How to decide if investing in a big Homekit setup is right for you

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 30
Apple's HomeKit is growing, and there is now a range of smart devices for every function. Yet there are both potential savings and hidden costs that will make or break your decision on whether to invest. Plus, HomeKit is still more complicated than it should be.




Apple's HomeKit is superb -- but it's not ready yet. Five years after it was released, we're still far from your being able to buy any smart device without checking it out first. And while there are moves to make the devices cheaper, we are still a long way from when your great aunt will be able to pick up a smart bulb without you crossing your fingers and hoping that it will work for her.

However, even though there aren't enough devices yet, and the complexities can be too much for some, HomeKit still is really superb. Once you've got some HomeKit devices in your house, you are likely to want more, and you're deeply unlikely to ever go back.

And, even if you still have to have some experience in iOS and Macs, even if you still have to plan your purchases with care, we are now at the point where HomeKit is possibly a practical and economic solution for your home.

That's because HomeKit is about connecting household devices together and controlling them via iOS or Siri. Those devices are ones that we all have -- and they are ones that we are all likely to replace at some point.

Consequently, the next time you're going to replace a lock, a blind, a bulb or anything else, there will now be a HomeKit option and it can make much more sense to buy that than not.






The question is only partly about what they can do for you. It's much more about whether your situation even allows it

If you're renting or if your house is old, then there are other issues to consider such as permissions, cost, and even whether it's physically possible to install certain devices. You also have to think about accessibility for your family and whether they'll take to HomeKit switches or need to be regularly reminded how to use them. Cost is an issue, but largely tertiary to the above.

Decide if you can be interested

Simply, HomeKit is Apple's home automation technology, competing with several other methods by other vendors. You may also know that there aren't yet as many such devices for HomeKit as there are for Amazon's Alexa, and if you've tried buying any, you'll have found that HomeKit ones are more expensive.

HomeKit devices tend to earn their price by being robust -- and significantly better from a security perspective. If you can control your devices over the internet from outside your home, so could someone else, so Apple's focus on privacy and security with HomeKit is important.

Apple would have us own every Apple device. We're working on it.
Apple would have us own every Apple device. We seem to be getting there.


What you may not know yet, is just why you would bother with any of this when you don't have to. The reason is that there are cost savings when you can set your heat to come on only when you're at home, or when you can turn all the lights off with one command. Equally, there are safety ones when you can have the porch light switch on automatically as you're walking up to the house in the dark.

And then there is sheer convenience. This sounds like a small thing, but it will be what makes you never want to go back to a non-HomeKit life. With HomeKit devices, you can have the lights in your hall and your kitchen and your den switch on when someone enters the room and off again when they leave.

As well as individual lights or even individual rooms, you will also set up zones. Go to bed and call over your shoulder to a HomePod, saying "Hey, Siri, turn off downstairs." If you've set up zones, every light and every smart device could then switch off together.

With any HomeKit setup, you'll never forget to switch off a light -- and you will very quickly forget the last time you ever touched a light switch. You'll be able to check from work whether you locked the door behind you -- and you'll even be able to unlock it from there if you need to let someone in. And you can be able to see who they are, because you've got HomeKit video door locks and security cameras.

Then you'll also have a hub for HomeKit, that Apple calls a Home Hub. All this is, is a central device that is what enables you to remotely control your home devices from wherever you are. However, you've probably already got a device that can be your HomeKit hub, as a HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad can be one.

Don't confuse this with bridges, though, as some devices have "hubs" that enable them to be controlled by HomeKit. Products such as Ikea's Tradfri devices or Phillips' Hue lights both require their own bridging hardware above and beyond any Home Hub.

Fitting a solution

It's possible to buy HomeKit devices that you can use anywhere, in any type of apartment or house, and regardless of whether you're owning or renting the property. A HomeKit-enabled smart bulb, for instance, just goes into the same socket that your old one did. Smart power plugs go into the regular wall socket. And no rental agency is going to complain if you buy a HomeKit lamp.

However, it's expensive to buy a HomeKit bulb for every single light socket you've got. Right now you could buy a six-pack of regular 60W bulbs for about 11 bucks -- or you could spend $40 on a four-pack of Philips Hue HomeKit ones, minus the bridge you'd need.

