What is HomeKit?
In case you missed it, HomeKit can be understood as kind of an Apple approved hardware platform developers can use to create iOS compatible smart home solutions that integrate easily and securely with Apple’s iOS.
Apple has created frameworks for various devices, but roll out of these has been relatively slow. CES 2016 saw a range of new HomeKit accessories appear, some of which offer new twists.
OneLink Smart Wi-Fi Safe, First Alert
First Alert’s OneLink Safe is the kind of smart technology you’d imagine would already have been in place to prevent the Hatton Garden safe deposit robbery. OneLink is a small home safe equipped with an accelerometer that will send an alert to your iPhone if someone attempts to move or open it. The safe, which an authorized user can open with Siri or the accompanying iPhone app, connects to your HomeKit network over Wi-Fi.
Lyric Thermostat, Honeywell
There are already lots of thermostats but Honeywell’s move to offer one of its own reflects the increasing importance of smart home solutions to well established names in the energy and utility device provision markets. The thermostat can be controlled from anywhere, supports geofencing and will monitor energy use. I imagine we’ll see more iOS compatible energy devices in future – next week I’ll explain why Apple should embrace this market and develop a smart meter.
Smart window shades/blinds, Lutron Electronics
Lutron Electronics makes the Serena and Sivoia QS Triathloon motorized window shades/blinds. The company chose to announce the introduction of HomeKit support to the Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge at CES. In use you can schedule different window shade settings or use Siri to control the shades to the level you need.
Symphony and Signal fans, Hunter Fan
The Symphony and Signal fans cost under $400 and can be controlled from anywhere using HomeKit, Siri or an app on your iPhone. You can set the fans to run simulate activity in your home when you’re away, or to switch on lights and get your space to the right temperature before you arrive home, for example. You can also integrate these with your other HomeKit accessories to improve home energy efficiency. Manufacturer, John Hunter, calls the fans “smarter than most politicians”.
Among the first dedicated developers to deliver HomeKit solutions, Elgato announced new products for its Eve range of devices at CES, a smart power outlet and light switch. Eve Energy can turn plugged-in appliances on and off using Siri or the Eve app on an iPhone, and offers energy consumption monitoring tools. The light switch is designed to replace existing sockets. The products launch later this year.
iDevices Wall Switch and Dimmer Switch
iDevices introduced a range of HomeKit accessories at the show, including these connected wall and dimmer switches. You can use these to replace conventional switches in order to control lighting across your home using an iPhone app. The products (which feature customizable LED night lights) should be available in Q2 2016. The company also introduced a connected wall outlet – basically a smart plug socket you can use to control, monitor and schedule power to attached devices.
ConnectSense Smart Water Sensor
If you collect books, comics or other perishable memorabilia you’ll be interested in Grid Connect’s new ConnectSense Smart Water Sensor. The device monitors your space for any sign of a water leak and will alert you so you can take action fast. The company also announced a Temperature and Humidity sensor at CES 2016. These products supplement the company’s existing range of HomeKit compatible home security products.
Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt
Schlage introduced the Smart Deadbolt (which also supports Apple Watch) at CES. HomeKit support means you can open the lock with your Apple Watch, by asking Siri on your devices, using an iPhone app or by manually entering the correct door entry code.