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Getting into HomeKit

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Over the past several years I've only gone as far as dipping my toes into the "smart home" / "home automation" world. It all started with SmartThings in 2014 when my company (InfernoRed Technology) built their original Windows Phone app (back when they were still a startup). I picked up several SmartThings "things" including the original hub (which I'm still actually using), multi sensors, etc. and started tinkering around with things. But I never got past a few light/dimmer switches and plugs because I kept letting the fear of getting locked into a single platform get in my way, along with over researching everything - "should I avoid Wifi things and stick to Z-wave things?", "Does Z-wave have a future?", etc.  For a while, I really felt Z-wave was the way I wanted to go - but I kept having connectivity issues in my house with the z-wave things. I also went down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out if and how I should segment my "things" from my main network. On top of all that, I was never really successful in getting my wife to adopt the SmartThings app (on iOS) - it's a great app, but not extremely user friendly for the non-tech enthusiast who just wants to turn things on or off from their phone.

Over the past few years I've all but ignored HomeKit... originally because the lack of a single app, and also because of the limited marketplace of "things"... But I started looking into it over the past couple months and really liked what I was seeing - the "Home" app seemed very clean and simple to use, the security seemed solid, and it looked like "things" vendors were starting to really adopt and build for it... So right around Christmas time I went out and bought 3 iHome plugs that were on sale at the time for $20 at BestBuy and hooked the Christmas trees up to them (we had 3 trees setup throughout the house :rolleyes:).

First of all, the setup was so simple - was able to do it all within the Home app and didn't even download the iHome app. I setup a Scene that toggled the 3 Christmas trees on and off and that was it. It literally worked 100% of the time and the Home app was super easy to use - in fact my wife figured it out without me showing her (she's the first to admit she's not tech savvy at all) and she used it every day with no complaints, so spousal approval is high so far. Now that the Christmas trees are back in storage I've repurposed those plugs for some lamps around the house... and so far we are still really enjoying the Home app and as far as connectivity, it just works 100% of the time, it's great.

 

So - I think I'm sold on HomeKit now, but I still don't want to lock myself into a single platform... And to avoid that I've looked for "things" are HomeKit, GA, and Alexa enabled so at least if I decide to abandon HomeKit at some point my "things" are still usable with other platforms. For example, those iHome plugs I mentioned work with all three platforms as well as SmartThings so it was a low risk way to give HomeKit a shot.

 

Next steps for me - dimmer switches for the LED ceiling lights throughout the house and for the outside lights. Also planning on getting into the HomeKit automation stuff a little deeper - I don't expect it to be as sophisticated as SmartThings, but honestly, my requirements aren't that complex. I currently don't own an Apple TV, but planning on getting one to enable remote access to the HomeKit "things".

 

Will try and report back to this forum to share my experiences as my HomeKit adoption evolves.

 

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