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Category: Home Automation

Julio Ojeda-Zapata No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: HomeKit Security Provides Peace of Mind

Julio Ojeda-Zapata frets about potential burglaries when he’s away from home, so before a recent trip he tricked out his house with Internet-connected video cameras, motion sensors, and smart outlets. Most, but not all of the gadgets work with Apple’s HomeKit, which points to lingering gaps in the company’s home-automation ecosystem.

Josh Centers No comments

Apple Stores Introduce Interactive HomeKit Demos

It’s difficult to convey the benefits of home automation to someone who has never experienced it. To address this challenge, Apple has begun rolling out an interactive HomeKit experience in 46 of its retail stores around the world. You’ll be able to use an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch to control virtual HomeKit accessories displayed on a screen. While not as impressive as the real thing, it should at least give you an idea of how HomeKit works and how you might integrate it into your house. Other Apple stores will feature a non-interactive HomeKit demo.

Josh Centers 3 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: What’s Coming in iOS 11

Big changes are coming to the HomeKit ecosystem in iOS 11, along with some welcome tweaks for users. Josh Centers looks at why we’ll have more HomeKit hardware, how Apple redesigned Control Center in iOS 11, improvements in setting up Accessories and Automations, and more.

Josh Centers 4 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: The Elgato Eve Room

The Elgato Eve Room is a HomeKit-compatible device that monitors air quality, relative humidity, and temperature in a room. Josh Centers shows you how you can use its data to control your appliances.

Adam Engst 25 comments

Apple Will Enter Smart Speaker Market in December with HomePod

At WWDC, Apple unveiled the HomePod, its entry into the smart speaker market. Due to ship in December for $349, the HomePod promises to provide high-quality audio and virtual assistant capabilities via Siri. We’ll just have to wait until then to see how it compares with the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.

Josh Centers 1 comment

Belkin Adding HomeKit Support to Wemo

Last year, Belkin, which makes the popular Wemo line of home automation accessories, rejected adding HomeKit support because it would require new hardware. Now Belkin has reversed course, telling 9to5Mac, “Wemo is committed to bringing HomeKit support to our line of smart home solutions and will be providing more details soon.” Belkin didn’t say what caused the change of heart, but it’s possible that Apple will announce loosened HomeKit restrictions at WWDC.

Josh Centers 10 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Two Smart Outlets

Amidst the chaos of a house move, Josh Centers takes a break to tell you about two HomeKit-compatible smart outlets that are easy to take with you wherever you may go.

Josh Centers 3 comments

Using Philips Hue Lights as a Hurricane and Tornado Alert

After a tornado scare, Josh Centers whipped together a warning system using the IFTTT automation service and his Philips Hue bulbs.

Josh Centers No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Fine Tuning with the Other “Home” App

Apple’s Home app is easy to use, but an older app with the same name gives you more control over your HomeKit home automation.

Josh Centers No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Automating Your Home

In this installment of A Prairie HomeKit Companion, Josh Centers explains how to put the automation in home automation.

Josh Centers No comments

Apple Versus Amazon in the Smart Home Race

Stephen Nellis of Reuters has penned an article examining the difference in how Apple and Amazon approach home automation. Hardware manufacturers who want to sell HomeKit devices must include special chips and produce their accessories in Apple-approved factories. After that, manufacturers must send their devices to Apple for a lengthy approval process. By comparison, getting a device to work with Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant requires just a software review. Getting a “Works with Alexa” label requires hardware testing, but that can be done by a third-party lab and takes no more than 10 days. As a result, Alexa threatens to overwhelm HomeKit with the number of compatible devices, but Apple’s approach leads to easier setup, higher security, and better compatibility. Also, Apple HomeKit devices do not require an Internet connection, which improves both security and response times.

Josh Centers 2 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Controlling Accessories

In this installment of A Prairie HomeKit Companion, Josh Centers moves past setup and explains how to manipulate your HomeKit Accessories. He also tells you how to set up Scenes to save time.

Josh Centers No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Setting Up Accessories and Rooms

In this second installment of our HomeKit home automation series, Josh Centers walks you through setting up HomeKit Accessories and how to divide your Home into Rooms.

Jeff Porten 3 comments

CES 2017: Gadget Finds on the CES Show Floor, Days 1 and 2

Having finished up with the media-only events, Jeff Porten hits the show floors of CES, and has many miles to go and products to write up for you before he sleeps.

Josh Centers 8 comments

iOS 10.2 Adds TV App, HomeKit Notifications, New Emojis

iOS 10.2 introduces the new TV app for aggregating content across different apps. It also features some key HomeKit improvements and a bunch of new emojis.