HomeKit isn't ready yet for your front door

Posted:
in General Discussion
Smart video doorbells equipped with HomeKit Secure Video are just now starting to hit the market. While they offer many great features and deep integration into Apple's smart home platform, they are still plagued by inadequacies.

Logitech Circle View Wired Doorbell
Logitech Circle View Wired Doorbell


HomeKit Secure Video was a bold move for HomeKit. It became the first HomeKit feature that cost users money, requiring users to pay $2.99 or $9.99 for either 200GB or 2TB of storage, enabling up to five cameras to record ten days of footage to iCloud. Users weren't required to use any third-party apps or rely on any third-party cloud servers. This inherently made putting cameras in your home more secure and less risky.

Apple made it even better by adding the much-requested ability to add zones as well as facial recognition to HomeKit cameras. These went a long way towards improving HomeKit's video capabilities and making them on-par with other offerings flooding the market.

I appreciate HomeKit Secure Video and have relied on it consistently inside my home. But, it falls significantly short of being ready to serve as the brains of a video doorbell.

I've tested many HomeKit devices, but the HomeKit Secure Video Doorbell category has been slim. The Robin ProLine and Robin ProLine Compact support HomeKit Secure Video but are very expensive. Netatmo has long-promised HSV but has yet to roll the feature out to its video doorbell that supports vanilla HomeKit.

Logitech's announcement of its Circle View Wired Doorbell was a big deal in the HomeKit space and I, like many, rushed to pick one up. After living with it for the past week, it is clear while Logitech's hardware is top-notch, there is much work for Apple to do in the HomeKit space.

Real world time with a HomeKit Secure Video doorbell

Notifications couldn't be more crucial on a camera at the entrance to your home. They alert you to visitors, packages, or uninvited intruders. Too few, you miss things. Too many, you stop looking at them.

Upon first setting up my HomeKit Secure Video Doorbell, I almost immediately was inundated with notifications. They came in repeatedly and quickly, without pause. This is the default state and, in practice, was near unusable as lights, leaves, tree branches, and ribbons from Christmas decorations continued to trip the motion sensor.

Alerts from a HomeKit Secure Video doorbell
Alerts from a HomeKit Secure Video doorbell


To make the barrage more manageable, I used HomeKit's abilities to only allow specific notifications. I tailored them only to show when a person or car is detected. This still yields excessive alerts for me. What happens is because my car is parked in front of my door, some errant motion would trip the sensor. Then the AI video analysis done on my Home Hub determines that there is a car in the frame, and thus I get alerted that a vehicle was detected-- even though it's mine, and it never moved.

The AI still has work to do as well when it comes to person detection. Too often has my doorbell notified me that a "person" was at the door when there was no one around. Somehow a minute amount of background motion trips the camera, and HomeKit's analysis identifies a person, despite the lack of one.

While sometimes I got alerts there was a person when there wasn't, I also had the inverse happen.

A HomeKit video doorbell in the Home app
A HomeKit video doorbell in the Home app


There have been times where I found a package on my porch, and yet there was no recording of the delivery driver bringing it up or a notification. Somehow the AI decided that it wasn't a person carrying the package and thus didn't alert me or record any video. This is disconcerting for a device that is supposed to be protecting my home.

A small amount of this is due to early hardware. In particular, Logitech uses video analysis to detect motion, which isn't as accurate as a PiR sensor, which can have its sensitivity adjusted. A PiR sensor is more accurate than video analysis at detecting motion and could save some of the hassles I've been experiencing, but only a small amount.

Even with a PiR sensor for detecting motion, it still doesn't alleviate the issues with Apple's erratic notifications and inconsistent video analysis done by your Home Hub.

Maybe 2021

I hate to be pessimistic as HomeKit has made giant leaps in 2020. We saw significant enhancements to HomeKit video, HomeKit Secure Video doorbells launched, we got our first two HomeKit air purifiers, Apple launched Adaptive Lighting, we saw the launch of Thread on HomeKit and more.

HomeKit is still fantastic, and doorbells have many benefits including chiming on HomePod
HomeKit is still fantastic, and doorbells have many benefits including chiming on HomePod


There are a ton of benefits to a HomeKit doorbell. The ability to ring your HomePods and appear on your Apple TV is amazing, and any other smart doorbell can't do this. And then, there's the integration with other HomeKit accessories such as lights or door locks.

Even with the issues outlined above, I still find it worth having a HomeKit Secure Video doorbell. I do have the ability to put up with more problems than your average user does or should have to.

While I'm sticking with it, HomeKit isn't ready for your own front door today. Here's hoping Apple has some improvements in store for 2021.
Dogpersonpatchythepirate
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    Does the Netatmo unit suffer the same issues and limitations? I realize the Logitech is cheaper; but if the Netatmo doorbell is better able to handle these issues, that might well justify the extra $100 or so.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 25
    DoomFreakDoomFreak Posts: 18unconfirmed, member
    Thank you for this article.  I was thinking about replacing my Ring doorbell with a HomeKit alternative.  Given the notification issue I am now not getting one.  I think that would only serve to frustrate my wife.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 3 of 25
    longpath said:
    Does the Netatmo unit suffer the same issues and limitations? I realize the Logitech is cheaper; but if the Netatmo doorbell is better able to handle these issues, that might well justify the extra $100 or so.
    FTA: “Netatmo has long-promised HSV but has yet to roll the feature out to its video doorbell that supports vanilla HomeKit.”

    That probably means Netatmo is also having these problems with HSV. As a result, they haven’t rolled it out.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 25
    I too purchased the Logitech CircleView Wired Doorbell.  While not perfect, it seems to work much better for me than it has for Mr. O'Hara.  I have front lights controlled by Leviton HomeKit light switches.  I thought, wouldn't it be nice if motion detected by doorbell turned on front lights?  Well.. motion detection tripped all night long.  So.. fail.  I hope future updates will make better.

    While there is the ability to limit Action Zone, I don't want to miss events that I feel are important.  

    People, Animal, Dog protection works fairly well for me. 

    I have disappointment in that video is only stored for event detection.. I cannot seem to go back and look over all video.  

    In short, I like the Logitech Doorbell.  It mostly works well.  I am hopeful future updates bring needed refinement.

    Update:  Another bug to mention.  It allows chime to HomePod - but fails for me.  Prolly as my two HomePods are Stereo Pair.. but still.  Bug
    edited December 2020 cg27kiehtanroundaboutnowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 25
    If the video analysis, detection, and presumably initiation of notifications is happening on the doorbell device as the article states, what "video analysis" is the home hub doing?
    watto_cobraRayz2016
  • Reply 6 of 25
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,005member
    When I clicked on this article I expected a long list of reasons to support its premise, but seems like a pretty short list to support the conclusion that it's "not ready for your front door."
    kiehtanRayz2016
  • Reply 7 of 25
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,183member
    I’m curious about the feature that rings HomePods when the doorbell button is depressed. Are there choices for what chimes or sounds will play? 

    It’d be nice to have good sound quality chimes (Westminster, for instance) that sound like the real thing. 

    I guess because people don’t know any better, most standard doorbells that use recorded chimes play a crappy low-bitrate recording and/or truncate the normal long decay of acoustic chimes and bells. It’s a pet peeve. That’s the best the technology could do thirty years ago, but most manufacturers haven’t bothered to improve it as technology and costs should’ve allowed. 
    watto_cobratenthousandthings
  • Reply 8 of 25
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,808member
    It'll just take some time for Apple to catch up with HomeKit. They are easily a year or two behind the competition. As far as video doorbells integrating into other ecosystem devices, Amazon and Ring are quite far along on this front. It's very easy to set up an Alexa Routine to announce on all of your Alexa devices when someone rings your doorbell, or simply opens any entryway equipped with a sensor. The ability to specify the audio message to announce, like "The basement rear door is opened" (or closed) makes it very handy for letting you know what's happening in parts of your house you are far away from. Doorbell presses are also conveyed to Alexa devices. Being able to ask Alexa to "Show me the front door" on any video equipped Alexa device (Show 5/8/10, Spot, FireTV) and interact directly with the camera or video doorbell via audio and video is very nice, especially when these video equipped devices like the Show are so inexpensive. 

