Within iOS8, HomeKit is a framework for the effective and efficient communication of controlled accessories – refrigerators, radios, thermostats, etc. – in a user’s home. HomeKit enables users to locate and configure home accessories, as well as allows for creation and control of the actions of those devices. This is a brand new rollout with iOS8, so the end-user experience should grow as talented HomeKit app developers surface.
Functionality of HomeKit
HomeKit allows users to use and access home automation apps on iOS devices, regardless of the manufacturer, as well as control and configure connected accessories in their homes. Some of the tasks users will typically need home automation applications for are: managing users, setting up homes, defining scenes, and adding and removing accessories.
Users should be able to control their home environment, and HomeKit provides a way to manage accessories with a convenient user platform. If you are a specified administrator account holder, you can manage the whole system.
Setting Up a Home
With HomeKit, you can control three types of locations: homes, zones (upstairs or downstairs), and rooms (bedroom, living room, office, etc.). You are required to specify a particular home in order to locate the accessories of that location, and from there you can use the app to create, modify, name, and delete homes, zones, and rooms as you see fit.
This is the aspect of HomeKit where it is not immediately obvious what it means – or what it does. When it comes to simultaneously adjusting the characteristics of multiple accessories, Scenes are an extremely powerful resource. Based on what users may want, you can suggest an array of scenes for them.
For example, if they wanted to set an “away scene”, they could turn lights on and off at certain intervals, lock the doors, (but open it up for 2 minutes to let the dog in) and even control the temperature within the house. Users can create their own individual scenes, and the configuration will be much easier and faster if you give them choices for their accessories.
Adding and Removing Accessories
Making the addition of new accessories quick and easy is very important, and they should be prominently presented by the app after an automatic search. HomeKit does this for you, and it helps users to identify any accessory they want to adjust with quick physical identity.
All admins need to do is to enter a setup code to associate the app with a specified home and then they can configure accessories throughout the house.
Other Benefits of HomeKit
Home automation apps should be enjoyable and easy to use. With HomeKit, you can create a great experience for yourself with these other features:
- Automatically locate accessories
- Integrate with Siri
- Use approachable language
- Locating Accessories
When users are able to locate accessories by name, type, and location quickly, they may be influenced by which of those accessories are important to them at that moment in time. Some of these factors may be time of day, their actual location, and even the season of the year.
By being able to recognize home, zone, and room names with voice integration, users are able to execute any operation by speaking a single statement. You can say something such as “Siri, turn off the downstairs lights”, or “Play the Rock Radio station” or “Siri, lower the temperature in the living room.” You may need to include certain keywords such as Scene or Mode when giving the command, but for the most part the possibilities are limitless with HomeKit.
Users often find themselves intimidated by home automation apps. But with HomeKit, you get an app that is very approachable and can be used in conversational language. Using technical terminology or acronyms may be confusing to the app, so it is better to keep a more formal tone when configuring your accessories.
HomeKit makes it easy to control any and all accessories throughout your home and allows you take full control. It will be exciting to see some of the innovations associated with app development and home automation due to these new capabilities.