
3 – Sylvania is a known brand in light bulbs that offers smart lights for use with HomeKit.
4 – Nanoleaf makes energy-conscious LEDs in a variety of unique sets for your smart home.
5 – Elgato offers a range of mood lighting options with dynamic changes in your home’s light.
6 – iDevices makes a smart socket that lets you install normal light bulbs to control with voice commands through Siri.
Even power outlets get smarter when they are HomeKit compatible.
1 – Elgato produces smart outlets in addition to lights, so that you can control devices plugged into it through HomeKit.
2 – iDevices makes outlets for indoor or outdoor use that turn anything plugged in into a smart device you can control through your Home app.
3 – ConnectSense promises to make any device HomeKit-compatible when plugged into this smart outlet.
4 – Incipio makes a smart outlet that also monitors your energy usage of devices plugged into it.
5 – Koogeek offers voice control through Siri for this smart outlet.
6 – PureGear makes a smart outlet that connects to your WiFi and has a USB port on the side.
7 – VOCOlink offers outlets and power strips that give you smart control over devices plugged in to them.
With ecobee thermostats you can add sensors for precise control.
Ecobee is one of the first smart thermostats, and it promises peak efficiency by letting you add multiple sensors throughout the house, with control of the system through Home app with HomeKit.
iDevices offers a thermostat compatible with HomeKit to give you precise control over your home’s temperature.
Honeywell works with Siri to let you raise or lower the temperature in your home.
Windows and Window Coverings
User pushing out a Velux window. Image credit
1 – Lutron makes window shades that are compatible with HomeKit so you can set a schedule to raise and lower shades, helping to control temperature and security of your home.
2 – Hunter-Douglas lets you control your shades through Siri voice commands or on a set schedule if desired.
3 – Velux windows are HomeKit compatible so you can open and close windows remotely or in response to conditions in the environment.
1 – Elgato makes a range of sensors designed to report on conditions in your home, including energy, weather, motion, and door and window status throughout your home.
2 – Fibaro offers a flood sensor with probes to detect moisture and an ambient temperature sensor, very useful for parts of the home like basements that may be prone to flooding.
3 – iHome lets you monitor five environmental conditions from one sensor: motion, temperature, light, sound, and humidity.
4 – Netamo offers a tower sensor to monitor humidity, temperature, and air quality.
Smart and simple security cameras are in. Blink shown
1 – Netatmo offers an outdoor security camera that is compatible with HomeKit.
2 – Logitech produces the Circle 2 camera for home security that works with the Home app.
3 – D-Link created the first HomeKit compatible home camera.
Smart smoke detectors are a thing. Nest C02 shown
1 – First Alert produced the original smoke detector that is compatible with HomeKit.
2 – OneLink makes smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors that work through your Home app with HomeKit in place.
And Many More
This is not a comprehensive list, as more HomeKit compatible products come on the market every month. Many other types of smart home devices are available as well, including garage door openers, fans, air purifiers, doorbells and more. Once you start to build your HomeKit network of smart home devices you will probably begin to find many things around your home that can operate more efficiently, either on a set schedule, in response to conditions in the environment, or by your remote command through your iOS device.