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When you think of smart home devices, the first things that probably come to mind are smart lighting products or smart thermometers. But there’s a whole world of smart home products out there, many of which you may never have heard of!
In this article, you’ll learn about some of the lesser-known smart home products that are compatible with Apple’s HomeKit. While they may not have achieved the fame of other products, these devices can completely change how you choose to set up your home.
What Is Apple HomeKit?
One of the biggest changes in the smart home market in recent years was the introduction of Apple HomeKit. This protocol allows software developers to make applications that work with home automation products. It also lets manufacturers of existing equipment make gateways that connect to Apple HomeKit as well.
With Apple HomeKit, you can control your devices using an iOS device (through the Apple Home app) or with Siri. In addition to the product types mentioned below, Apple HomeKit compatible products include switches, outlets, sensors, cameras, and more.
1. Window Blinds
Motorized window shades aren’t new, but they are getting better as technology improves. Though more expensive than corded solutions, motorized window treatments are safer, more convenient, and offer longer durability than traditional solutions.
The Serena Motorized Shades by Lutron is just one of the many products that work with the Caséta Wireless Bridge. The remote controlled shades are battery-powered, which means they have no wires, are low maintenance, and are easy to install.
Serena is available in roller or insulating honeycomb styles in over 150 fabrics. Prices vary, depending on your selection
VELUX Active is a new lineup of smart home products currently in development from VELUX and smart home innovator Netatmo. Among these are a Wi-Fi gateway and smart controls for VELUX Integra roof windows and sun screening products. With these tools, users can ensure the optimum indoor climate based on a range of indoor climate parameters, such as temperature, sunlight levels, humidity, and CO2 levels.
The first VELUX ACTIVE products are expected to launch at the beginning of 2018.
2. Smart Ceiling Fans
It wasn’t that long ago that you had to pull a cord to control a ceiling fan. Not anymore. Today’s fans work with wall-mounted terminals, mobile devices, and web-based interfaces.
One of the largest manufacturers of ceiling fans is Tennessee-based Hunter Fan Company. They’re also the first company to offer ceiling fans that work directly with Apple HomeKit.
The company’s line of Symphony and Signal ceiling fans (all under $400) contain both Wi-Fi and Apple HomeKit technology. You can control the fans inside your home with a handheld remote or from anywhere in the world through your mobile devices.
So far, Hunter is the only company to offer HomeKit-compatible ceiling fans. However, work arounds from other smart home products on the market may give you similar functionality on an existing ceiling fan.
3. Smart Locks
Smart locks are one of the fastest growing smart home product lines to receive the Apple HomeKit treatment. There are already three of these products on the market with more on the way.
First among these is the $229 August Smart Lock 2nd Generation, which automatically uses Bluetooth to unlock your door when you approach with your smartphone. It even locks the door behind you when you leave.
Better still, you can create virtual keys for family and guests. You can grant them access for a few minutes, hours, or weeks, or by specifying dates and times. You can also delete guest access in seconds.
The $229 Premis by Kwikset allows you to lock or unlock your door with Siri, an app or code. The Premis includes a capacitive touchscreen with a white LED and features an all-metal housing and tamper-resistant cover. Premis is not compatible with Android devices.
With the Premis, you can assign up to 30 customizable user codes to family, guests, and service professionals. Premis will let you know each time someone uses a code.
Finally, there’s the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt. Also Bluetooth-based, the Sense allows you to talk to unlock your door using Siri. As its name suggests, it also offers sensing capabilities thanks to its built-in alarm sensors. When detecting a potential attack, the Sense issues an alert.
Available in multiple colors and styles, the Schlage Sense is also $229.
Other smart locks with Apple HomeKit compatibility set to arrive on the market include the Friday Lock, OPSO Smart Lock, and Yale Assure Lock Home.
4. Garage Door Openers
With door locks already leaving a mark in the smart home industry, manufacturers are now turning their attention to garage door openers. These include the following.
The NousLogic Watchman Garage Door Controller is just one of the garage door openers gaining Apple HomeKit-compatibility. The Garage Watchman controls access to your home using a unique digital key for one time, a set period of time, or permanent access. There’s also a Home Watchman for front door security.
For pricing information, visit the NousLogic website.
Two new Apple HomeKit-compatible products from Chamberlain are set to arrive on the market. These include the Smart Garage Hub, which allows you to connect Chamberlain MyQ products, such as garage door openers and lights, to the Apple Home app and Siri.
By doing so, you can perform door-related tasks from your iPhone. These include opening/closing, checking the status, and integrating the garage door in HomeKit scenes, which may contain door locks, cameras, and other accessories.
The new MyQ Home Bridge allows existing MyQ smartphone control users to use Apple HomeKit. Products capable with the Home Bridge includes MyQ Garage (1st Generation), the Chamberlain Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener, or any MyQ Enabled Garage Door Openers that use an internet gateway.
There’s no pricing information for the Smart Garage Hub at the time of this writing. The MyQ Home Bridge is $69.
Much More to See
Thanks to Apple HomeKit, you can control smart home products using an app or Siri. These products aren’t just smart lights and smart thermometers. They include lesser known products such as window shades, smart locks, and more. For the latest list of Apple HomeKit products, be sure to visit Apple’s official website.
What new smart home products do you want to try? Let us know in the comments below.