    Ring cameras have a very extensive set of options for setting up detection zones, detection sensitivity, people-only detection, detection schedules, detection snooze, night vision, through-window capability on some cameras, recording snapshot frequency (max once every 30 sec) and duration, attaching snaphots to notifications, device linking, etc. Frankly, the feature set for Ring cameras and the Ring Alarm system ($100/year with unlimited camera uploads with 60 day history, professional monitoring) is amazing. As a bonus, most Alexa devices (including the lowly Dot) also function as glass breakage detectors and smoke/CO alarm listeners when in Away mode. 

    This is not a plug for Amazon/Ring, it's simply a reminder that Apple HomeKit has a lot of catching up to do on the functionality side and with broader device support. The performance and security of Z-Wave Plus that Ring uses is excellent as is the responsiveness of Alexa, in general, and its interaction with smart devices like smart plugs and lighting. I swapped my kitchen HomePod with an Echo Studio (moved the HomePod to a different room to serve as a sound bar) and the improvement in response time to my queries going from Siri to Alexa is extremely noticeable, even for Apple Music related queries. Yeah, HomePod sounds better but Siri is, how do I say this, a "little slow." 

    So what are the vulnerabilities in the well rounded systems like Amazon-Ring that Apple can exploit? The number one thing that comes to mind is the latency between camera detection (motion or button press) and video availability. With Ring, everything goes up to the cloud first, before being available for viewing on any device. All of my Ring cameras are PoE powered and connected to gigabit Ethernet, but my upload speed is mediocre so there is still a noticeable delay between getting a motion notification or button press and seeing what's there. Download performance is great.

    Ring has a performance optimized companion viewer app called Rapid Ring that is definitely faster than their main app, but it still has some latency. The ideal situation for me would be to allow simultaneous live streaming over the same local network for at least one camera while also pumping the video up to the cloud for archival purposes. This feature would be a game changer. Yeah, I can put together my own local camera capture and recording system but integration of all of these smart devices, sensors, cameras, etc., around a cloud based ecosystem brings so many benefits to bear, and also some risks, that I would be hard pressed to give up after having used them so successfully for so long.

    I know what I'm going to say next may sound radical to some folks, but I wouldn't say if I hadn't already taken part in such a move that was highly successful. Apple should consider spinning off HomeKit into an independent consortium or association of smart home vendors, of which Apple would remain an executive member of the leadership council. This is akin to what they've done with the Swift programming language. The success of HomeKit is based on its widespread adoption, and Apple isn't really contributing enough organically and uptake by third parties is too slow. Moving HomeKit outside of Apple would provide third parties with more incentive to put more skin in the game because they are helping to steer the ship. Apple, as an executive board member would still provide stewardship over the technology core and ensure that the tenets that are so important to Apple, like security and privacy, are never compromised. And just to be clear, I'm talking about moving HomeKit outside of Apple, physically and legally, not simply having Apple invite third parties to participate in Apple's gig like they do with developers and partners. 
    edited December 2020 cg27patchythepirate
  • Reply 9 of 25
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor
    longpath said:
    Does the Netatmo unit suffer the same issues and limitations? I realize the Logitech is cheaper; but if the Netatmo doorbell is better able to handle these issues, that might well justify the extra $100 or so.
    Very good question. The limitations here I wanted to be clear were largely on the HomeKit side, not the hardware side. Im not sure on the motion sensor used on the Netatmo (review coming soon BTW) but the HomeKit analysis is done on the Home Hub, so most of the issues will still be prevalent.

    That said, Netatmo can still be better because you can turn off HomeKit notifications, let HomeKit still record, and rely on the Netatmo app for notifications. That could yield better results because it is doing the analysis, not HomeKit.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 10 of 25
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor

    sgs46 said:
    If the video analysis, detection, and presumably initiation of notifications is happening on the doorbell device as the article states, what "video analysis" is the home hub doing?
    This is the workflow for HomeKit. The doorbell constantly is scanning the video and whenever motion is detected, it sends a frame to the Home Hub to analyze it to see what is in the frame and if it is the activity zone. If there is motion in the zone and it fits with whatever filters you have on, it sends you the notification. The only thing the camera does is scan for the motion. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 25
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor

    flydog said:
    When I clicked on this article I expected a long list of reasons to support its premise, but seems like a pretty short list to support the conclusion that it's "not ready for your front door."
    - Sends too many errant notifications
    - Misses obvious motion such as a person walking to your door
    - Misidentifies detected motion which can cause notifications to accidentally show or not show depending on your settings
    - Isn’t able to differentiate packages
    - iCloud limits you to 5 cameras

    Honestly, the fact that a security camera can completely miss a person walking to your front door is reason enough to “not be ready” but the remaining four reasons reinforce that handily. It is a security camera so it doesn’t do all that many things, but it needs to do them well. I’m not sure what other reasons there could possibly be.
    dewme
  • Reply 12 of 25
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor

    AppleZulu said:
    I’m curious about the feature that rings HomePods when the doorbell button is depressed. Are there choices for what chimes or sounds will play? 

    It’d be nice to have good sound quality chimes (Westminster, for instance) that sound like the real thing. 

    I guess because people don’t know any better, most standard doorbells that use recorded chimes play a crappy low-bitrate recording and/or truncate the normal long decay of acoustic chimes and bells. It’s a pet peeve. That’s the best the technology could do thirty years ago, but most manufacturers haven’t bothered to improve it as technology and costs should’ve allowed. 
    As it stands, it is only a default chime sound. You can choose which HomePods ring, but you can’t change the tone. it is definitely an Apple tone though and not a common one.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 25
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor

    dewme said:
    It'll just take some time for Apple to catch up with HomeKit. They are easily a year or two behind the competition. As far as video doorbells integrating into other ecosystem devices, Amazon and Ring are quite far along on this front. It's very easy to set up an Alexa Routine to announce on all of your Alexa devices when someone rings your doorbell, or simply opens any entryway equipped with a sensor. The ability to specify the audio message to announce, like "The basement rear door is opened" (or closed) makes it very handy for letting you know what's happening in parts of your house you are far away from. Doorbell presses are also conveyed to Alexa devices. Being able to ask Alexa to "Show me the front door" on any video equipped Alexa device (Show 5/8/10, Spot, FireTV) and interact directly with the camera or video doorbell via audio and video is very nice, especially when these video equipped devices like the Show are so inexpensive. 

    Ring cameras have a very extensive set of options for setting up detection zones, detection sensitivity, people-only detection, detection schedules, detection snooze, night vision, through-window capability on some cameras, recording snapshot frequency (max once every 30 sec) and duration, attaching snaphots to notifications, device linking, etc. Frankly, the feature set for Ring cameras and the Ring Alarm system ($100/year with unlimited camera uploads with 60 day history, professional monitoring) is amazing. As a bonus, most Alexa devices (including the lowly Dot) also function as glass breakage detectors and smoke/CO alarm listeners when in Away mode. 

    This is not a plug for Amazon/Ring, it's simply a reminder that Apple HomeKit has a lot of catching up to do on the functionality side and with broader device support. The performance and security of Z-Wave Plus that Ring uses is excellent as is the responsiveness of Alexa, in general, and its interaction with smart devices like smart plugs and lighting. I swapped my kitchen HomePod with an Echo Studio (moved the HomePod to a different room to serve as a sound bar) and the improvement in response time to my queries going from Siri to Alexa is extremely noticeable, even for Apple Music related queries. Yeah, HomePod sounds better but Siri is, how do I say this, a "little slow." 

