If you haven’t heard of Apple HomeKit yet you soon will.
According to Apple, HomeKit is a framework in iOS 8 for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home. You can enable users to discover HomeKit accessories in their home and configure them, or you can create actions to control those devices. Users can group actions together and trigger them using Siri.
What does that mean to you and me? In order to fully explain that, let’s take a trip down memory lane for some background. In the mid 70s, a company by the name of BSR was marketing a collection of devices that used a home’s electrical wiring, in conjunction with a controller device, and modules that plugged into wall outlets, to turn on and off common household appliances like lights, fans, stereo systems and the like.
You could program these devices to operate at certain hours of the day and night and a common usage was to have the lights in your home come on just before you arrived home. I had several different controllers and many wall modules that I used for lamps, coffee makers and so on.
The major drawback was the very limited ability to do anything other than dim lamps and turn things on and off.
Fast forward a number of decades and the BSR X10 system is still around, but with the advent of WiFi in the home, “smart” LED lamp “bulbs”, “smart” thermostats, “smart” surveillance cameras and systems and the like, the X10 system is doomed.
Each of these so-called “smart” devices uses its own proprietary control system and method. HomeKit is Apple’s attempt to bring order into the Home Automation market. I hope that they succeed because as of now, I have a Nest Learning Thermostat and WallyHome water sensing equipment installed in my home. Although I can control each of these systems with my iPhone via their own apps, there is no one single place for me to go to control them all. While this sounds like a “first world” problem, it will become a real pain as I add “smart irrigation”, “smart door locks” and “smart surveillance” systems to the home.
So, that is the world that Apple wants to organize with HomeKit. If you want to learn more, check out these links to websites and blog posts that I have gathered up for you.
Here is a link to the Apple Developer site: https://developer.apple.com/homekit/ this link is Apple’s announcement to developers and provides the specs they need to develop HomeKit compliant devices.
To give you an idea of what is currently possible (and some of what is to come) TechRadar has complied a list of HomeKit compliant devices: http://www.techradar.com/us/news/digital-home/the-apple-homekit-collection-these-are-all-the-home-appliances-that-work-with-homekit-1291197
Finally, for those of you who like to know how things work, this site will tell all: http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/129922-apple-homekit-explained-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work
I’m pretty excited about the future of home automation. You will need to know about this technology going forward as more and more of the homes that we list and sell will be equipped with these cool new tools!