iOS 8 HomeKit at WWDC

I’m hoping the SmartThings guys were at WWDC today! HomeKit in iOS 8 looks like it has tremendous capability and Siri integration!


We have folks there. Home Kit looks to be a cool developer toolkit that lets developers easily build in support for smart home items. It’s not an app, but a background tool that should make integrating this stuff easier. I am glad Apple is opening up the fingerprint security and cameras as well.

Im sure you guys have thoughts floating around in your head already on how to use extensibility across apps so you can give home automation support to other iOS apps via your API.

I can’t wait to see what the SmartThings crew can do with this. Hopefully it is full featured enough to warrant using it.

Hoping for early beta testing!

Really excited to see what comes of this announcement! With Apple getting into the game, this should catch the eyes of more device manufacturers.

Hopefully it really gets the mass market into the market so we can see even a more rapid pace of innovations and growth in this industry. #dontwanttowait5years :slight_smile:

I think there’s a good chance that will happen. Apple doesn’t jump into new markets lightly so if they feel it’s ready I think the OEMs will follow.

What Apple has said (very little) from now closed thread:

… HomeKit lets your home accessories connect seamlessly to better manage your home. HomeKit delivers a common protocol, secure pairing and the ability to easily control individual or groups of devices throughout the house including integration with Siri®. For example, you can tell Siri you are “going to bed” and it could dim the lights, lock your doors, close the garage door and set the thermostat.

From the Home Kit Framework Reference

Home Kit allows third-party apps to perform three major functions:

  1. Discover accessories and add them to a persistent, cross-device home configuration database.
  2. Display, edit, and act upon the data in the home configuration database
  3. Communicate with configured accessories and services to get them to
    perform actions, such as turning on the lights in the living room.

If I understood correctly Apple is essentially going to use the iPhone as the hub. I assume configurations would be backed up to the cloud somehow so you can share the account with a few different people in your family, friends, etc. How do you see the SmartThings hub being able to work together with this solution? I’ll be honest, it sounds like Apple just launched a competitive service.

I do NOT think that the iPhone will be the hub/ I think that Z-Wave devices, ZigBee devices, and others will still require a different hub. Maybe some things that are wi-fi or bluetooth only could connect “directly”* to an iPhone but that device list is still fairly small.

  • even a wi-fi- direct connection is likely to be a cloud-to-cloud integration.

Obviously, will have to wait for more info on HomeKit, but there was another new technology mentioned in the presentation that sounds even more exiting - “Extensions”. One app can now provide services to another app, essentially allowing creation of plug-ins. Applied to Home Automation, this would enable separation of UI (control panel) from device-specific protocols. It also makes possible creating third-party widgets that integrate into iOS notification screen. The end result should be s modular application that tightly integrates with iOS, rather than huge monolithic and isolated app that we have now.

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@Ben I agree… the first thing that jumped into my mind was where is the hub? To control local device that is not internet-enabled remotely there has to be something in the middle. However, the list of features does sound to be taken directly from the ZWave Controller specification (minus Siri).

Apple’s home automation play seems rushed, maybe forced on the heals of Google’s recent Nest acquisition? Their website was updated for all of the other announced OSX and iOS features but still has no mention of HomeKit. However, I could be wrong and everything, including their iBeacon will converge into one amazing release this fall. It’s just exciting to have another horse in the race :slight_smile:

They announced alot of “Kits” today. These are not apps but developer tools. If you’re not already aware, iOS has been a heavily sandboxed environment. It helps make things very secure, but it has meant that applications (other than a small group of entitlements) can’t talk directly to each other or even share data.

A number of the announced kits will empower developers to seek out other Apps, and inform the user when a connection exists between two or more apps than can understand the same data formats. In theory this sounds great. Let’s hope there are not too many hoops for developers to jump through.

Well… Things they are a changing, or at least it appears so. Now the apps will be able to talk to each other.

It seems to me Apple is careful not to alienate developers but rather gently stir or herd(?) them in the right direction and away from proprietary protocols and authentication schemes.

As far as the hubs go, sure no one expects Apple to build Z-Wave radio into iPhone, so you’ll always need a hub for Z-Wave, Zigbee and friends. The HomeKit is about abstracting services that all these hubs provide and allowing developers to write home automation apps that work with any hardware compatible with HomeKit. That is brilliant!

You do realize that this is the precise mission statement of SmartThings, right? We made a post about it a couple weeks ago but it has been a part of what we are creating since we started in early 2012 :slight_smile:

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One last thought… and that is I don’t think that this is hardware related. Think about this way:

Your Hue app can control your Hues, but your Insteon app can not. But the Insteon app (if done right) will be able to ask the Hue app/framework to do so.

That’s my guess anyway.

I think its a great opportunity for ST to be able to have an API to talk directly through the OS to other apps and smart devices and give them the kind of intelligence and interoperability that ST was founded on.

Ha-ha, yeah… I sensed the irony :slight_smile: Your goal is certainly noble, but no matter how ambitious, I suspect ST would have hard time to convince OEMs to play by its rules. Unfortunately, I don’t think Apple is even aware that SmartThings exist. There were 17 corporate logos on a slide that Apple identified as the “leaders” they started working with and ST was not one of them. Sorry…

@geko you may be new to SmartThings and/or we are doing a poor job of communicating our main value propositions. SmartThings doesn’t need to convince OEMs to play by any rules, we are building a platform that allows all those connections to happen without the OEM’s involvement. The slide you are referring to was only identifying device makers. We are a platform and we are excited by what the Apple announcement can do for the home automation space in general.

From our CEO today on NPR’s All Things Considered:

“It will be useful to see consolidation amongst those different standards, but generally a lot of the technical problems are largely solved now. This is possible to make very low cost to the general person,”