    So what are the vulnerabilities in the well rounded systems like Amazon-Ring that Apple can exploit? The number one thing that comes to mind is the latency between camera detection (motion or button press) and video availability. With Ring, everything goes up to the cloud first, before being available for viewing on any device. All of my Ring cameras are PoE powered and connected to gigabit Ethernet, but my upload speed is mediocre so there is still a noticeable delay between getting a motion notification or button press and seeing what's there. Download performance is great.

    Ring has a performance optimized companion viewer app called Rapid Ring that is definitely faster than their main app, but it still has some latency. The ideal situation for me would be to allow simultaneous live streaming over the same local network for at least one camera while also pumping the video up to the cloud for archival purposes. This feature would be a game changer. Yeah, I can put together my own local camera capture and recording system but integration of all of these smart devices, sensors, cameras, etc., around a cloud based ecosystem brings so many benefits to bear, and also some risks, that I would be hard pressed to give up after having used them so successfully for so long.

    I know what I'm going to say next may sound radical to some folks, but I wouldn't say if I hadn't already taken part in such a move that was highly successful. Apple should consider spinning off HomeKit into an independent consortium or association of smart home vendors, of which Apple would remain an executive member of the leadership council. This is akin to what they've done with the Swift programming language. The success of HomeKit is based on its widespread adoption, and Apple isn't really contributing enough organically and uptake by third parties is too slow. Moving HomeKit outside of Apple would provide third parties with more incentive to put more skin in the game because they are helping to steer the ship. Apple, as an executive board member would still provide stewardship over the technology core and ensure that the tenets that are so important to Apple, like security and privacy, are never compromised. And just to be clear, I'm talking about moving HomeKit outside of Apple, physically and legally, not simply having Apple invite third parties to participate in Apple's gig like they do with developers and partners. 
    Totally agree that others are ahead of the game here, including Ring.

    As far as the independent group, Apple is somewhat doing that. They are working with others on a smart home consortium in developing a standard for smart home devices which should enable faster development and easier deployment across multiple platforms. This gives Apple a say in how everything communicates but also still allows them full control over HomeKit so that it can be built deeply into iOS. It is the deep roots in the Apple ecosystem that makes HomeKit so incredible to use. The doorbell showing on the Apple TV and chiming on HomePod are a good example of that.
    watto_cobraRayz2016
  • Reply 14 of 25
    longpath said:
    Does the Netatmo unit suffer the same issues and limitations? I realize the Logitech is cheaper; but if the Netatmo doorbell is better able to handle these issues, that might well justify the extra $100 or so.
    I have Netatmo indoor and outdoor cameras. They support HSV, but the Netatmo app is much better. You don't have to activate HSV to use motion detection in Homekit scenes and automation. You also can use the Netatmo app and HSV simultaneously.
    roundaboutnowwatto_cobraRayz2016
  • Reply 15 of 25
    I know Ring/Echo/Alexa has a lead over Siri/HK because there was a significant advantage to the development time for Alexa. 

    But I will not trust Amazon with my data. Nor Google or Facebook/Instagram, for that matter. Too many times those companies have been caught in lazy data security, or simply bartering your data for value. 

    I value HK because I trust Apple to do the right thing by me. I don’t feel the same way about the the other companies. 
    jdgazwatto_cobrawhoDeanRayz2016
  • Reply 16 of 25
    2 weeks with the Logitech doorbell, I've had a much better experience then the author.

    Never misses a human.  Notifications are completely customizable.  Works seamlessly in my roughly 100 device homekit environment.

    Then again, I have a garage, so my vehicle isn't parked on video permanently.

    The only criticism I can agree  with is the 5 camera ICloud limit.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 25
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,765member
    I can wait. I've got SecuritySpy recording an ancient standard def, clandestine Axis camera feed at my front door. SecuritySpy handles motion detection and does not miss people at the door. The only false triggers come from leaf shadows from trees moving in the wind. I can reduce  those by "painting" out areas in the frame to prevent false triggers. The app also has sensitivity sliders that help reduce false alerts. I see no reason why Homekit can't offer something similar for fine tuning how it responds to motion triggers.

    I would love to see Homekit Secure Video allow me to download clips automatically so I can archive them. I like to save my video longer than 10 days. Also, since I have SecuritySpy I'd like one of these cameras to allow me to record continuously -  maybe even with Homekit encrypted video. Would be a nice option on an M1 Mac Mini to have it be a Homekit Secure Video server so to speak.
  • Reply 18 of 25
    d_2d_2 Posts: 98member
    dewme said:
    ...
    So what are the vulnerabilities in the well rounded systems like Amazon-Ring that Apple can exploit? The number one thing that comes to mind is the latency between camera detection (motion or button press) and video availability. With Ring, everything goes up to the cloud first, before being available for viewing on any device. All of my Ring cameras are PoE powered and connected to gigabit Ethernet, but my upload speed is mediocre so there is still a noticeable delay between getting a motion notification or button press and seeing what's there. Download performance is great.

    Ring has a performance optimized companion viewer app called Rapid Ring that is definitely faster than their main app, but it still has some latency. The ideal situation for me would be to allow simultaneous live streaming over the same local network for at least one camera while also pumping the video up to the cloud for archival purposes. This feature would be a game changer. Yeah, I can put together my own local camera capture and recording system but integration of all of these smart devices, sensors, cameras, etc., around a cloud based ecosystem brings so many benefits to bear, and also some risks, that I would be hard pressed to give up after having used them so successfully for so long.

    ...

    This is very well said.

    Adding ... every video security system that I have tried (many, at various price points) has its issues and vulnerabilities. Thus, there’s still plenty of room for improvement, IMO. Whoever gets closest to a smooth and (mostly) all-encompassing video security platform will depend on how well the many use cases are understood, as well as development resources. Apple surely has the latter, but will they choose to focus on the former is a key unknown.

  • Reply 19 of 25
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,808member

    dewme said:
    It'll just take some time for Apple to catch up with HomeKit. They are easily a year or two behind the competition. As far as video doorbells integrating into other ecosystem devices, Amazon and Ring are quite far along on this front. It's very easy to set up an Alexa Routine to announce on all of your Alexa devices when someone rings your doorbell, or simply opens any entryway equipped with a sensor. The ability to specify the audio message to announce, like "The basement rear door is opened" (or closed) makes it very handy for letting you know what's happening in parts of your house you are far away from. Doorbell presses are also conveyed to Alexa devices. Being able to ask Alexa to "Show me the front door" on any video equipped Alexa device (Show 5/8/10, Spot, FireTV) and interact directly with the camera or video doorbell via audio and video is very nice, especially when these video equipped devices like the Show are so inexpensive. 

    Ring cameras have a very extensive set of options for setting up detection zones, detection sensitivity, people-only detection, detection schedules, detection snooze, night vision, through-window capability on some cameras, recording snapshot frequency (max once every 30 sec) and duration, attaching snaphots to notifications, device linking, etc. Frankly, the feature set for Ring cameras and the Ring Alarm system ($100/year with unlimited camera uploads with 60 day history, professional monitoring) is amazing. As a bonus, most Alexa devices (including the lowly Dot) also function as glass breakage detectors and smoke/CO alarm listeners when in Away mode. 

    This is not a plug for Amazon/Ring, it's simply a reminder that Apple HomeKit has a lot of catching up to do on the functionality side and with broader device support. The performance and security of Z-Wave Plus that Ring uses is excellent as is the responsiveness of Alexa, in general, and its interaction with smart devices like smart plugs and lighting. I swapped my kitchen HomePod with an Echo Studio (moved the HomePod to a different room to serve as a sound bar) and the improvement in response time to my queries going from Siri to Alexa is extremely noticeable, even for Apple Music related queries. Yeah, HomePod sounds better but Siri is, how do I say this, a "little slow." 

