Voice control and a clever app for a huge range of smart home gear… but only for Apple users
HomeKit is a system developed by Apple that lets smart home products see what each other can do, and work together. It all ties together through the iPhone or iPad – any smart home products that are HomeKit compatible appear in the Home app (they also have their own separate apps, as usual). In the Home app, you can control them, but also create groups of devices by room, and put together a series of commands behind a single button press, like a macro (Apple calls these ‘scenes’), so you could create a “movie” Scene that turns on the TV and dims the lights. You can set automations too, based on time or things like having a motion sensor trigger a camera and set of lights. Anything within the Home app can also be controlled via Siri voice control.
HomeKit only works locally, when your device is connected directly to the gear on the same network or within Bluetooth range, unless you have an Apple TV or iPad in the house and plugged in. These can act as remote access hubs for your HomeKit devices, so your iPhone’s Home app can talk over the internet to your Apple TV or iPad, which then passes the instruction out to the devices in your house.
Like Nest, HomeKit devices use an encrypted connection. There’s no HomeKit control for Android users – they’ll have to rely on the other systems here.