When people think about home automation, or a connected home, they tend to instantly think about the type of intelligent home that you see in the movies. That includes blinds or curtains being controlled by a remote control, or a stunning hydraulic swimming pool ascending or descending from the floor via a simple push of a button. All of those things have a place for those who can surround themselves with luxuries that cost untold amounts of money, but for the rest of us, or the standard home-owners if you will, there’s a growing market of hardware-based accessories that exist to not only make our lives easier, but to also turn our homes into an intelligent living space that continuously gives us information about how we are living.
Having access to affordable, intelligent devices that introduce intelligence into the home is one thing, but having instant access to devices that offer support for Apple’s growing HomeKit platform is another proposition entirely. If you plan on equipping your home or office with these smart home devices, then you may want to consider the seven devices that we have listed below as a place to start. The below listed devices are not only extremely intelligent and worthwhile pieces of kit, but they also come with HomeKit as standard, meaning that they can all be controlled via Siri and Apple’s Home app in iOS 10.
1. Elgato Eve Home Sensor
From a home automation perspective, the Elgato Eve Room Sensor may not instantly be on everyone’s radar. As you will see from the rest of this list, there are plenty of devices that intend to be intelligent replacements of hardware that we already interact with on a daily basis, but the Eve Home Sensor is a little different. Its built-in intelligent sensors are powerful and capable enough to sense the quality of the air that is circulating around an individual in a room, and being breathed in and out by all family members. There’s also instant sensing and feedback on the current room temperature where the Eve is mounted, as well as readings around the humidity within the room.
The purpose of the Eve Room Sensor is to try and give home owners information that they wouldn’t have previously had instant access to without purchasing a slew of separate, and likely expensive, pieces of kit. As you might expect, all of the data collected by the built-in sensors is analysed and then instantly stored in a connected and accompanying app for the user to do whatever they want. And of course, in addition to being a powerful sensor of indoor air quality it’s also compatible with Apple’s HomeKit for Siri support.
Buy the Elgato Eve Home Sensor on Amazon ($74.99)
2. August Smart Lock
If you haven’t heard of the August Smart Lock, then you really need to consider adopting it into your life. Often described as being like “a bouncer for smart homes”, the Smart Lock is essentially a replacement lock for your doors that negates the need for a physical key. Rather than having to carry around a set of keys, the August Smart Lock facilitates the creation and use of virtual keys for all family members and guests that are allowed access to a specific property. Virtual keys can be created easily, and access can even be granted using those keys for very specific dates and times, or even hours, days, or minutes.
One of the really exciting and interesting things about August’s Smart Lock – aside from the fact that it’s a Bluetooth-enabled lock that uses virtual keys – is that owners can actually use the accompanying August Home app to track all access to a property. Each virtual key can be assigned to an individual, meaning whenever it’s used, it’s logged in the app for the main home owner or app administrator to see the log. Have an Apple Watch? Then you have your own virtual key already on your wrist. How easy is that?
Buy the August Smart Lock on Amazon ($229.00)
3. OneLink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
When thinking about home automation and intelligence in the home, it makes perfect sense to assume that some manufacturers would take this capability and put it to good use from a safe perspective. That’s exactly what has been achieved with the OneLink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm. It’s probable safe to say that the majority of us already have either a smoke alarm, a carbon monoxide alarm, or both in our property, and in fact, in some places it’s actually a law to have one for the protection of loved ones. This may not introduce any additional functionality per se over ‘standard‘ alarms, but it’s the ease of use, thanks its smart nature and HomeKit support that makes it what it is.
The device can come with either a 10-year sealed battery setup, or a hard-wired connection directly to the house power supply, with all alarms available to be investigated directly from a connected app. If the alarm turns out to be false, then there’s no need to actually go to the source, leaving it be silenced from within the app itself. Extremely useful for properties with multiple, daisy-chained alarms set up. And speaking of those daisy-chain installations, one of the beautiful things about this product is that one alarm instance will automatically use the alerting data of all connected devices, if there are multiple ones in the property.
