Apple Inc. wants to revolutionize home automation with HomeKit. The Cupertino tech company is planning to change the way home automation is done with its home automation platform. That is why, any upgrade to HomeKit requires new hardware and features.
If there is something about home automation that consumers agree to be revolutionized is having homes that can better think for themselves. This age of Internet and mobile devices need not have anyone grope in the dark for a light switch that was forgotten to be left on when the home owner went out for dinner. Stuff inside the homes should be “smart” enough. For instance, there is that “come home” scenario that can trigger the hallway lights to turn on.
HomeKit is Apple Inc.’s framework for home automation, which the Cupertino firm is setting to add capabilities to with its upcoming iOS 9 so that smart locks, garage door openers, and bulbs become more powerful and easier to manage. While some articles claim that it is a “mess” for requiring some hardware, a post in iMore said that home automation is the messy stuff, and HomeKit attempts to clean it. The tech site claims that while there are no current security requirements for consistent and reliable connections and unified interface to control all home devices, HomeKit provides all those.
For the user’s security and safety, HomeKit provides end-to-end encryption so that no one can use a hub or a bridge to attack any home network, as well as the passwords that travel through the HomeKit home automation network. Communication is being kept consistent with HomeKit, even with accessories from different manufacturers, and the devices working together are still reliable and consistent.
Siri, iOS digital assistant, is with HomeKit as well. It lets the user control everything in his house in a uniform way, with his voice. However, for everything about securing passwords, and to achieve reliable and consistent communication among devices, HomeKit needs hard-level compatibility. Apple Inc. wants to revolutionize home automation with HomeKit which can mean new hubs and bridges for early devices, not just replacing speakers and light bulbs. Unless the owner really loves to maximize HomeKit’s functionality or find it extremely needed, the upgrade for new hardware is but optional.
Early home automation adopters may have existing bridges, bulbs, speakers, components and SONOS but they cannot work together, or they need individual apps to control separately as there is no unified interface. Furthermore, there is no security existent on the devices that makes other homeowners bothered. According to iMore, updating to new bridges and hubs gives the user HomeKit, just like getting Apple Pay when updating from iPhone 5s to iPhone 6 or Apple Watch, or getting GPS with the original iPhone to iPhone 3G.
Some HomeKit-compatible devices are already ready to buy, but the world is still getting started, said TechnoBuffalo. A lot of home appliance companies are racing to launch their own devices for Apple Inc.’s home automation platform, including South Korean company LG Electronics.
LG’s smart lighting hub that will “work with Apple HomeKit” passed through the Federal Communications Commission recently. The user manual of the device states it is made for Apple Inc. devices – iPod, iPad and iPhone. TechnoBuffalo site describes the white smart light hub box from some images. It has the LG logo, and will possibly control many smart bulbs which are made by LG, from an iPhone.
LG’s smart light hub has a 98-feet range though, which indicates indoor-only use. It needs to be plugged into a power source as well. With an FCC approval, the launch of the Apple Inc. HomeKit-compatible light hub may be very soon as LG is getting ready to join Apple Inc., that wants to revolutionize home automation with HomeKit.
By Judith Aparri
iMore: HomeKit promises to clean up the mess of home automation
Apple Insider: Inside iOS 9: Apple brings IFTTT-like functionality to HomeKit with Event Triggers
TechnoBuffalo: LG prepping smart lights that work with Apple HomeKit
Photo courtesy of Nathan Chantrell‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License