Santa’s Wish List for Apple HomeKit
Here’s the link to the full Santa’s wish list article.
Our work includes integrating bus-based smart homes with up to 200 smart devices and adding smart assistants into the equation. All the devices meaning all lights, blinds, heating, cooling, air conditioning, wall switches and smart assistant are bound into a centralised system. Due to its centralisation the user can enjoy an automated smart home that makes their life easier and more enjoyable. Minor daily tasks can easily be automated so your home can do them for you, such turning the light on when you arrive and off when you leave.
Our main task was to simplify the process up to a point where every user can install it themselves and connect a smart assistant, no installer’s help or technical knowledge needed. Simplicity is just one of our selling points, see others and how we compare with our competitors in the field HERE.
This means that any Loxone, KNX or Gira smart home owner can integrate Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa or Google Home smart platforms into their home.
This integration brings you:
🗣 Voice control
💡 Integration of wireless systems (IKEA Trådfri, Philips Hue, Sonos, …)
⚙️ Custom automations
We have noticed that each assistant works quite differently and brings several benefits to the table. We have written more about it HERE. We are tech innovators ourselves who follow smart home development and trends and innovate constantly ourselves.
Now it’s the time to explain the features we miss and would love to have in 2021 for each smart assistant platform. There are a couple of missing features or strange product updates that have been bugging us for years, so we have decided to write them down in the form of a Santa’s wish list.
Apple amazes at first glance, their HomeKit-compatible smart devices can be added to the Home app simply by scanning the device code. The Home App also has a rooms tab to sort devices into different sections for easier navigation if you have a bigger installation.
Apple HomeKit offers certified HomeKit smart accessories and allows the usage of different sensors as well as push buttons. Due to a more complex certification process and Apple’s late entry to the smart assistant party, HomeKit is staying behind in the number of IoT devices being supported. However, they have carefully selected the ones they brought to the platform. For example, with a complete family of EVE sensors being enabled, the only limit for your automation is your imagination. Our team has also noticed that due to HomeKit running locally, the sensors’ reaction time is noticeably faster than with Alexa, which is a great benefit for any user.
Here are the things we miss in Apple HomeKit and would love to see in 2021:
1. Multiplatform (Android) support for Homekit, Siri and Airplay
Apple for the most part completely ignores the competition and is acting as if their users only use Apple devices. In this spirit Apple HomeKit, Airplay and Siri are only available to people using Apple devices. It would be great if Apple would put services first and see that rule broken like we have seen with Apple Music, now available on Amazon Alexa, Android and Google Home.
2. Improve the room support in HomeKit
Currently, you can only control devices by assigning them into a specific Room manually. These Rooms can only be defined in the Home app and since 1Home already organises the devices into rooms fetching this information from KNX or Loxone configuration, it would be great if we could pass this information through an API. After assigning you can command: “Turn bedroom lights on” and all the lights in that room will turn on.
3. Optimise HomeKit communication with smart home
This request is a bit more technical: when a user opens the Home app the app starts to send status queries for each device individually. This means that in our typical scenario of 100-200 smart devices per home, our Bridge gets numerous separate requests at the same time. Our engineering team needed to create some magic to make this efficient and fast even though the number of requests can be quite high. Google, for example combines this into a single request which can be then served with a much lower latency, therefore improving the overall user experience.
4. Support for more than 150 devices over a bridge
Bridge devices are limited to a maximum of 150 devices - even though there is no technical reason for that limitation. Owners of KNX and Loxone smart homes would be thrilled to see this limit increased.
5. Ability to control AppleTV over HomeKit automations
It would be awesome if there would be a possibility to control Apple TV from the HomeKit automations. Right now the actions are limited to starting and stopping Apple Music on Apple TV. Imagine creating a simple scene where you would be able to turn the lights off, close blinds and turn Apple TV on. Even better if you could connect this scene to a push button on the wall.
6. Google Chromecast Audio equivalent
Music is a really big part of a smart home and for users that are not convinced by HomePod or HomePod mini speakers - they don’t have many options for streaming music from the ecosystem of Apple devices or extend their existing audio with a simple device such as the Chromecast Audio or Echo input. It would be great to see a Google Chromecast Audio equivalent that would enable a simple way of Wi-Fi streaming for users who invested a lot of money into their high end audio systems.
7. CHIP cannot come soon enough
Right now it’s cumbersome to select the right set of smart home devices which won’t lock you into a specific ecosystem, be it Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomeKit. A very small set of manufacturers go through the effort of supporting all three equally, so it’s great news that in recent times the promises are big about merging them. If these three can agree on a common and open standard then the manufacturers will have a lot less work to support all three. Since this is an open standard this would mean that it would also be open for new competition or even open-source initiatives.
We’re looking forward to 2021!
Happy holidays & enjoy your smart home!