In 2014, as home automation became more prevalent, it subsequently became more inconvenient. If you have a Nest thermostat, a connected Craftsman garage door and Phillips Hue lightbulbs, you must control each of them from their own respective apps. At WWDC 2014 Apple announced HomeKit, a way to unify home automation apps and devices under the same umbrella. Now, 6 months later at CES, HomeKit is slowly but surely becoming more useful and more prevalent.
What is HomeKit?
HomeKit is convenient because of how easy it is to use when setting up or operating home automation devices. With HomeKit you can organize your devices into groups or ‘scenes’. This makes actions such as turning on all the lights in one room simple. Or you can program a ‘nighttime’ function where HomeKit ensures all the doors are locked, all the lights are off and the security system is armed. All of this can be set up with ease and controlled by a single app, a widget, or by using a custom Siri phrase.
HomeKit at CES 2015
A popular trend that emerged at CES 2015 was adding HomeKit capabilities to non-HomeKit devices and appliances. This can be accomplished through the use of ‘smart-outlets’ or smart enabled lightbulb adapters. At CES, Incipio showed off their wireless enabled smart outlet. A simple device, you plug into a power outlet that subsequently gives anything you plug into it HomeKit capabilities. Whatever you choose to plug into your smart outlet can then be controlled via Siri. Alternatively, with the assistance of an app you can do something more interesting like setting a geofence. Turn on the coffee pot, TV and lights in the kitchen when you get home? With a few smart-outlets and a geofence, this process can be automated, and you’d never have to think twice about it again.
Companies like Zendo are taking things like home security and putting it into the consumer’s hands. With a combination of sensors for your doors/windows and added security cameras, you can have the benefits of home security without the cost of a monthly subscription service. Plus you get the added convenience of easy to access, complete control thanks to HomeKit.
The Future of HomeKit
The conveniences that HomeKit will offer in the near future are only the ‘tip of the iceberg’. With companies like Samsung committing to making 100% of their product line internet connected by 2020, you can finally have the connected Jetsons home of your dreams, easily and affordably.
-Shatter Buggy, Denver