Although Apple didn’t exhibit at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year, its home automation platform, Apple HomeKit, was well represented by several companies that introduced new HomeKit-enabled products.
These recent additions strengthen Apple’s play in the home automation marketplace and will likely encourage future developments from other manufacturers still scratching their heads about which home-automation protocol camp to join.
HomeKit introductions at CES ranged from hubs and plugs to garage door openers and sensors, establishing a fairly well rounded assortment of products from which consumers can use to start building their own smart home network.
Probably the most impressive product release comes from Insteon. Its new $150 HomeKit-enabled hub not only bridges together other HomeKit products, but allows consumers to add Insteon’s vast array of switches, outlets, thermostats and light bulbs to the HomeKit control platform. This one product provides consumers with the building block for a complete, fully interoperable, and voice controllable (via Apple’s Siri) smart home. As a companion to the hub, Insteon offers an app that will allow consumers to manage and control from it all HomeKit-connected products, regardless of manufacturer.
Also staking a huge claim in the Apple HomeKit market is Chamberlain. The renowned manufacturer of garage door openers has developed a technology called MyQ that enables not only its own brand of garage door openers to work under the HomeKit platform, but also nearly all brands of openers from other manufacturers. On its own, MyQ enables consumers to monitor and control their garage doors from an iOS device; when integrated with other HomeKit products, the opening of the garage door could initiate “home” and “away” scenes, such as having HomeKit-enabled light switches turn on and off.
Although HomeKit-enabled products from newcomer Elgato won’t be available until later this year, they could be well worth the wait. The upcoming “Eve” line of products includes a wide assortment of sensors would not only allow consumers to monitor the conditions of their homes remotely via a iOS smartphone or tablet, but also use the sensors to signal the devices to respond automatically based on these conditions.
The first three products planned to be released include a weather sensor, an indoor air quality sensor and a door/window sensor, all of which will be priced between $40 and $80. In the works is an attachment for a shower that measures the water volume and temperature, and a plug the senses energy consumption. The Eve products are also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible. The Bluetooth-compatibility offers the option of just buying one sensor (instead of a larger HomeKit-based setup) and using Bluetooth to monitor it from your phone, explains an Elgato spokesperson.
Sensors are the cornerstone of First Alert’s HomeKit endeavors, in a new product line called OneLink. Preserving its legacy as a leading provider of home safety, OneLink comprises a HomeKit-enabled Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Environmental Monitor that watches for extreme humidity, temperature and low levels of CO, and a programmable thermostat. The products are all Wi-Fi compliant, too.
Big-name, long-standing corporations banking on HomeKit, as demonstrated by introductions not only Chamberlain, but also Schlage. The Schlage Sense electronic door lock, by using HomeKit technology, allows consumers to control the lock from an iDevice or their voice by using Siri.
When tied to other HomeKit devices, the locking and unlocking of the Schlage Sense can trigger on and off lights and adjust the thermostat, for example. Through Schlage’s own app, consumers can manage and schedule as many as 30 entry codes, verify the status of the lock, view activity and check the battery life of the lock. The Schlage Sense is expected to be available later this year.