If you own your home, or you have the permission of the owner, then you can instead fit a HomeKit light switch. The Eve Light Switch will set you back $50 but if you get one of those, you can then have regular bulbs in every light it controls.

It's the same situation with HomeKit plugs. There you could spend anywhere from about $30 for a Wemo Mini Smart Plug to $50 for an Eve model -- or $100 for an Eve triple-outlet.






Or you could spend around $100 and buy a HomeKit wall socket such as the iDevices IDEV0010. You'd have to fit it yourself or maybe hire someone to do that, but from then on you could control any device that you plug into it.

And what's more, you could control that wall or light socket no matter who else you share your house with. Maybe you swear your teenage kids have never switched off a light in their life, but you know they will as soon as it matters.

If you're using smart plugs or smart bulbs, then as soon as anyone switches them off at the wall, you've lost any benefit to their being HomeKit-enabled. HomeKit devices work via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and in both cases they need power.

Whereas, if you have HomeKit sockets, you can turn the devices back on as you decide -- or you can if you have a certain type of household wiring.

Make or break

If your house's electrical wiring does not have a neutral wire, you can't fit HomeKit switches or sockets into the system. HomeKit, or any other type of smart device system, needs there to be some power going to the device at all times. Without that, the device can't communicate and can't be controlled remotely.

It's fair to assume that the majority of houses built since the late '90s have neutral wires. To check that yours does, you can open the switch box -- taking all necessary precautions -- and look for a white wire.

The neutral wire is the white one to the rear. (Source: Leviton)
The neutral wire is the white one to the rear. (Source: Leviton)


As well as taking care whenever you're working with electricity, you can't assume that any maintenance or improvement has been done correctly unless you did it, or supervised it, yourself. If you have any doubts at all, call an electrician.

If you find that your house does not have a neutral wire, you can still buy a lighting solution that doesn't require one, but it's more costly and more limited. You'll need to buy a system such as the Lutron Caseta. Lutron, for example, sells a wireless smart bridge for around $120, and you will need that plus a Lutron dimmer switch for controlling your lights. That's about $55 per switch. So it adds up.

Plus you can't assume that your existing bulbs will work with this system. Lutron maintains a list of bulb types and manufacturers that work with its system.

There's no equivalent for fitting a wall socket if you haven't got a neutral wire, though.

Plan ahead

You have to find out whether your house has a neutral wire, but you should also think ahead to just exactly what you want HomeKit to do for you.

It's not as easy to find HomeKit devices as it should be. Apple maintains a list of types of devices available, though.
It's not as easy to find HomeKit devices as it should be. Apple maintains a list of types of devices available, though.


There's nothing wrong with trying different devices and installing them one by one. Whatever you try, from light bulb to camera to door lock, you're unlikely to go back. However, you're so much more likely to go forward and keep adding new devices that you could end up spending much more than if you planned it all out first.

That's definitely a help later when you have many devices, but it's also a boon right now at the start. Knowing what you want will cut out what you don't. And just try searching Amazon for a 'HomeKit' device. Shockingly, your search results will prominently feature smart devices that are compatible with Amazon Alexa and simply may or may not also work with HomeKit. Narrowing your choices before you start will save you a lot of time searching fruitlessly though these listings.

There's more to it than, say, deciding you want a plain white bulb for your kitchen but one that can turn disco colors for your den. Unfortunately, there's also more to it than is immediately under your control.

Once you've checked that something is rated as working with HomeKit, you are naturally going to be looking for what it does and what it costs. And if it's stupidly hard to get Amazon to tell you what genuinely is HomeKit, it is practically forensic science trying to find out whether the device uses Wi-Fi, low energy Bluetooth, or Zigbee.

The reason that information is rarely in store listings, and may only be hidden away on a manufacturer's site, is that in theory, it doesn't matter. Whichever system they use to communicate, they are still HomeKit and you don't have to set them up any differently, you don't have to even think about how they're working.

Except you do. Wi-Fi HomeKit devices tend to be more robust and can work anywhere on your Wi-Fi network. Bluetooth LE devices are supposed to form a chain to more distant ones, but in practice, they need to be reasonably close to a Home Hub, or a standby one.

Zigbee devices, like the Phillips Hue lights, are also supposed to act as their own repeaters, so that you can have a string of them around the house and it works as long as each bulb is near enough to the next. But, how well this works in practice is variable, and dependent on a number of factors that you don't have control over, such as how your house is constructed, or other sources of radio frequency interference.

