Tips and advice

Apple HomeKit and smart home: Everything you need to know

4.4/5 - (64 votes)

HomeKit is a protocol from Apple that enables home automation and is already available with the launch of some smart accessories. In this article we explain exactly what Apple HomeKit and smart home and what you can do with it.

Apple HomeKit and smart home

HomeKit from Apple is a protocol that allows various devices and accessories in the home to communicate with each other. The products are not all made by Apple and by many more external parties. Take, for example, the Philips Hue lamps, which can be operated with your iPhone. There are many more products to mention. In principle, any device or smart accessory in the house can be linked to HomeKit, as long as they support that protocol. Apple wants to make home automation easier with this.

Apple’s HomeKit was first introduced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2014. The name is a combination of “home” (from the words home automation ) and “kit” ( software development kit ). All products that support the HomeKit protocol can be controlled easily, securely and most importantly quickly with your voice using Siri, Apple’s digital voice assistant, and of course work with the company’s iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV. .

The idea behind HomeKit is to provide every room in the house with smart equipment that supports the protocol, so that you can then operate, control and set it up from one place. For example, you can set the slats to close automatically at nine in the evening. You can also start something with a specific voice command (“Turn on the lights in the living room”) and start again with a broader command (“Good morning”) and a series of automatic actions. Without extra effort.

You can recognize a HomeKit accessory by the logo that you see at the very top of this article. These products all have their own apps with which you can control them. Siri can be seen as a kind of overlapping interface that brings the apps and accessories together under one heading. However, to gain full access to everything that a smart product has to offer, you still really need to use the app for that product. So the experience for Apple’s smart home isn’t completely seamless yet – but what isn’t may still come.

It is also important to know that communication between product and app is provided with end-to-end encryption. This means that all information between the two communication points can only be sent and received by those two points. Third-party apps are therefore not able to view this information or control products at home without your consent. In a world where we automate more and more things and link them to the internet, this is a big and important part.

Are products already available for HomeKit?

Yes, there are currently some products on the market that can communicate with Apple’s protocol. There are not very many of them yet, but they are there. Every product must first be approved by Apple, which takes quite some time. Especially because the company sets high standards for those products (and possibly those requirements are also constantly changing, which only makes the process slower). In addition, those products must also have gone through the Made For iPhone program and Apple wants to see whether the apps do follow the guidelines of the App Store.

Are there any minimum requirements for HomeKit?

If you are wondering what requirements you have to meet in order to use HomeKit, then we have good news: they are (if all goes well) minimal. You need an iPhone or iPad with at least iOS 8.1 , Apple Watch with watchOS 2 or an Apple TV 3 or higher. You probably already have one or more of these products if you are interested in HomeKit. Furthermore, you obviously need HomeKit products, more of which will appear in the future. There is no generic HomeKit app.

You do have to download a different app for each product, but you can simply find it in the Apple App Store. You download it on your device and continue the pairing process on the screen. You can then operate the devices in the house from the various devices. It is also possible to arrange things at home from a distance. For that you need a modern Apple TV, which you are logged into with iCloud with the same AppleID. Once you have done that, you can also control your HomeKit house from a distance.

Setting up HomeKit takes some effort

If you have HomeKit products all over the house (there is a list of available products on Apple ‘s website ) and you want to control them from anywhere in the house, you will have to set up HomeKit properly. For example, every room in the house must have a separate name and a name cannot appear twice (otherwise Siri will not know which room the command is for). Also, each device and function must be given a clear name that cannot match. Fortunately, the available apps do take a lot of work off your hands.

Fortunately, you also have the option to create groups at home. For example, you can say “Good evening”, after which all lights and some other appliances in the house will go out, without having to walk past each room to check if you have forgotten something. In addition, it is also possible to place all kinds of sensors in the house: for example, one at the garage, which only opens when your car arrives, or the door, which will be opened when you arrive with your Apple Watch smartwatch to wrist.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment