Apple's HomeKit smarthome platform picks up new device types & controls

Posted:
in iPhone
Even though it was first announced in 2014, Apple's HomeKit is only now starting to establish a solid foothold in the home automation market. The platform should make some real strides towards the end of 2016, not the least because of new kinds of supported accessories and control options.




Some of the new accessory types include various forms of "air treatment" equipment -- namely humidifiers, purifiers, and conditioners/heaters. Previously HomeKit could only control air through a compatible fan or thermostat.

What Apple spent special time on during its WWDC keynote, though, was doorbells and cameras. HomeKit-ready doorbells will support things like volume and "visual indicator" control, and event triggers that can link with other accessories. One might for instance have extra outdoor lights come on when someone visits at night.

Something a little more interesting is the ability for doorbells to capture photos or live streams of the people who push them. Apple's Home apps for iOS 10 and watchOS 3 will let people see these feeds from notifications -- in the case of iOS 10, even from a device's lockscreen. In some instances these notifications will have associated options like using an intercom or unlocking a door.




The new camera support won't be limited to doorbells however, which bodes well for other HomeKit-enabled security systems. Users will be able to adjust camera settings, as well as audio playback and recording.

In next major version of tvOS, the fourth-generation Apple TV will gain the ability to control HomeKit accessories through Siri. There will be limits -- no control over smartlocks, for example -- but users will at least have power over things like lights and thermostats, and multi-accessory "Scenes," as on iPhones and iPads.

iOS 10 should make it generally easier to use HomeKit without Siri or third-party apps, thanks not only to the dedicated Home app but a new Control Center pane.

Don't expect to take advantage of any of these features soon -- iOS 10, watchOS 3, and the new tvOS are still in beta form, and won't be released until later this year. It will also take time for major accessory makers to prepare new products, although some are already in the pipeline, and a few existing devices will be getting upgrades.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 422member
    Judging by the way developers have been dragging their feet on simple things like extensions, I don't have high hopes that these functions will be baked into products anytime soon.
    jackansi
  • Reply 2 of 8
    jackansijackansi Posts: 116member
    "Apple's HomeKit is only now starting to establish a solid foothold in the home automation market."

    I see no foothold at all yet.  It has a hell of a way to go till it even touches AMX's level.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,043member
    I applaud Apple for trying to provide the platform for homekit to grow - as opposed to certain company who abandoned their over-hyped projects midway. Apple really does walk the walk, instead of just talk the talk. Yes, it's in early stage, but there is already a market for it and there is already the platform for it, I don't see any reasons the developer have to keep continue dragging their feet.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 925member
    jackansi said:
    "Apple's HomeKit is only now starting to establish a solid foothold in the home automation market."

    I see no foothold at all yet.  It has a hell of a way to go till it even touches AMX's level.
    It's got a foothold at my house. Every switch and the heat/air is HomeKit controlled. The manufacturer's software keeps getting better. Lutron's Caseta App, in particular has been steadily improving. It certainly shipped as a Minimally Viable Product, but it has leveled up to support most of the things HomeKit seems to offer now. It seems well positioned to implemement the new features as they become available.

    Personally, I'm looking forward to Sensor integration so ANY of my exterior lights can respond to motion sensors.

    And video doorbells with Lock integration seems pretty sweet for high value package deliveries (Like the Mid 2016 Mac Pro I REALLY want to order!)
  • Reply 5 of 8
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    polymnia said:
    jackansi said:
    "Apple's HomeKit is only now starting to establish a solid foothold in the home automation market."

    I see no foothold at all yet.  It has a hell of a way to go till it even touches AMX's level.
    It's got a foothold at my house. Every switch and the heat/air is HomeKit controlled. The manufacturer's software keeps getting better. Lutron's Caseta App, in particular has been steadily improving. It certainly shipped as a Minimally Viable Product, but it has leveled up to support most of the things HomeKit seems to offer now. It seems well positioned to implemement the new features as they become available.

    Personally, I'm looking forward to Sensor integration so ANY of my exterior lights can respond to motion sensors.

    And video doorbells with Lock integration seems pretty sweet for high value package deliveries (Like the Mid 2016 Mac Pro I REALLY want to order!)
    I'm going to plead a bit of ignorance here about what HomeKit brings to the table vs what Lutron's devices and app could do without it? Obviously those devices work on Android devices with Lutron's Android app. Are there features that HomeKit brings to the iOS version that Android can't/doesn't deliver? I have a Lutron smart outlet that works just fine without HomeKit. As do my light switches, thermostat, and security camera.

    Apple delivering a unifying app would definitely be welcome so I don't need one app for lights, another for my thermostat, and another for the security camera. Without such an app, I always thought HomeKit was kind of pointless...which may explain its slow adoption by developers. Making HomeKit-only devices doesn't make sense because you'd be ignoring a very large potential customer base (Android users and/or people who have already started building their home automation on the existing protocols). And if HomeKit doesn't add any significant capabilities over what is already possible with the existing protocols, then including HomeKit in addition to those other protocols is more of a marketing play than an actual technology enhancement. And without Apple really promoting HomeKit (until now) it was a pretty weak marketing play, too.

    Currently I use a Wink hub (I also don't get having an iPad as a hub...doesn't the hub need to always be on and always be connected to your devices to control and coordinate them?). The Wink app unifies all of my devices regardless of the protocol they use (except HomeKit), but I don't have FULL control. For example, I can set the temperature on my thermostat, but can't edit the weekly thermostat schedule. I can arm/disarm my Canary security camera, but can't view the video footage in the Wink app. For those things I need to use the dedicated apps for the thermostat and the Canary. In the Wink app I can create schedules and basic scripts to coordinate between devices. I assume Apple's Home app will have similar capabilities. But then were is the hub that runs the schedules and scripts? AppleTV, I assume. But what if you don't have an AppleTV? And if I still need other dedicated apps to control the advance features of my devices, does Home (and HomeKit) get me anything that the app for my existing hub doesn't already do?
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 6 of 8
    jackansi said:
    "Apple's HomeKit is only now starting to establish a solid foothold in the home automation market."

    I see no foothold at all yet.  It has a hell of a way to go till it even touches AMX's level.
    I don't think Apple is attempting to replace control systems like AMX. There is a market to unify all the DIY type home control products which is not the same as AMX, Crestron, Control4, etc... There is room in the marketplace for both types of systems. I believe the new Home app is the missing link for HomeKit it really take off.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    wiggin said:
    polymnia said:
    It's got a foothold at my house. Every switch and the heat/air is HomeKit controlled. The manufacturer's software keeps getting better. Lutron's Caseta App, in particular has been steadily improving. It certainly shipped as a Minimally Viable Product, but it has leveled up to support most of the things HomeKit seems to offer now. It seems well positioned to implemement the new features as they become available.

    Personally, I'm looking forward to Sensor integration so ANY of my exterior lights can respond to motion sensors.

    And video doorbells with Lock integration seems pretty sweet for high value package deliveries (Like the Mid 2016 Mac Pro I REALLY want to order!)
    I'm going to plead a bit of ignorance here about what HomeKit brings to the table vs what Lutron's devices and app could do without it? Obviously those devices work on Android devices with Lutron's Android app. Are there features that HomeKit brings to the iOS version that Android can't/doesn't deliver? I have a Lutron smart outlet that works just fine without HomeKit. As do my light switches, thermostat, and security camera.

    Apple delivering a unifying app would definitely be welcome so I don't need one app for lights, another for my thermostat, and another for the security camera. Without such an app, I always thought HomeKit was kind of pointless...which may explain its slow adoption by developers. Making HomeKit-only devices doesn't make sense because you'd be ignoring a very large potential customer base (Android users and/or people who have already started building their home automation on the existing protocols). And if HomeKit doesn't add any significant capabilities over what is already possible with the existing protocols, then including HomeKit in addition to those other protocols is more of a marketing play than an actual technology enhancement. And without Apple really promoting HomeKit (until now) it was a pretty weak marketing play, too.

    Currently I use a Wink hub (I also don't get having an iPad as a hub...doesn't the hub need to always be on and always be connected to your devices to control and coordinate them?). The Wink app unifies all of my devices regardless of the protocol they use (except HomeKit), but I don't have FULL control. For example, I can set the temperature on my thermostat, but can't edit the weekly thermostat schedule. I can arm/disarm my Canary security camera, but can't view the video footage in the Wink app. For those things I need to use the dedicated apps for the thermostat and the Canary. In the Wink app I can create schedules and basic scripts to coordinate between devices. I assume Apple's Home app will have similar capabilities. But then were is the hub that runs the schedules and scripts? AppleTV, I assume. But what if you don't have an AppleTV? And if I still need other dedicated apps to control the advance features of my devices, does Home (and HomeKit) get me anything that the app for my existing hub doesn't already do?
    In my opinion, HomeKit has be in a public beta until now (or when iOS 10 is released). Having a single app to bring all the products together is a critical step to helping HomeKit make it assemble to the masses. I have tried some of the 3rd part home kit apps and frankly they aren't very good. I am looking forward to the Home App. I was just about to get a Ring doorbell and MyQ for my garage door, but will now wait until the HomeKit version is released. Since having the Home SHOULD allow me to have a goodnight scene to turn off lights, lock the door and close the garage door. This is the benefit of having HomeKit and the Home app. Currently you only need the AppleTV to control the products via Siri away from home (not sure if this will change with iOS 10). But for $69, it's not a big investment for a home control system. Some products may still require their hubs (like Lutron will always require a hub of some time since it communicates at 434mhz, not wi-fi or bluetooth). If an iPad is home, as long as its not off tasks can run in the background. Using Siri to control my Lutron lights is fun but 99% of the time I use the Today view from my lock screen to activate my scenes and geofencing for when I come home.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 925member
    sblunden said:
    wiggin said:
    I'm going to plead a bit of ignorance here about what HomeKit brings to the table vs what Lutron's devices and app could do without it? Obviously those devices work on Android devices with Lutron's Android app. Are there features that HomeKit brings to the iOS version that Android can't/doesn't deliver? I have a Lutron smart outlet that works just fine without HomeKit. As do my light switches, thermostat, and security camera.