This is why we say HomeKit isn't ready for every house on the block. And yet, find us anyone who has schlepped through all this and then decided to go back to having dumb devices. The moment you have those HomeKit lights, the instant you have that HomeKit front door lock that pops open when you drive up, you're hooked.






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cornchip
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    It's pretty easy.  Just avoid the cheap crap that will lure you in and create an unstable system. 


    Lighting 
    Hue for color -  Anywhere you want color there's a Hue option.  They aren't so strong when it comes to just white dimming. 
    Lutron -  In-Ceiling,  chandeliers, etc.  No neutral generally with the Caseta lineup.  Integrates with everything. Bridge is tiny 

    Locks 
    Yale Assure Lock SL 
    August 

    Wall Plugs 
    Wemo Mini 
    TP-Link (when they roll out HomeKit support) 

    Doorbell 
    Netatmo - Coming 

    Camera 
    Logitech Circle 2 Wired 
    Arlo Baby 

    Sensors
    Eve 
    Fibaro 

    Fans
    Hunter -about 6 models now 

    My advice is to stick with larger vendors when you can.  When we transition to an IP based system they'll be the quickest to move. 
    cornchippscooter63
  • Reply 2 of 35
    There is ZERO reason Apple should not have the dominant market position in home automation/voice assistance right now, versus being a 3rd-place afterthought to Google and Amazon. Particularly with the slam-dunk marketing message of privacy protection and the market dominance of Apple Watch in wearables. Where are the Apple-branded cameras? Doorbells? Mini HomePods? There were rumors for YEARS of Apple diving into home automation - long before it was even a passing thought in the minds of Google/Amazon. That one in 2019 should have to try (unsuccessfully, mostly likely) to scrap together an effective (and cost-effective) third-party HomeKit-compatible system when Google and Amazon-compatible offerings are legion is downright embarrassing, and that's not even addressing the fact that Siri has fallen woefully behind the competition in voice assistance despite being first out of the gate by a mile. This is one of Tim Cook's greatest failures in my opinion. Utterly inexcusable. WAKE UP TIM & CO.!
    friedmudMetriacanthosauruswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 35
    True what you say. HomeKit is very much an adventure still, and not a cheap one. After several years of cautious, yet ever deeper wading into the HomeKit morass, I've now got got HomeKit locks, tunable lights, a thermostat, multi-room audio (HomePods, and one magnificently ancient iPod Hi-Fi/AirPort Express combo) and several different brands of security cameras. You'd think that by this time, I'd have had enough, but no. I keep checking my bank account and dreaming of garage door openers, ceiling fan and window blind controls, and God knows what else to come. Intrigued me. Addicted me. Silly, bankrupt me. Pity would be the charitable response. Still, I live alone, so I don't have to worry about misguided family members trying to use actual light switches, or screwing up my genius lists with HomePod requests for Merle Haggard tunes. Even better, in the wake of Phillips' latest software updates. my lights no longer come back on in shades of orange or purple rather than white after a summer power failure, or fail to come back on at all. Yippee! As you've so carefully put it, we're ALMOST there. Really. Honestly. If we've got the do-re-mi....
    cornchiprainmakerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 35
    friedmudfriedmud Posts: 159member
    I'll give my advice.  I've done quite a lot in my house:

    • ~30 Lutron Caseta Switches
    • Lutron ceiling fan controllers
    • Many Hue bulbs to fill in gaps
    • Some Hue taps (on our bedside tables for controlling lamps in our bedroom)
    • Some Hue light switches to fill in gaps
    • 5 Hue motion sensors (hallways, stairwells)
    • Ecobee 3
    • August locks front and back
    • Chamberlain garage door connection
    • Many Lutron Maestro sensor switches for closets, pantry, etc.
    • Many Lutron timer switches for running bathroom fans

    I have a lot of automations to tie everything together... based on occupancy, sunrise / sunset, etc.

    Once you get it all setup... it's awesome.

    BUT - there is a big thing missing from the Homekit ecosystem: a cheap speaker to put in each room.

    And because of that... I highly recommend "cribbing" your Homekit setup by making sure that all of your stuff is compatible with at least one other home automation system: Google or Alexa.

