Home automation is a long-time tech dream come true. Imagine tuning your house to your every need, from temperature to security, from energy use to comfort. With the right app-connected accessories, you can already use your iPhone and iPad to control and set schedules for items such as lights, televisions, or even the thermostat in your home. But what was already easy is soon to become effortless with the introduction of Apple’s HomeKit that is rumored to be releasing for consumer use some time this year.
HomeKit is a sophisticated framework that will centralize home automation and allow you access to control of more items within your home. Manufacturers such as iHome, iDevices, Honeywell, and Philips have already designed devices and appliances around the HomeKit framework. Get ready to set up your Internet of Things (IoT) by checking out notable HomeKit-compatible products you can expect to see on the market:
An intelligent thermostat, like the Ecobee Smart Thermostat, will allow you greater control of your energy use and savings. If your days are fairly predictable, you can set it to a schedule and let it do its work. If your days are unpredictable, you can control it remotely. Or you can let it do its work by sensing room temperature and occupancy so that you can feel comfortable without even having to think about it.
With a smart lock, you can control when your home can be accessed–a feature that is especially useful for those who have friends or staff coming in and out during the workday. You don’t have to worry about losing your keys or remembering to leave the key for a pet sitter when you leave for town.
Setups like the Lutron Wireless Smart Lighting system will allow you to control your lights, from dimming them effortlessly to suit the mood to putting them on a rigid on/off schedule. Your smart lighting system will even adjust to the seasons, which means even less for you to think about.
Accessories like the iHome SmartPlug allow you to control your energy use from afar, and even access plugged-in devices when you can’t get to them. You can turn off connected devices even when you’re not home, or when you just don’t feel like getting out of bed to turn off the TV you left on in the other room.
Some home monitoring system allow you to keep track of your energy consumption, water consumption, and even the weather.
Every room, appliance, and function you connect to HomeKit must have a designated name so that Siri can know what to do. One of the top features of HomeKit that will help you stay organized is that you can not only name features and appliances, but also section off every room or “scene” and operate them separately. But there are also grouping commands that allow you to make commands for your whole house instead of having to say each room and area separately.
If you’re the go big or go home type, you should know that in order to give commands while you’re away from home, you can only control your HomeKit devices by using Siri through the Apple TV. But owning an Apple TV is not a prerequisite of using HomeKit or reaping its many benefits.