Apple's HomeKit technology has many benefits. With support for HomeKit built into some connected devices, such as Elgato's Eve range and its Eve Room indoor sensor, you can turn any home into a smarthome quickly and easily. You can then manage it from your mobile device using Apple's Home app, as well as control it with your voice through Siri.
Your HomeKit-enabled connected devices can be controlled locally via your phone, or remotely via an Apple TV connected to your home Wi-Fi network.
You can program time-related commands, such as having your connected lamps turn on or off at specific times each day, for instance and HomeKit also supports non-scheduled events, such as turning on all your connected lamps when a connected motion sensor is triggered.
Here's everything you need to know about HomeKit and a number of reasons why, when turning your home smart, it should be at the top of your list.
What is HomeKit?
Apple's HomeKit technology might seem really confusing, but it's not.
It basically allows connected devices from various manufacturers to work together, and it gives you a uniformed way of controlling all those devices at once, in a given scene, using an iPhone, iPad, and even an Apple Watch.
HomeKit lets you create "scenes" to control your connected devices in different combinations. You could create a scene called "leaving home" for example, which might turn off your smart lights, lock all your doors, and lower your smart thermostat - all with a single command.
Siri can recognise any HomeKit-enabled connected devices you have in your home, so you can ask Siri to turn a device on or off.
HomeKit-enabled connected devices are smart accessories with built-in support for Apple's HomeKit technology. They can be lights, locks, thermostats, plugs, switches, sensors, shades, etc. Over 50 brands worldwide make accessories that work with HomeKit, including Elgato Eve.
Elgato's Eve range currently consists of Eve Energy (switch and power meter) (Buy: UK, US), Eve Room (wireless indoor sensor), Eve Weather (wireless outdoor sensor), Eve Thermo (thermostatic radiator valve), and Eve Door and Window (wireless contact sensor).
Why should you invest in a HomeKit device?
Here are five reasons why you should invest in HomeKit-enabled devices:
HomeKit-enabled devices can offer energy efficiency opportunities. The Eve Energy Switch and Power Meter, for instance, lets you instantly see how much energy your devices are using and see their consumption at a glance over a set time. You can view graphs by week, day, or minute historically, with the accompanying Eve app being intelligent enough to forecast what your yearly electricity bill will be given your current usage. No more shock bills. Thanks to Bluetooth Smart, all Eve accessories are energy efficient enough to run on battery power (except for Eve Energy (Buy: UK, US) which obviously uses wall power).
HomeKit-enabled devices are all about streamlining your day-to-day process, making life more automated and thus easier. The idea is you can not only make your home smart, but also make it just the way you like it. The accompanying free Eve app lets you seamlessly connect your devices, gain insights, build scenes, create automations and control your home right from your mobile device and even by voice commands.
While some HomeKit devices will involve bridges and installation, not all of them do. The Elgato Eve range for example, uses Bluetooth LE rather than Wi-Fi to connect directly to your phone or Apple TV.
That means you don't have to invest in a starter kit or a costly installation, but also that you can easily move the devices around your home or take them with you when you move.
If you rent, it also means you don't have to get permission to make your home smart. That's especially handy when it comes to the Eve Thermo, the intelligent radiator thermostats that make individual radiators smart without having to call out a plumber.
All Eve devices can be installed in five minutes or less. Simply use the Eve companion app to connect an Eve device to your Home Wi-Fi network, then you can use Apple's Home app in order to control it through Siri, as well as make it communicate and work with other devices. That's it.
One of the cool features about HomeKit is that is has been baked into Siri. Yep, you can simply tell Siri to turn your lights down, unlock your front door, or turn off a device plugged into the Eve Energy (Buy: UK, US), for example. There are a number of commands to give, and as you set up scenes, Siri automatically adapts. "Hey Siri, it's movie night!"
Being able to control lights, plugs, and or check room temperatures from your phone is one thing, but where things get really clever is that HomeKit offers an array of automation options if you have an iPad or Apple TV 4 connected to your Wi-Fi network.
By doing so, HomeKit allows you to create a number of rules or triggers based on things that are happening in your system. That could be turning on devices when you get within a set distance of your house, or having something happen if a certain accessory is controlled. You can even go as far as automating things based on the time of day, giving you one rule for daytime and another for after hours.