Create a Smart Home using Apple's Suite of Products

 
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Your Smart Home is just an app away!

Having a smart home isn’t just for people with newer builds in fancy neighborhoods. If you have an iPhone, you can actually dive in and make a smart home of your own using Apple products. How? It’s not as hard as it seems thanks to Apple’s HomeKit. Apple's HomeKit is simple enough for novices who just want to say, "Siri, I'm home," into their iPhone, before walking through their automatically unlocked door and entering a relaxing scene with just the right lighting, temperature and electronics running.

The smart-home platform is a friendly and functional option for anyone who owns an iPhone or iPad and wants to create a DIY smart-home system. Many popular smart-home accessories, including thermostats, locks, and cameras, are HomeKit-compatible. You can control devices using an app on your phone, tablet, or Apple Watch, or even by voice using Siri.

HomeKit lets you turn on and off and dim your lights, adjust your thermostat, turn on and off devices connected to outlets using smart plugs or switches, lock and unlock your front door, see who's at your door and more. Apple's goal has been to make it easy for beginners to set up their smart homes, which can be a daunting task for novices.

APPLE’S HOMEKIT CREATES A SMART HOME

HomeKit doesn’t require you to purchase and configure a central hub, even if you have several dozen smart-home devices. All you need is your iOS device, Apple’s Home app, and whatever HomeKit-compatible products you choose to start with. That’s all.

Integrating an Apple TV (or stay-at-home iPad) into a HomeKit system also lets you create automation, which is configurable interactions between one or more devices, based on triggers such as time, date, geolocation, sensors, and even multiuser geofencing. Automation makes it easy to quickly create useful and specific scenarios.

With HomeKit, it’s easy to start with one device, such as a smart thermostat, and then add more as you find yourself needing or wanting them. You’ll find HomeKit compatibility in a wide variety of well-rated products in most of the popular categories. If you already have some smart-home devices installed and hope to have a centralized smart-home system, be sure to check if they work with HomeKit.

EASY SMART HOME SET UP

Setting up new devices, alerts, and automation is all done through the Home app, though you can also use device-specific apps for some features. To use HomeKit, you’ll

need a relatively recent Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. And that device must be running the most recent operating system.

Apple’s Home app, which is preinstalled on iOS devices, provides a centralized way to keep tabs on and control all your HomeKit devices. When you first open the app, you’re prompted to create a name for your HomeKit network or accept the default named Home. You’re then free to add accessories to your home.

The pairing process is simple and fast and you can fiddle with your HomeKit settings as often as you like with no harm, so poking around is fine, and a good way to learn how it works.

CONTROLLING YOUR SMART HOME

Once you’ve successfully added devices to your HomeKit home, you can control them in a number of ways: using the Home app, using each device’s companion app, using third-party control apps, or with your voice via Siri, Apple’s built-in virtual assistant. Setting up automation is truly push-button simple.

WHICH DEVICES WORK WITH HOMEKIT?

Here are a few highlights from Apple's full list of HomeKit-compatible devices:

HomeKit works with a number of smart lighting devices, including those from Philips Hue, Eve, Lifx, Koogeek, Nanoleaf and Sylvania. To control the temperature at home, try the Ecobee and Honeywell thermostats.

To keep your home safe, HomeKit works with August Smart Locks; Schlage deadbolts; Elgato Eve Door & Window sensors; D-Link's Omna security camera; Fibaro door, window, motion and flood sensors, and Netatmo's facial-recognition security system.

Think of Apple Home as an app that turns your phone into a universal remote control for smart home devices that you could potentially use anywhere in the world.

HomeKit can also control smart plugs such as those from iHome and Lutron, the Hunter Apache Wi-Fi Ceiling Fan, Netgear's Arlo baby monitor; Brilliant's full-home controller and even a Wi-Fi smoke and carbon monoxide alarm from First Alert.

For more tips and advice on how to set up your smart home using Apple Products, contact The Orchard, we offer training and onsite assistance.

Eric Smith