HomeKit is Apples new framework for connecting accessories in a home. First announced at the World Wide Developers Conference ( WWDC ) in June 2014, it uses Apples voice assistance Siri, to control accessories in your home.
IOS 8 includes limited HomeKit functionality, providing the basic database with links to Siri, but no mechanism for the configuration or addition of accessories.
IOS 9 should be taking things a step further by providing local applications capable of configuring and controlling HomeKit enabled devices.
Apple are also allowing non-MFi devices to connect through a bridge. The bridge is a hardware device providing a means to translate HomeKit protocols to existing Home Automation protocols, such as ZigBee or Z-Wave.
Eventually, there will be a whole ecosystem of HomeKit enabled third party products, all carrying Apples MFi (Made for iPhone ) logo. The logo ensures that an electronic accessory has been designed to connect specifically to iPod, iPhone, or iPad, and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards. That means, in a lot of cases, engineers must redesign their products to incorporate the mandatory HomeKit chips and firmware, and pass Apple’s checklist of requirements. So third party devices are taking a long time to come to market, and the few that are currently available are charging premium prices.
So thanks to some great work put in by KhaosT over on the GitHub and some excellent YouTube tutorials provided by QuickPi, I’ve managed to add a HomeKit bridge to the existing alarm / Home automation system, opening up the system to control through HomeKit and Siri.
I’ve limited the functionality to just the RF power switches, as Apple have quite correctly pointed out the security implications around voice control of devices that allow access to your home.
Also the whole system is totally un-secured, as the final signal to the power socket is a simple RF code, which can easily be recorded and copied.
But none of that stops it from being fun, and rather useful.