Homekit and SmartThings: The Latest Discussion

There are too many choices out there. It is very confusing. Now I found a company called Clare Controls here in Florida. Too many choices!!

Yep. My understanding, admittedly limited, is that security systems often do help sell the house. Even if the people end up not liking them later. And simple automatic lights that have regular switches but also turn on when the closet door opens help sell a house. (Lutron typically shows well.) And anything that automates the pool or the yard. But most other things become a distraction, because they’re just too personalized.

One of my friends says “home security is a package, home automation is a process.” :sunglasses:

I noticed the following in a control4 ad this week and it cracked me up:

Program your golf simulation room to double as a home theater.

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Yeah, Control4 is NOT a DIY solution, nor should be considered cheap. Reliable and stable, yes. Local processing only, yup.

Apples and Oranges…

Control4 is marketed to dealers. Dealers market it to people who want to pay big money to automate AV equipment, lights, and many more.

However, developing for Control4 is open, its based on LUA, and is 100X more robust as a platform then ST is. I’ve been developing drivers for Control4 for about 6 years now and find it an amazing platform.

If Control4 ever offered a low end controller and composer pro for the DIY market, and opened up their zigbee support to be HA compliant devices (right now you can only connect directly Zigbee devices that have the C4 large network cluster support) then most of these low end DIY solutions would be done.

But that isn’t going to happen. Ever. (See what I did there… I made an absolute, so it could happen now :smile: )

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Pretty cool app that includes voice commands for Apple watch (not via Siri, obviously). (And a bunch of other useful things.)

Man that is a sexy app. I cant wait to try this. I have the watch and a handful of Hue bulbs just need a Philips hub and a few beacons. I feel a little sad as this is my first step away from SmartThings not sure I can do it!

I’ve been using Beecon+ as a beacon receiving station app for a few months. I really like it. (Most of the voice sexiness is baked into HomeKit, but they use it well, and their IBeacon management is top notch.)

Most other app designers, including Insteon and Lutron, tried to make their watch apps visual, which has its place, but the BeaconSandwich guys really got that most home automation watch interactions are likely to be quick voice. But you’ll need a different watch app to view a camera feed.

Beecon+ works well with SmartThings as well, using the IFTTT Maker channel as a go between. It’s what I use for geofencing so I can limit one detection area to the length of my front door wheelchair ramp.

The main issue with heavy beacon use is always the battery drain on the receiving station device. But I’m really happy with my setup now.

Detailed discussion of IBeacon use with SmartThings in the following topic:

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I heard news from CEDIA that Savant is the first of the “big players” to market a DIY system. $499 at Best Buy.

iBeacon’s are pretty cheap now a-days; you can get a USB-powered one, or battery powered, for 20-30$ – it really should be added into ST for the use of instant presence/arrivals/unlocking-doors, at the very least (it gets more complicated, and you need to get a bunch of beacons, if you actually want to get “micro”-locations to work (detecting what room of the house you’re in, etc.))

And yeah I love Beecon+, the Apple watch integration is great (well really the entire app is pretty great, to be honest). Even if you don’t have any actual iBeacons the App is still great for it’s Apple watch integration and simple, but powerful/speedy, layout of the app to control whatever you want via built in integration (like HUE), and whatever else via IFTTT. You can actually even use GPS in place of Beacons, or not use location services at all and just trigger things manually in the app/today widget/watch.

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JD, do you know if beacon+ will work with just the watch? I keep my iPhone at my desk almost all the time now and walk around the house with just the watch on. If I have to carry the phone around to receive the Beacon’s signal then this is a no go for me.

Like I said, Never, ever going to happen. Period. End of Story. (end sarcasm here) Seriously, though they chose CEDIA of all places to announce a DIY solution. Wow… Savant was the low end of the high end anyway. Pure survival play there, surprised they didn’t bid on Wink.

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Their super remote looks like the Harmony Elite.

The entire system looks like a high end Harmony. I wanted to see value in this but don’t.

That’s similar to what it is. This is a low-end line from a high-end home automation company. They’re the ones who did the system for Steve Jobs’ yacht and a lot of other celebrity homes.

Their intention is to use this as a gateway entry. They suggest that somebody might get it to just do their home theater by adding a fancy sound bar and this remote that could do Phillips lights and a few other things. And then the installer would overtime upsell them on other professionally installed pieces of their expensive system.

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OK, I think this is how it works, but if I’m wrong somebody correct me. The initial developer documents on how the watch would work turned out not to be how it actually does work, so it’s really hard to Google a reference for this right now. But this is my understanding, and it matches my personal experience.

When you have an Apple Watch paired with an iPhone, your presence is based on where your phone is located. A lot of people would like to see that change, but it hasn’t yet.

If you have the Beecon+ watch app running on your watch and it’s connected to Wi-Fi, you can use all of your voice instructions, which is very cool, and you can manually fire the rules you have set up for your beacons. But if you leave the phone sitting on your desk, and you walk around with the watch, you won’t change which beacon regions you are in, because the detection app is running on the phone.

I do this differently at my house, as I’ve mentioned. I have an IBeacon attached to my wheelchair, and my housemate has an IBeacon he carries. And we have tablets around the house which are always plugged in and Are the receiving stations.

So the automatic detection happens when the person gets near the tablet. The watch app is used for the verbal instructions. Not perfect, but it happens to fit my use case. We had two tablets dedicated as HA control stations so I didn’t have an extra device cost. This all works because because beacons are broadcast stations, not paired devices. So you can have as many receiving stations as you want.

I’m still hoping HomeKit will come out with something like the Zuli that would be cost justifiable in every room, but we’re not there yet. Maybe for next summer.

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Thanks JD that is what I suspected. I just carry my phone less and less all the time I think I will wait until my watch can discover beacons directly!!

Yes, JD. That’s right. Apple hasn’t opened up access to CoreLocation or just bluetooth on the Apple watch yet. I definitely expect them to eventually though.

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I know there has been much discussion on this topic. Here is my use case for HomeKit integration with ST. Using an iPhone with my whole house audio system to not only stream music from chrome cast audio but to provide voice notifications of triggered events. My audio system is Bluetooth so I set my iPhone to send audio to those BT speakers. I have the speaker control through an Aton speaker selector which is digital. What I would like to do is integrate beacons to notify the speaker selector to send audio to the speaker for the room I am in at that moment. I think that will be doable. Having HomeKit baked in enables me to take old iPhones and set them in each room plugged in so I can just say hey Siri turn on the lights and the lights in that room come on. There are tons of other use cases with this type of setup.

Right now, HomeKit has neither IBeacon nor A/V support. Not even for iTunes.

Everybody’s expecting both to come eventually, maybe by next summer, but right now they are only a few devices that work with HomeKit.

As far as voice control of lights, there are a bunch of ways to get that now with smartthings.

You can even toss I beacons into the mix if you want.

The official Amazon echo/smartThings integration is fantastic. I use that for light control at our house and everybody loves it.

There’s also a way to do it with IFTTT and Hey Siri voice messaging, although it’s a lot clunkier than echo.

One of the great things about the hue bridge is that it will partner with multiple services. So if you get the new version, you could already use it with an Apple Watch for your scenario, just give the voice command, and still have home automation routines set up in SmartThings to trigger from motion sensors, or time of day, or something else besides HomeKit.

So while there’s no direct HomeKit integration built into the current version of SmartThings, there are many ways to use both in a home automation set up. And for right now, smartthings has more device options, even for audio visual.

I do expect that to change over the next year, including through Apple TV app offerings, but it’s always good to have choices. :sunglasses:

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As an iPhone owner, I’d love to see Homekit integration, but I don’t have much hope since Samsung owns SmartThings. I’m guessing Samsung isn’t in a big rush to support Homekit. If that’s the case, I think it’s short-sighted, and a mistake.

Really though, the v2 hub is such a mess that I wouldn’t even expect their Homekit integration to work properly if they decided to do it. It’s probably better that they focus their efforts on fixing the shortcomings of the v2 hub. I had to completely redo the way my garage doors work (including buying about $300 worth of new equipment) just to get functionality that I had prior to hub v2. My doors and locks are now much less convenient to use since there’s no way to join an open/close sensor and a lock into a “door” like you could previously. “SmartLights” go out on me because “motion has stopped” even though I’m still in the room moving around. The list goes on. It’s just a mess. It has actually caused minor arguments between my wife and I. All I can do is say, “Sorry, Honey. I thought I was making things better. Hopefully it will improve soon.” She’s incredibly patient, but everyone has their limits.

Say what you want about Apple, but I can’t imagine them ever releasing a product this buggy.

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