Dive into SmartThings, or wait for HomeKit?

Just bought a house and I’m ready to start automating the crap out of it… I’m a big fan of Apple products, should I wait to see what HomeKit and its devices look like when they come out? Will I be “locking myself into SmartThings” if I buy a SmartThings hub now? Or is it a non-issue because everything is expected to be cross-compatible (is it?)?


If you stick with Z-Wave devices, you’re not going to lock yourself in since Z-Wave has become a de-facto standard and chances are that someone will develop a Z-Wave bridge that will work with the HomeKit. You can get a SmartThings hub alone for $99 and start adding devices to it gradually. The hub cost is relatively low, if you consider that each device will set you back by $35-50 bucks. I adds up quickly.

There has been hints from the ST folks that they will be integrating with Homekit. ST is developing use cases, device support and software improvements at a rapid rate and it will only enhance the experience. Look at it this way, with HomeKit your depending on the Apple software. ST will work with iOS or Android. Gives you more flexibility.

If you expect Android in the mix I wouldn’t wait for Homekit and start with ST. It is pretty robust and flexible enough to let you configure stuff the way you want in most cases. But if your life revolves around Apple ecosystem (Mac, iOS, iCloud…) I think it may be worth waiting for what Homekit would bring, or at least more definite confirmation that ST would fully work with Homekit framework. I set my security and some lights automation with ST and I’ve been mostly satisfied, but after Homekit announcement I have stopped the gradual expansion I was doing to ST to wait and see.

Thanks for the replies!

I guess I’m showing my lack of understanding here, but it sounds like I have to do some more reading as to what homekit truly is…

My biggest “fear” is that I’ll buy all of the ST hardware and then Apple will come out with its own hardware that is (in my biased opinion) likely to be better overall and easier to integrate into my nearly completely apple-product-home… Know what I mean? Is that not the way it could play out?


As far as I’m concerned, staying on the sidelines makes about as much sense as not buying a smart phone because a new one with more features is coming out in the not to distant future.

Adam-- HomeKit isn’t Apple developing hardware that will be incompatible with everything else on the market. Quite the opposite – HomeKit is a communications protocol, and represents Apple’s attempt to bring some level of standardization to the top level network- and user-facing tiers of the fractured home automation landscape. This sentence from their introduction to the HomeKit documentation pretty much says it:

By promoting a common protocol for home automation devices and making a public API available for configuring and communicating with those devices, Home Kit makes possible a marketplace where the app a user controls their home with doesn’t have to be created by the vendor who made their home automation accessories, and where home automation accessories from multiple vendors can all be integrated into a single coherent whole without those vendors having to coordinate directly with each other.

An added bonus is that it will integrate nicely with Apple’s products, allowing you to use Siri to issue commands, for example.

My own feeling is that since SmartThings is such a major player now in the HA market, there will be an interface between ST and HomeKit that will allow the two to play together.

I hope that you’re right and that ST will remain a major player in the market. However, it seems my fear that Apple may be interested in more than just the software side of things is materializing. Again, I’d hate to go spending $1000+ on all of the ST sensors and gadgets that I want and then Apple releases an AppleTV-centered control-center/hub with their own devices…

“…the Cupertino-company feels it can build products that can gain usage wider than that of thermostats and smoke detectors. It is likely that Apple is building advanced speaker systems or control panels for homes, the sources say…”

I think I have no choice but to wait a while before I dive-in.

There are so many things this could mean. I see exactly what they mention, speakers and maybe panels…although I’m not sold on the panel idea. I see Apple tapping into Siri. If they coming out with a Sonos alternative, then they will have speakers throughout the house. All they need then is to add some good, noise canceling microphones with them and you have “hey siri” throughout the house.

Apple doesn’t want to build switches or motion sensors. As for the AppleTV / hub thing - I don’t see them necessarily building an AppleTV with zwave, zigbee, INSTEON, etc, etc. I see them still working with hubs like ST and using the aTV to control the speakers (the aTV becomes the controller) and patch in Siri.

Don’t forget about the iWatch. Most likely, it will actually be your ‘always on’ microphone and presence sensor, while ATV will be your hub. ATV will not need to bother with Z-Wave or Zigbee. A cheap (my estimate is $20-30) WiFi-to-Zigbee/Z-Wave bridge will take care of it. See, for example, GE Link -

I think it is important to note that Apple seems to be backing Bluetooth and WiFi for HomeKit, not ZigBee.

As an iOS developer and recent home buyer, I’m going to sit and wait before I take the home automation plunge. I really want to put together some sort of reasonably advanced radiator control system for my house, but I’m not happy with anything I’ve seen on the market. The market will mature quickly once hardware starts shipping in volume, something that isn’t going to happen until Apple enters the market next year.

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