Buy the OneLink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm on Amazon ($90.59)
4. Honeywell Lyric Smart Thermostat
The Honeywell Lyric Round is currently the second-generation offering from Honeywell, and is billed by the company as a “thermostat that adapts to your life.” If you take the design of this device out of the equation – which is actually hard to do, considering it is so beautiful – then you’re left with a very intelligent HomeKit-enabled thermostat that uses some of its smarts to determine when heating should be activated and when it should not be. As an example, the thermostat itself is in contact with the connected smart devices in order to keep track of its location. If the device is 500 miles away from the thermostat, then it’s highly unlikely that the heating will be activated.
Like most smart devices, the Lyric can also instantly send notifications to notify the owner of changes. If the temperature becomes too low, or too high, or the humidity in the room changes dramatically, notifications can be instantly sent to the home owners to keep them informed of the situation. As with most smart thermostats, the Lyric may be beautiful, but its real power and appeal comes from its ability to accurately build up a pattern of when the heating should and should not be activated in order to save energy, and ultimately money.
Buy the Honeywell Lyric Smart Thermostat on Amazon ($159.99)
5. Tado Smart AC Control
We can intelligently control our heating, lightning and whether and our carbon monoxide sensors, so it makes perfect sense that those who live in tropical climates should be able to easily and efficiently control their AC installations. And, as you might have guessed, they can do exactly that with Tado’s intelligent Smart AC Control unit that comes with support for Siri via Apple’s HomeKit. The handy little piece of kit takes up very little room, looks elegant in most homes, and instantly works with most air conditioning units that are already capable of being controlled via a remote control.
There’s the ability to control the smart device from anywhere in the world via the accompanying mobile app. There’s also the integration of consistent geo-location awareness to allow the air condition to be intelligently controlled depending on the physical location of the device owner and the connected smartphone. This type of technology is not only extremely exciting, but it’s also very rewarding with home owners able to save up to 40-percent on air conditioning bills compared to using it without this level of intelligent control.
Buy the Tado Smart AC Control on Amazon ($174.99)
6. Philips Hue Smart Bulbs
In some respects, the Philips Hue range of smart bulbs kicked off the home automation for the average Joe. What started off as a simple Starter Kit consisting of three light bulbs and a Bridge controller has now grown into a globally accessible range. The range now includes various bulb types, GU10 fittings for spotlights, strip lighting that are designed to perfectly meet certain areas of an installation with color-chaning capabilities, and even lamps that can perfectly finish off the interior of a home. And of course, all of this is controlled directly from the accompanying Philips Hue app from anywhere in the world.
As the Hue range has grown, so has the capabilities of the bulbs. In addition to being able to turn lights on and off remotely, users are now able to use the accompanying Hue app to set up scenes for different rooms, and even set up timers to bring certain lights on at specific color temperatures at certain times of the day. Of course, Apple’s Siri can be used to give instant control over the scenes via audible commands.
Buy the Philips Hue Starter Pack on Amazon ($179.77)
7. iDevices Switch
No home automation installation would be complete without having a plug that offers intelligent control over any appliance that is connected to it. Well, the iDevices Switch is here to fill that gap. For those that think home automation is daunting or requires a steep learning curve, then the iDevices Switch will make you think again. You simply have to plug the device in, and then plug your accessories and appliances to it, to be able to take advantage of its functionality. Lamps, television sets, vacuum cleaner, phone charger et al, simply plug anything in to iDevices Switch and receive the benefit of being able to control that appliance from anywhere.
There is a lot to be said for being able to instantly provide or kill power to a specific appliance from anywhere in the world. On vacation and realized that you may have left everything turned on? Simply open the app and turn it off with minimal fuss. With that said, the ability of schedule, track and monitor energy usage actually makes this little innocuous piece of kit worth the purchase. Have you ever wondered just how much energy your smartphone or laptop chews through to get a full charge? Well, wonder no more and find it out with iDevices Switch.
Buy the iDevices Switch on Amazon ($39.45)
Planning to buy a HomeKit-enabled Smart Device?
Everyone wants to have a smart home, the comfort of controlling lights, appliances and other devices with Siri on your iPhone while you are in a remote location is pretty amazing. So, if you are looking for smart home devices that play well with iOS 10’s new Home app, these are the devices to buy. So, let us know the HomeKit-enabled smart device that you are planning to buy. Also, let us know if we missed out on a smart device for this list. Sound off in the comments section below.