    I went with Google - and I love it.  I have a Home or Home-Mini in every room (and a Home Hub in my bedroom for my alarm clock).  I worked hard to make sure all the same things are setup the same way in both Homekit and Google Home... so that no matter if you're talking to Siri on your iPhone, Apple TV, Macbook, Mac, iPad or if you're talking to any of the Google Homes... everything is the same (as much as possible).

    My fiance loves the system.  She talks to the Google homes all day (NPR (Sunday morning baroque!) is playing on one right now because she said "Hey Google play NPR").  She uses the Home app on her iPhone and she uses the switches on the wall.  She VERY rarely uses Siri (It's just not worth it when Google is so responsive and better understands).

    One of my favorite things is how I have the Hue motion sensors setup with the Caseta driven lights in hallways and on stairs.  Awesome to have the lights automatically go on and off.  I also have different automations setup during the day vs at night... so that the lights only come on very dimly at night (the perfect night-light).

    Overall... it takes a lot of work to get a setup like this going.  I spent many days changing out all the light-switches alone.  But once you have it all working... it just fades into the background.  We're so used to it now that it feels weird when we stay at our families places that don't have any automation.  I always find myself walking up the stairs in the dark and wondering why the lights don't come on automatically :-)

    EDIT: One more important thing.  I have labeled (with a label maker) every switch in the house so that guests / etc. can know what their names are so they can talk to Google to modify them.  I also have a laminated list of things to say to Google that we keep in the Guest room.  The guests learn pretty quickly to say "Hey Google turn off the lights" at night when their in bed (and note: that unlike Siri... Google actually knows what room it's in and turns off JUST the lights in that room with that command!).
    edited April 28 cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 35
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,570member
    HomeKit isn’t too complicated. It’s fine. Buy HK devices, ignore the manufacturer’s crappy app after pairing, use Apple’s Home app to build scenes and schedules. There’s not much more to it. 

    As for an earlier commenter, Apple isn’t going to sell branded cameras and outlets and crap. They aren’t an after-market accessories company. They made the framework as part of their winning, best-in-class platform, and it’s up to third-party accessory companies who specialize in these devices to bring such accessories to market. I don’t find the market lacking in options.

    I have many lights, wall switches, interior outlet plugs, exterior plugs, environmental sensors, etc. It’s all there. 
    edited April 28 cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 35
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    I'm just waiting for Thread to roll out. 

    Home Automation right now is just a tease.   Thread will take it to the next level. 
    edited April 28 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 35
    red oakred oak Posts: 663member
    The Lutron Caseta switches are awesome.  I have 20 I use to run my outside house and landscape lights.  Highly recommend them 

    All in I have 35 HomeKit accessories. It works great.  I love using my watch to turn on my lights 

    I recommend you do NOT use the accessory apps (eg Lutron’s app) to run your HimeKit setup.   Use the main HomeKit app whenever possible  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 35
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 614member
    So far I've seen no reason to install HomeKit or ANY home automation system. It still feels like a solution looking for a problem.
    Lights that come on when I get home? I have motion sensor lights outside my house that do just that, simply, automatically, without any iffy WiFi connection. and it makes no difference if I've forgotten my phone.
    A thermostat that turns up and down when you are home? I have one of those. Like most people we keep a fairly regular schedule. It's warm when we are there, cool when we aren't. I programmed it a few years ago and it's worked flawlessly since then without Siri, or WiFi, or anything.
    Ceiling fan? We have a remote on the table in the living room. Usually when I'm sitting on the couch my phone is across the room charging so this is far easier, and it always works.
    Sure I might leave a light on in the far store room. You know how long I could run an LED bulb before I'd pay for a system that may or may not turn it off when I tap my phone? Oh that's right, my phone is upstairs charging at night so I would have to get up and turn it off from there. Well, if I'm up anyway, it would be easier to just turn off the switch.
    I still see no reason to adopt any of these Home Automation systems. Simpler, more reliable, and cheaper alternatives have been out there for decades.
    hmurchisonbonobob
  • Reply 9 of 35
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,570member
    DAalseth said:
    So far I've seen no reason to install HomeKit or ANY home automation system. It still feels like a solution looking for a problem.
    Lights that come on when I get home? I have motion sensor lights outside my house that do just that, simply, automatically, without any iffy WiFi connection. and it makes no difference if I've forgotten my phone.
    A thermostat that turns up and down when you are home? I have one of those. Like most people we keep a fairly regular schedule. It's warm when we are there, cool when we aren't. I programmed it a few years ago and it's worked flawlessly since then without Siri, or WiFi, or anything.
    Ceiling fan? We have a remote on the table in the living room. Usually when I'm sitting on the couch my phone is across the room charging so this is far easier, and it always works.
    Sure I might leave a light on in the far store room. You know how long I could run an LED bulb before I'd pay for a system that may or may not turn it off when I tap my phone? Oh that's right, my phone is upstairs charging at night so I would have to get up and turn it off from there. Well, if I'm up anyway, it would be easier to just turn off the switch.
    I still see no reason to adopt any of these Home Automation systems. Simpler, more reliable, and cheaper alternatives have been out there for decades.
    Then you’re lacking in imagination. And you’re ignorant about how these systems work if you believe forgetting your phone poses some sort of problem. It’s not about replacing light switches with futzing around on a phone to operate. That isn’t how you use them. You define scenes and schedules that are responsive to the time of day or other sensors. This is why it’s called home “automation”. You don’t need your phone on you for the system to work effortlessly. 

    But thanks for announcing you don’t have any interest in how these products work. I’ll rest easy. 
    edited April 28 svanstromwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 35
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,361member
    Our house has several z-wave sensors and switches. Unfortunately, switching to HomeKit would requite spending several hundred dollars on switches, purchasing a new AppleTV to serve as a hub and spending a few hundred dollars more on compatible sensors and thermostats - that's a pretty though leap to take. If there were a decent bridge to connect z-wave devices to HomeKit, I'd jump on board - I could simply add to the current system or gradually replace with home-kind compatible devices. The other issue I have with HomeKit is cost - HomeKit devices are double the cost of other home-automation devices. 

    Finally I did purchase a HomeKit compatible Ecobee thermostat and tried using it with our 3rd gen Apple TV. Connecting was a pain - it never showed up on the network and I had do do it manually, after that, it wouldn't show up on the eco bee remote app and would only intermittently show up on the HomeKit app. I gave up and just have it connected with the eco bee app and have no problems. 

    Maybe others' experience is different, but my experience with HomeKit has been far from great and I can't see how it's worth the extra money over my Nexia system.
  • Reply 11 of 35
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 614member
    DAalseth said:
    So far I've seen no reason to install HomeKit or ANY home automation system. It still feels like a solution looking for a problem.
    Lights that come on when I get home? I have motion sensor lights outside my house that do just that, simply, automatically, without any iffy WiFi connection. and it makes no difference if I've forgotten my phone.
    A thermostat that turns up and down when you are home? I have one of those. Like most people we keep a fairly regular schedule. It's warm when we are there, cool when we aren't. I programmed it a few years ago and it's worked flawlessly since then without Siri, or WiFi, or anything.
    Ceiling fan? We have a remote on the table in the living room. Usually when I'm sitting on the couch my phone is across the room charging so this is far easier, and it always works.
    Sure I might leave a light on in the far store room. You know how long I could run an LED bulb before I'd pay for a system that may or may not turn it off when I tap my phone? Oh that's right, my phone is upstairs charging at night so I would have to get up and turn it off from there. Well, if I'm up anyway, it would be easier to just turn off the switch.
    I still see no reason to adopt any of these Home Automation systems. Simpler, more reliable, and cheaper alternatives have been out there for decades.
    Then you’re lacking in imagination. And you’re ignorant about how these systems work if you believe forgetting your phone poses some sort of problem. It’s not about replacing light switches with futzing around on a phone to operate. That isn’t how you use them. You define scenes and schedules that are responsive to the time of day or other sensors. This is why it’s called home “automation”. You don’t need your phone on you for the system to work effortlessly. 

    But thanks for announcing you don’t have any interest in how these products work. I’ll rest easy. 
    Oh so then I'll be debugging programming issues with my house. No thanks, I've got better things to do. 
    With one significant exception, the HomeKit devices I've seen replace proven, reliable technologies that just work. Motion sensor lights, programmable thermostats, and such. They just work.
    The one exception would be connected door locks. Those strike me as the WORST OF BAD IDEAS. Get too cold and the locks brain freezes up. Can't fix that with a spray can of lock deicer. And my locks aren't connected to WiFi so  nobody is going to drive by and hack them remotely. 
    Home Automation is still a geeky solution that is cool and all, believe me I understand the appeal. But it is trying to replace solutions that just work without adding useful functions. Ooh I can turn my living room lights on to pale green. No thanks, I want to see what I'm doing. I had a friend that installed a really expensive lighting automation system. He demoed it while we were over there. Later my wife and I were talking about it and we agreed, it was stupid and pointless. Yes he could have different colours and disco chasing light effects, but why. It was a pointless waste of money. 
    Now I do have one thing that could be considered Home Automation, a Roomba. I set it up and it just works, I don't have to do anything else with it. My WiFi could go down, I could delete the app, and it would just work. That's what Home Automation should be; simple, just work, and solve a real problem. So far I haven't seen anything, HomeKit or otherwise, that meets that criteria. "Oh you can use your phone to open your blinds". Thanks, I'm standing next to the window, it isn't that hard, and my system works during a power outage. 
    I learned at an early age the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Stupid. Avoid unnecessary complexity. The Home Automation systems I've seen add unnecessary complexity without adding enough value to make them worth the investment. 
    Maybe in a decade. Until then; pass.
    edited April 28
  • Reply 12 of 35
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    DAalseth 

    I agree with you 100 %.   Home Automation is a hobby.   It's difficult to calculate a true payoff unless you're on solar energy and watching every kilowatt. 
    The primary motivation for installing Lutron Caseta is dimming.   If given the choice between manually dimming a load or going back to toggles I'd choose 
    manual without hesitation because it is a creature comfort. 

    Too many companies are poor at marketing.   Home Auto has to return time to you or reduce the mental clutter of operating your home or it isn't worth in 
    in many cases.  This is why I recommend people go with larger established vendors with reliable product.  Time spent fixing issues cost you money. 


  • Reply 13 of 35
    I remember when it took two years for my local electronics stores to go from 0% of their stereo receivers being "iPod compatible" (ie, a USB plug that let you switch to your iPod as its audio source) to 100%. I guess customers demanded it. If I bought a new home I would demand that all power outlets and wall switches be HomeKit compatible, but so far nobody offers a house that is built that way. If a house didn't have to have high voltage electrical wires running to dozens of wall switches that would likely DECREASE the cost of the new home but builders are still too dumb to realize that yet. They are still charging us more to give us less. Maybe Apple should build homes.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 35
    One thing HomeKit automation is good for, even in its current state, is accommodating itself to varied lifestyles. If, like me, you find it creepy to have lights going on and off as you enter or leave a room, or are unwilling to trust Amazon or Google's to behave itself in your bedroom, there are alternatives. I find that talking to my HomePods or my Apple Watch or my iPhone/iPad works really well for impromptu changes. Having selected lights set to go on or off at certain times, or to dim at certain times, or to go on and off as my iPhone leaves or returns to my local network is also useful, without at the same time requiring me to lead a more time-constrained or regimented life than I'm used to. Likewise with the automated night-time setback and away setting on my thermostat. I also very much like the ability to let trusted folks in and out of my house when I'm not around, and to monitor the interior and exterior of my home from anywhere in the world that has decent internet access, not to mention dialing my local 911 number even when I and my phone are located in a different area code. Flexibility -- different strokes for different folks -- is the rule with HomeKit, not the exception. Of course that also means that you have to know enough about your own habits and preferences to effectively program the patterns that suit you, something which is not always as trivial as it sounds at first. As always with programmable dinguses, though, trial and error, the old standby, will usually see you through....
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 35
    silvergold84silvergold84 Posts: 70unconfirmed, member
    I use HomeKit . It work very well. It’s better that alexa or google home (they are similar to a chatbot). Homekit Siri respect your privacy and is very ready anytime.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 35
    vartvvartv Posts: 10member
    DAalseth 

    Home Auto has ... reduce(d) the mental clutter of operating your home...


