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Smart Home in the Apple World: First HomeKit Devices Available Soon

With Apple’s smart home management platform HomeKit reaching the home stretch, now is a good time to take a closer look at the first compatible devices to appear on the market. The WWDC’15 conference brought a few interesting announcements and clarifications on how the platform will be working and what it’s going to be working with.

First of all, what can we expect from HomeKit in general? Basically it is yet another framework to provide a common language for all smart the smart devices in your home, but it will also allow to manage them using voice commands by leveraging Siri.

After iOS 9 is released later this year, the users will be able to get the most out of HomeKit. It will also Apple TV, which is supposedly to “as an intermediary when you’re issuing Siri voice commands to your home from a remote location.”

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Here are the first smart home appliances coming to the market that will be compatible with the framework.

Elgato Eve

A comprehensive home monitoring system coming to the Apple Store in July, the Eve family consists of four different devices, which don’t have to be bought in one go. All of them use Bluetooth to connect with the upcoming HomeKit app, so installing them won’t affect the quality of Wi-Fi at your home.

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The most affordable option Eve offers is the Door and Window kit ($39.95), which allows you to monitor the state of, well, doors and windows. Then there is Eve Weather, which monitors temperature, humidity and air pressure outside.

Next up is Eve Energy that can track how much energy your home appliances are using, also allowing you to switch them off remotely. The last and most expensive offering is Eve Room ($79.95), a box that monitors humidity, temperature and air quality inside the house.

Lutron

This HomeKit-enabled home lightning hub is already available to purchase from Apple Stores for $229.95. Lutron Caséta Smart Bridge works with special dimmers (there are two of them in the kit) and allows users to control lighting in different parts of the house with voice commands or schedules.

Additional dimmers and remotes are also available at $59.95 a piece.

Ecobee

The smart thermostat manufacturer is preparing its HomeKit-compatible device, ecobee3, to be available on July 7 for $249. As the company’s motto suggests, it’s aimed at ”homes with more than one room,“ allowing to monitor temperatures in different parts of the house independently.

ecobee1

To control more rooms, you’re going to need to buy additional sensors that will be available at $79 per pair.

iHome

This company is most widely known as an accessory maker, but this is about to change soon. Starting from June 15, iHome opens pre-orders for its WiFi-enabled smart plug iSP5 that is supposed to make any electric appliance a smart one.

Using these devices, you’ll be able to turn your home appliances on and off at will, as well as by creating schedules. It’s also possible to combine several plugs into a “scene” to apply commands to all of them.

Insteon

Coming to the market in late June, Insteon’s HomeKit-compatible smart hub will allow users to control any other appliances bearing the company’s logo. Those include thermostats, wall outlets, LED light bulbs, door locks and so on.

insteon

The hub is priced at $149.99, and could be a great solution for those already using some of the company’s tech — or those willing to have all smart home appliances from one manufacturer.

Philips Hue

There’s no definite clarification yet on how exactly Hue light bulbs will be working with HomeKit but they definitely will.

More information of HomeKit integration is to come in September, however the company has already promised that the existing Hue bulbs will work with the platform just as well the new ones.

 

It’s hard to say if any of these examples of how the home automation is going to look like in the Apple world is going to be more popular than the others. The list, however, shows the niches being rapidly occupied by numerous players, as well as those an innovative newcomer can still fit in. For example, the market definitely lacks a solution for power monitoring that would be more elegant than just “smart plugs” for each wall outlet.

A good time for disruption — let’s hope we’re going to see some exciting solutions soon.

 

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