How HomeKit works

The ins and outs of Ap­ple’s home au­to­ma­tion sys­tem

Mac Format - - APPLE HOMEKIIT -

From day one, Ap­ple made it clear us­abil­ity was at the fore­front of HomeKit. On stage at WWDC 2014, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent of Soft­ware En­gi­neer­ing Craig Fed­erighi said Ap­ple’s aim was to “bring some ra­tio­nal­ity” to the world of home au­to­ma­tion, which had a ten­dency to in­tim­i­date peo­ple with its vary­ing – and of­ten in­com­pat­i­ble – net­work­ing pro­to­cols and se­cu­rity mech­a­nisms.

HomeKit is Ap­ple’s an­swer. A frame­work de­vel­op­ers can utilise to pro­vide you with the means to set up and man­age a smart home. This will all be done from your iOS de­vice, which will com­mu­ni­cate with ac­ces­sories over Blue­tooth Low En­ergy (BLE) or Wi-Fi. While you’ll have to spend some time de­ter­min­ing said setup (see ‘Man­ag­ing rooms’, over­leaf ), the time-sav­ings and con­ve­nience when done will be con­sid­er­able. Fed­erighi ex­plained you’ll be able to say to Siri some­thing like “get ready for bed” and know your garage door is closed, front door locked, ther­mo­stat low­ered and lights dimmed.

Nat­u­rally, com­mands to smaller, user-de­fined groups or just sin­gle HomeKit-en­abled prod­ucts will also be pos­si­ble, and Ap­ple’s de­vel­oper doc­u­men­ta­tion talks about cre­at­ing times­tamped trig­gers that can re­peat. Use­fully, def­i­ni­tions will syn­chro­nise over iCloud if you own mul­ti­ple iOS de­vices.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Ap­ple con­firmed to Ars Tech­nica that you won’t need to be within your Wi-Fi net­work to con­trol your de­vices – if you have an Ap­ple TV handy. Ap­ple’s lit­tle black box will act as an in­ter­me­di­ary, pro­vid­ing an en­try point into your net­work when you’re send­ing com­mands. Your voice com­mands will be sent to your Ap­ple TV, in­ter­preted and passed on to the rel­e­vant ac­ces­sories.

HomeKit isn’t de­signed to work with ev­ery smart home prod­uct on the mar­ket – only those that are con­firmed com­pat­i­ble and ap­proved by Ap­ple – but third-party hard­ware bridges will be avail­able to connect MFi-cer­ti­fied non-HomeKit smart home ac­ces­sories, al­beit with some lim­i­ta­tions – see Se­cu­rity and Pri­vacy (over­leaf ).

With HomeKit, just a few words could trig­ger mul­ti­ple ac­tions around the house, mak­ing life a whole lot eas­ier.

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