    It has... especially lighting inside and outside. Can't wait for Christmas this year. First time it will be all connected via smart devices...
    hmurchisonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 35
    One thing HomeKit automation is good for, even in its current state, is accommodating itself to varied lifestyles. If, like me, you find it creepy to have lights going on and off as you enter or leave a room, or are unwilling to trust Amazon or Google's to behave itself in your bedroom, there are alternatives. I find that talking to my HomePods or my Apple Watch or my iPhone/iPad works really well for impromptu changes. 
    Something is "creepy" by definition if any data is being shared outside your home, especially without your knowledge. Talking to your watch for anything is "creepy" because the request to decode your voice is being sent to Apple's servers. I don't distrust Apple in this regard, but people need to understand that. Whereas using a motion sensor to trigger lights going on and off is not creepy, as long as it's done via a HomeKit device which isn't transmitting your request outside your house. However I wish AppleInsider would write an article explaining when HomeKit actions cause data to be sent back to Apple. I'm unclear on that.
    WTimberman
  • Reply 18 of 35
    One thing HomeKit automation is good for, even in its current state, is accommodating itself to varied lifestyles. If, like me, you find it creepy to have lights going on and off as you enter or leave a room, or are unwilling to trust Amazon or Google's to behave itself in your bedroom, there are alternatives. I find that talking to my HomePods or my Apple Watch or my iPhone/iPad works really well for impromptu changes. 
    Something is "creepy" by definition if any data is being shared outside your home, especially without your knowledge. Talking to your watch for anything is "creepy" because the request to decode your voice is being sent to Apple's servers. I don't distrust Apple in this regard, but people need to understand that. Whereas using a motion sensor to trigger lights going on and off is not creepy, as long as it's done via a HomeKit device which isn't transmitting your request outside your house. However I wish AppleInsider would write an article explaining when HomeKit actions cause data to be sent back to Apple. I'm unclear on that.
    A good point. I'm given to understand, though, that Apple does a lot more Siri processing on device than Google does with Google Assistant, or Amazon does with Alexa. Supposedly that explains not only why Apple should be considered more trustworthy, but also why there's often less latency in the execution of Siri requests than is the case with the other two. Whether that's true or not, and whether or not Apple is now, or continues in the future to be more trustworthy than Google or Amazon, the only real protection from snoops in both the private sector and government agencies is to make it politically dangerous for them to spy on us, or to use the results of their spying to exploit, harass, or falsely prosecute us. Otherwise, it's like putting a jar of cookies where a 3 year-old can reach it, then telling him/her they can't have any.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 35
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 274member
    DAalseth said:
    So far I've seen no reason to install HomeKit or ANY home automation system.
    In my wood shop alone, Siri and HomeKit earn their keep. I can, even over the din of power tools, tell Siri to turn on/off my air compressor, air cleaner and dust collector. This saves me taking my hands off things and running all over the shop. It's the same at dinnertime, where I can set timers, control the range hood, task, and table lighting without the need to wipe my hands. "Hey, Siri. Make coffee." starts my wife's coffeemaker when she wakes in the morning, allowing her to arrive in the kitchen with the pot ready for her. We can open the garage doors upon returning home via car or bicycle without needing to take a garage door opener, nor even to pull a phone out of our pockets. "Hey Siri, I'm home." is sufficient.

    I have non-HomeKit sensor and timer switches where they make sense, but I have 80+ HomeKit devices installed and it all works well enough to put a smile on my face. I've sensed improvement in Siri over time and there's still a long way to go, but we'd never go back.
    WTimbermanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 35
    friedmud said:
    I'll give my advice.  I've done quite a lot in my house:
    • Some Hue taps (on our bedside tables for controlling lamps in our bedroom)
    The guests learn pretty quickly to say "Hey Google turn off the lights" at night when their in bed 
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments; they are helpful. I think I have implemented one improvement over your setup. I have a motion sensor in the bedroom (pointed only at the doorway area, not at the bed) which turns the lights on (in my bedroom and in its conjoined bathroom) for any motion and then turns them off after 2 minutes. In this way I don't need to turn off my lights at night (manually or vocally); instead they turn off automatically after a minute when I'm in bed (for some reason that I don't understand they dim themselves 30 seconds before they go off, which is perfect.) So I don't need a tap controller at my bedside. A Hue tap isn't a bad idea but I like saving money. If I need to switch on the bedroom lights before getting out of bed (which isn't required since there's usually enough light when I get up) my dining room HomePod can take a verbal command even when I'm in my bedroom. Motion sensor and HomeKit are indeed awesome, essentially reading your mind, and they remind me of when that guy unveiled the Segway and said "You THINK forward to go forward." Watch this clip around the 1:00 minute mark: 
    watto_cobra
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