    Apple delivering a unifying app would definitely be welcome so I don't need one app for lights, another for my thermostat, and another for the security camera. Without such an app, I always thought HomeKit was kind of pointless...which may explain its slow adoption by developers. Making HomeKit-only devices doesn't make sense because you'd be ignoring a very large potential customer base (Android users and/or people who have already started building their home automation on the existing protocols). And if HomeKit doesn't add any significant capabilities over what is already possible with the existing protocols, then including HomeKit in addition to those other protocols is more of a marketing play than an actual technology enhancement. And without Apple really promoting HomeKit (until now) it was a pretty weak marketing play, too.

    Currently I use a Wink hub (I also don't get having an iPad as a hub...doesn't the hub need to always be on and always be connected to your devices to control and coordinate them?). The Wink app unifies all of my devices regardless of the protocol they use (except HomeKit), but I don't have FULL control. For example, I can set the temperature on my thermostat, but can't edit the weekly thermostat schedule. I can arm/disarm my Canary security camera, but can't view the video footage in the Wink app. For those things I need to use the dedicated apps for the thermostat and the Canary. In the Wink app I can create schedules and basic scripts to coordinate between devices. I assume Apple's Home app will have similar capabilities. But then were is the hub that runs the schedules and scripts? AppleTV, I assume. But what if you don't have an AppleTV? And if I still need other dedicated apps to control the advance features of my devices, does Home (and HomeKit) get me anything that the app for my existing hub doesn't already do?
    In my opinion, HomeKit has be in a public beta until now (or when iOS 10 is released). Having a single app to bring all the products together is a critical step to helping HomeKit make it assemble to the masses. I have tried some of the 3rd part home kit apps and frankly they aren't very good. I am looking forward to the Home App. I was just about to get a Ring doorbell and MyQ for my garage door, but will now wait until the HomeKit version is released. Since having the Home SHOULD allow me to have a goodnight scene to turn off lights, lock the door and close the garage door. This is the benefit of having HomeKit and the Home app. Currently you only need the AppleTV to control the products via Siri away from home (not sure if this will change with iOS 10). But for $69, it's not a big investment for a home control system. Some products may still require their hubs (like Lutron will always require a hub of some time since it communicates at 434mhz, not wi-fi or bluetooth). If an iPad is home, as long as its not off tasks can run in the background. Using Siri to control my Lutron lights is fun but 99% of the time I use the Today view from my lock screen to activate my scenes and geofencing for when I come home.
    In answer to Wiggin: What HomeKit brings to the table is the interoperability. For example: Lutron does't make HomeKit Motion Sensors, and I doubt they would, its outside their specialty as far as I can tell. Their App won't talk to 3rd party sensors. But perhaps Belkin will make some HomeKit motion sensors. Let's say they do. A more robust HomeKit (and Home App) would allow for triggers from the Belkin Motion Sensors to activate the Lutron Light Switches.

    The evolving Lutron App shows me what their hardware is capable of. HomeKit will need support for the features of the Lutron App to allow total interoperability. But if the Lutron App had no features to speak of, I wouldn't be optimistic that HomeKit could add capability beyond the Lutron App's built-in capabilities.

    I think the manufacturer's Apps are an indicator of how committed they are to the Apple/HomeKit market. My experience has been steady, substantial improvements. The Apps offer a superset of HomeKit's capabilities which I suspect will become available through HomeKit as HomeKit becomes more sophisticated.

    Apple is talking about HomeKit and the manufacturers are building and upgrading their HomeKit devices and controlling Apps. One might imagine Apple is waiting to see where the manufacturers take their devices before 'pouring concrete' on new HomeKit features.

    I take that as a vote of confidence in the system.

    Amazon is delivering a Hue HomeKit hub & starter kit today. Looking forward to that, the Ambience bulbs are very interesting.

    Clearly I'm an early adopter, but seeing the progress made, I don't feel my optimism is unjustified.
    edited June 2016
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