    So what are the vulnerabilities in the well rounded systems like Amazon-Ring that Apple can exploit? The number one thing that comes to mind is the latency between camera detection (motion or button press) and video availability. With Ring, everything goes up to the cloud first, before being available for viewing on any device. All of my Ring cameras are PoE powered and connected to gigabit Ethernet, but my upload speed is mediocre so there is still a noticeable delay between getting a motion notification or button press and seeing what's there. Download performance is great.

    Ring has a performance optimized companion viewer app called Rapid Ring that is definitely faster than their main app, but it still has some latency. The ideal situation for me would be to allow simultaneous live streaming over the same local network for at least one camera while also pumping the video up to the cloud for archival purposes. This feature would be a game changer. Yeah, I can put together my own local camera capture and recording system but integration of all of these smart devices, sensors, cameras, etc., around a cloud based ecosystem brings so many benefits to bear, and also some risks, that I would be hard pressed to give up after having used them so successfully for so long.

    I know what I'm going to say next may sound radical to some folks, but I wouldn't say if I hadn't already taken part in such a move that was highly successful. Apple should consider spinning off HomeKit into an independent consortium or association of smart home vendors, of which Apple would remain an executive member of the leadership council. This is akin to what they've done with the Swift programming language. The success of HomeKit is based on its widespread adoption, and Apple isn't really contributing enough organically and uptake by third parties is too slow. Moving HomeKit outside of Apple would provide third parties with more incentive to put more skin in the game because they are helping to steer the ship. Apple, as an executive board member would still provide stewardship over the technology core and ensure that the tenets that are so important to Apple, like security and privacy, are never compromised. And just to be clear, I'm talking about moving HomeKit outside of Apple, physically and legally, not simply having Apple invite third parties to participate in Apple's gig like they do with developers and partners. 
    Totally agree that others are ahead of the game here, including Ring.

    As far as the independent group, Apple is somewhat doing that. They are working with others on a smart home consortium in developing a standard for smart home devices which should enable faster development and easier deployment across multiple platforms. This gives Apple a say in how everything communicates but also still allows them full control over HomeKit so that it can be built deeply into iOS. It is the deep roots in the Apple ecosystem that makes HomeKit so incredible to use. The doorbell showing on the Apple TV and chiming on HomePod are a good example of that.
    Thanks for the feedback. 

    I’m aware of Apple’s involvement with the smart home alliance, along with Google, Amazon, and the  Zigbee Alliance. IMHO this alliance is unlikely to gain the kind of traction that will further differentiate HomeKit from  competing offerings. All of the big players are going to continue to push their proprietary technology stacks, APIs, certification standards, and licensing models. I’m struggling to see how an alliance or consortium built around multiple competing proprietary standards helps end users with device interoperability and ease of integration. I guess it’ll be adapters, bridges, gateways, proxies, and protocol converters. 

    The absence of Z-Wave in the smart home alliance is conspicuous, when they probably have the most mature specifications, are a separate legal entity, and don’t have a big tech member (or three) pushing competing ecosystems. 

    I’d be more inclined to want to see a HomeKit Alliance structured more like the Z-Wave Alliance so that device makers, application software vendors, chipset makers, and toolkit vendors (Independent companies providing hw, fw, and sw technology stacks to help device makers get on HomeKit) have more influence over the standard, which will have to evolve over time. I’d also like to see involvement from standards bodies like IEEE and IEC and partnerships with technical universities, which is a common theme for building adoption for standards based technologies, especially outside of North America and even more so in Germany with its excellent technical universities and vocational training tracks. 

  • Reply 20 of 25
    I have not been able to understand why Apple has not entered into designing and manufacturing these IoT devices and integrating them into its overall systems.
    Instead they produced HomeKit and wait for Third Party vendors to produce compatible devices -- which has been a terribly slow and painful process.

    If Apple would invest in producing an overall, integrated solution we would (likely) have devices that are more secure and work better -- and get it all sooner.   And Apple would have another lucrative growing market.
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