Future Proofing Your Smart Home for Apple HomeKit Compatibility
As the smart home scene has geared up, everyone has been waiting to see what Apple’s HomeKit will bring to the table—and we finally got a look at it during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Here are some of the most exciting products that we’ve seen, and some advice on making sure you can use HomeKit with as many devices as possible.
A quick note before we get started: if you want to use Siri with HomeKit-compatible devices while you’re outside of your home network, you’ll need Apple TV to act as a secure gateway back into your network. Within your home, you won’t need an Apple TV.
Insteon Hub Pro
You might be wondering what a smart home hub is doing at the top of the list when most HomeKit items don’t need a hub at all—but Insteon’s offering makes all of their existing products compatible with HomeKit. This means you can already outfit your entire home, from outlets and plugs to thermostats and locks, with devices that will work with HomeKit. That’s something that not very many companies can offer.
The Insteon app, because it’s HomeKit-based, can also control any other HomeKit devices that you have in your house. All of this makes the Insteon Hub a killer deal at $150 (you can preorder it from the Insteon website).
While the Nest currently rules the smart thermostat space, Honeywell is going after it in a big way with the Lyric, which will be getting HomeKit support in the near future. As with other smart thermostats, you can control it from your phone and let it learn to manage the temperature of your home for optimal energy savings.
One of the coolest features of the Lyric is that Honeywell is designing it to work well with the Apple Watch —you’ll be able to control the thermostat from your wrist, get a quick snapshot of the temperature in your house, and even use the geofencing feature to turn on Out of Town mode with a single tap when you’re away from home. You can buy the Lyric now for $215, and the Apple Watch will likely be arriving sometime this April.
There are plenty of smart home IP cameras out there, but Withings has created one that stands out from the crowd. The Home packs HomeKit support, environmental sensors, a 12-hour timelapse view in the app, and the ability to send alerts to your phone giving you advice on what to do if there are changes in the environmental quality. It even has voice control and a night-vision mode.
Between the home monitoring capabilities, the HomeKit compatibility, and the great aesthetics of the Withings Home, it looks to be a serious contender for the title of best IP camera for your smart home. You can buy it for $200, which isn’t out of the standard price range for an IP cam.
Schlage is one of the big names when it comes to locks, and they seem eager to make a mark in the smart lock space, too. Their first Bluetooth lock, the Sense, will be HomeKit-compatible, and will also include a touchscreen keypad so you can unlock the door if you don’t have your phone. When you do have it, though, you can program the Sense to unlock when you approach the door.
Siri interacts with the Sense, as well: you’ll be able to ask her if your door is locked and she’ll tell you, which will be great when you’re on your way to work and can’t remember if you locked the door. No word on pricing or a release date yet, but this is going to be a really cool lock.
Incipio Power Products
Incipio makes a wide range of products, but their new entries into the smart home category look to be good ones to start your HomeKit smart home with. The Wireless Smart Outlet is just like other smart plugs : you can control it from your phone. It only takes a single space on a wall outlet, and at $25, it’s very modestly priced. The Wireless Smart Power Strip ($60) integrates one smart plug with three standard ones, letting you power four devices and control one from your phone.
You might not think of smart home products when you think of Incipio, but their HomeKit-compatible power solutions look like they’ll be great for smart home newcomers or enthusiasts. They also debuted a Light Bulb Adapter that lets you control any bulb in your house from your phone, which is more cost effective than buying all new smart lamps. All of these products are listed as “coming soon” on the Incipio website.
Future-Proofing Your Home with HomeKit
If you’re looking create a smart home that’ll work well with your Apple products, these HomeKit-compatible devices are all good ways to go. It’s also worth keeping in mind that while Apple is looking to make HomeKit work with many devices, there are quite a few that won’t work.
Bridge products will make Z-wave and Zigbee products work with HomeKit, but products that use wi-fi to communicate, like the Nest thermostat, won’t be allowed to bridge with HomeKit. Some Bluetooth-controlled devices will work, but only ones that don’t offer control over the home—so these will likely be limited to sensors.
If you’re looking to get into HomeKit, it’s best to double-check that the product you want is compatible. Three of the biggest names that are missing from the list are Nest, WeMo, and SmartThings. While Belkin has announced plans to try to make WeMo products compatible with HomeKit, there’s no timeline that we know of. And don’t hold your breath on Nest—Apple and Google don’t tend to play nice. As for SmartThings, we’ll have to wait and see, though initial reports suggest it may.
Are you planning on using HomeKit to control your smart home? Which devices are you most excited about? What will you be buying first? Share your thoughts below!