Are Apple HomeKit devices compatible with Siri?

Apple Homekit: Smart Home with iOS and Siri

With Homekit, Apple is establishing its own iOS operating system as a control platform for the intelligent house - including voice control and some geolocation services. The app and the control logic come from Apple, the devices for it are supplied by other manufacturers.

Software platform

Apple Homekit is not an independent smart home system, but a software platform in the mobile Apple operating system iOS, which turns iPhones, iPads and / or Apple Homepods into smart home centers together with the Apple TV streaming box. Homekit itself provides the framework in which compatible components can be set up and controlled. You can define a house with several areas (floors) and rooms to which the networked equipment installed there can be assigned.

A central point of Homekit is the option to use all options of the iOS operating system for home control - including Siri voice control, for example. A shout “Hey Siri, turn off the light in the bathroom” should be enough to turn off the light in the bathroom. Provided, of course, that Homekit-compatible lights are installed there - for example from Philips Hue.

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Own home app or programs from suppliers

Apple Homekit has its own app called “Home”, which is preinstalled on all iOS devices. In addition, other providers can also program apps to control the house via Homekit. There are already a number of such apps, such as Elgato Eve or Die Home - Smart Home Automation. However, all these apps use the same database of components, rooms and automations in the house that is stored in the Apple operating system as the Homekit basis.

Stationary smart home server in the house

Various devices such as the Apple TV streaming box, a permanently installed iPad or, more recently, the Apple Smartspeaker called "Homepod" are suitable as stationary smart home servers in the house, which also allow remote access via the Internet. Several such control centers can share the work in the house and thus extend the radio range for Homekit components. Many of the radio components work with Bluetooth radio transmission, the range of which is not huge.

Transmission formats

Speaking of Bluetooth: Apple Homekit primarily uses the transmission formats that Apple devices already support to connect buttons, sensors, lights and other controlled components, i.e. WLAN and Bluetooth. The latter mainly integrates small, wireless devices in the Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) version, which is optimized for battery-operated and mobile devices. Most of the original home kit devices, such as those from Elgato or Fibaro, can be controlled using this radio protocol.

The range of the Bluetooth transmission is limited, which is why it may be necessary in larger apartments or in houses with several floors to integrate several Bluetooth transmitters, i.e. Apple TV, Homepods or iPads into the system. If you are on site, if in doubt, the user's iPhone will also establish contact with more distant Bluetooth wireless sensors via Bluetooth.

Integration via the home network and gateways from Hue, Tado & Co.

Smarthome devices and systems that communicate with other transmission protocols themselves can be integrated into Homekit via their gateway via network or WLAN. This is how the Tado networked heating control or the Philips Hue or Ikea Trådfri lighting systems work. Compatible IP cameras such as the Logitech Circle 2 connect directly to the home network, i.e. via WiFi or network cable, with the Homekit control center and the associated app.

The basic requirement for the integration of devices in Homekit is hardware-supported data encryption for communication with the integrated systems. The encryption and other compatibility criteria are checked by Apple in its own certification.

So far, Homekit products have mostly been their own radio components or self-contained systems such as Tado or Philips Hue. Recently, however, Apple has opened up its integration modalities a little. With a specialized Enocean-IP gateway and the Opus Bridge system from Jaeger Direkt, for example, it is now officially possible to integrate various Enocean radio components into the Apple Home app. The quite universal Smarthome-System Homee, which in addition to Enocean also supports Zigbee and Z-Wave radio components, as well as a whole range of other systems via the home network in its logics, has a connection to Homekit - albeit so far only in one way Test or development variant.

Nevertheless, one advantage remains: Apple Homekit is considered a very secure system in terms of protection against unauthorized access. Disadvantage: The access barriers for manufacturers are quite high and expensive compared to other comprehensive systems, which is why new components are only gradually being integrated into Homekit.