Homekit and SmartThings: The Latest Discussion

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.


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.


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:


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.


They don’t release buggy product but definitely buggy iOS 9 followed by 9.01 and 9.02 writhin couple of days. And don’t get me started on the missing notification alert sound issue in most of the apps. In apps like. Whatsapp, viber, messenger etc. and several games you will see the banner coming up on your screen but 50% of the time, the sound is missing. Luckily ST is not affected by the bug. Their support forums are filled with this issue.


My fear this is what the post Steve Jobs version of Apple is going to be from now on. I always took refuge in my iPhone it was the one device in my world that always worked and worked well. I need that these days more than ever!! I hope they get it together.


Samsung is Apple’s number one parts supplier, the two companies actually do work together on many different business projects. It all just comes down to what each sees as best for their own mission.

My expectation is that Samsung will watch the market. If the demand is there for HomeKit, that will justify the cost and complexity of adding it. If not they’ll compete as an alternative. Right now there’s not enough to HomeKit to really draw many partners in. It’s all about future potential. We’ll just have to see what happens.

My experience with Apple is the same as that of many people with significant physical disabilities (I’m quadriparetic with limited hand function.) While they can put out something with bugs, like any manufacturer of complex products, the things that work work in a way that makes sense. I am frequently pleasantly surprised by something that’s built into the operating system that just makes my life easier without making a more physically able person’s life more difficult.

They recently received the Helen Keller technology award from the National Federation of the blind, and I can promise you it was very much deserved. Google the news story for details, I don’t want to hijack this thread. But it does seem that Apple just thinks about the customer experience while using a device in a different way from many other companies.

I see many other offerings where the design seems to have been aimed at the point of purchase. What would look good in an ad, or in a store, when someone was deciding whether to buy their product.

I don’t see many technology products that seem designed around “a day in the life” of the person who has already purchased it. Not just the 30 second advertisement moment, but the transitions between those moments, the repetition of an event, the unexpected which requires a change in a pre-programmed schedule and the simplicity of setting up that schedule in the first place.

Use cases instead of features.

I recently spoke to both Apple and Samsung about getting a new phone. There are some accessibility features that I require. The Apple representative was able to give me all the information that I wanted.

The Samsung representative needed to know which carrier I would be using, because the features are different. When I said I hadn’t decided on a carrier, but gave a choice of two, the representative was still unable to answer the question because she didn’t have the information for one of the two. When I then called that carrier, they referred me back to the phone manufacturer. That has been typical in my experience.

When I first got my Apple Watch, there was one frustrating thing about voice text. Unlike voice text on the phone, there was a literal physical Tap required to complete sending the message. Presumably that was to prevent sending something without realizing it. But it did make things physically much more difficult for me. I sent in the feedback note to Apple through the website, and a representative got back to me and asked for more details. they were sympathetic and familiar with the differences between the watch and the phone.

When the new watch operating system came out recently, there’s now a new feature. After you complete a voice text, it’s displayed to you, and now you have a choice between either tapping to send or using voice to say send. So now it’s touchfree to send texts on the watch as well.

They didn’t make a big deal about it, and I’m sure it would seem clunky to someone who didn’t need to use it, but it’s there for those of us who do.

“Day in the life” design. All I can say is it works well for me. :sunglasses:


Samsung doesn’t set our goals and define our roadmap. That is completely up to us. HomeKit support may come but we need to see more benefits to our customers before we go down that path.


Has there been an update to the Zuli page? I’m seeing it is showing Works With Nest. Wondering if the Harmony push is still moving forward…

I would think that everyone with a iPhone and a smartthings hub would want this support. Maybe do a poll and find out if it would be a worthwhile feature?


Thanks for the clarification, Ben. It’s good to know you guys can still operate autonomously.

My apologies for the closing statement of my original post regarding Apple. It was kind of inflammatory, and not really necessary as I had already made my point.

In my defense, I had just been fighting with getting SmartThings to work, and was kind of aggravated. Regardless, I love the platform for the most part and truly hope it succeeds. If you guys get your issues worked out, and add adequate alternative solutions for the stuff removed in v2, I think you have a winner. Until then I’m doing my best to be patient and find workarounds.

Sometimes it’s a (first-world) struggle.

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So as of now we have another new release iOS 9.1. So, the third update since 9.0 within a few weeks! :wink:


I have both, and an iPad, an AppleTV and a Macbook Pro, but I don’t see much value for me in Homekit just now… :confused:

What does Homekit give you that drives this desire?

Whilst Siri is very nice for some things, it’s won’t really be ideal for home control until:

  1. it is in a fixed rather than mobile device (such as the Apple TV)
    (so I don’t have to get out my phone and unlock it ( and no, I don’t
    enable Siri whilst my phone is locked…)) AND

  2. it has the far field capability of the Amazon Echo


To be fair, 9.1 was in beta when 9.0 was released, so it’s not exactly a surprise.

Would you prefer no updates?

Besides, with iOS 9.1 we now get taco emojis - and everybody likes tacos :grin:


I would like nightly auto update every night… :wink: till they get the “push notification without sound alert sporadically” fixed. Several apps are affected like whatsapp, FB, gmail, viber, Kuna etc. whereby the push notification appears but not the accompanying sound alert. Major PITA. Hoping that 9.1 fixes it. Luckily ST dodged the bullet on this one.

BTW, they also have a middle/royal finger emoji as well. :wink:

I think Siri will be more valuable to those with the Watch.

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Yes - I was aware of that, but, personally, I’ve always preferred receiving a taco far more than receiving the middle finger… :yum: