Technological innovations continue to change people’s lifestyles. Progressive actuators, for example, have revolutionised construction, home automation, robotics, etc. The speed with which new technological inventions and innovations are being incorporated into people’s daily lives is alarming, but the experience is indeed fulfilling. Tech companies have invaded almost every sector and Apple’s entry into the business of home automation was not a surprise.
Since its inception, Apple followed in no one’s footsteps but aimed at revolutionising the world and creating the imaginable. The work and dedication that Apple puts into its products often highlight the organization’s aim of being a leader in whichever field it decides to venture in. In home automation, Apple aims to simplify everything for its esteemed customers by connecting all house appliances and gifting its customers with remote access and control to their accessories. Apple calls their framework Homekit and through it smart home appliances will be able to communicate regardless of their manufacturer.
Apple HomeKit and Home app: What are they and how do they work?
In 2014, Apple introduced the world to Homekit and even from the framework’s name one can sense the tech giant’s intent to revolutionize home automation. Apple has always been sensitive about its products’ ease of use, security, as well as their compatibility with different devices and these, were the guiding principles for Homekit-enabled accessories. Apple device users are indeed a step closer to using the Homekit framework because they only need to download the newly released Home app.
Pocket-lint has made it easier for people with interest in the Home app because they have released a theoretical tutorial which goes even further to explain what the Homekit is as well as how it is connected with the Home app.
Unlike the one app one accessory control mechanism that other manufacturers have been doing, Apple gives their clients a single app but with control to all their Homekit-enabled accessories. Homekit also makes communication easy and with its integration with Siri means that one can even issue voice commands to their accessories. For example, one can use Siri to say “turn off the bedroom light, ” and in an instance, the light will be turned off.
Siri unification or integration becomes automatic once a user completes the setup process. However, despite Apple’s emphasis that it aims at streamlining home automation the truth is that users still need access to the specific apps of each of their accessories. Conversely, security has indeed been enhanced because communication between one’s Apple devices and the accessories is encrypted and thus data theft is not possible. Homekit seems like an innovation from the future, but the truth is, the framework is already available but only limited in use because of the few Homekit-enabled accessories.
Compatibility has always been a problem for tech companies, but Apple has made Homekit compatible with many of its devices including iPhone, iPod, iPad, and the watchOS 2 that run iOS 8.1 and later versions of iOS. Currently, there are only a few Homekit-enabled accessories available, but Apple is working with different companies to help release more Homekit-enabled products into the market. Examples of Homekit-enabled accessories in the market include Elgato, Ecobee, Lutron, iHome, and Insteon and on their product packaging they are all marked with a badge that says “Works with Apple Homekit.”
To use Homekit, one first needs to pair their Apple device with their Homekit-enabled accessory through a Homekit app that is compatible with the accessory. Once the pairing is done, one can then start issuing voice commands through Siri and have their accessories respond. The benefits of using Homekit are indeed limitless, and control is not limited to one’s iPhone but extends to include the Apple Watch.
However, the above might seem tedious because one needs each Homekit-enabled accessory’s app, but apparently, one can group the apps and control several accessories using a single command to Siri. The groups are of course set up by the user and given specific names because Siri needs to know what to control whenever a command is issued. Naming is indeed important because apparently there is a shared database that is used for their storage and whenever a user issues a command, the only accessories that will be controlled are the ones within the specified group. Grouping has its benefits, and one of them includes sub-features, that is, one can connect their accessories to specific scenes and have them respond accordingly.
Additionally, Siri voice commands are not the only way one can control their accessories. One can, for example, use time or their allocation as triggers to the accessories and the effect will be the same.
As if the details provided about Homekit are not astonishingly futuristic, Apple announced a new Home app that will now eliminate the necessity of using the individual apps. With the Home app, one can choose to either control the apps individually or as a group using scenes or commands. The app completely changes what the individual apps allowed one to do because one can arrange their scenes in whichever way that suits them or add new accessories. One can create rooms and specify which scenes they prefer in the rooms. Activation of the different triggers is also not hard, and with the various features provided, one can change their house’s look.
Currently, Apple is enjoying its success in home automation, but with its release of Samsung Smart Home, Samsung announced its interest in home automation. Samsung also unveiled the SmartThings app and proved to be Apple’s leading competitor in home automation. However, Google also declared its interest in the business of home automation with its acquisition of Nest Labs who boast of being the makers of the Nest smart learning thermostat. Users need to brace themselves for an array of mind-blowing home automation innovations because, in this competition, the users will be the winners.