3 Comments

Homekit.

It’s a new era in our merry little household. For the first time in a number of years, one can confidently utter the word “Alexa” or “Google” without various devices scattered about binging and bonging while trying to be helpful.

The Amazon and Google ears have been decommissioned.

My husband and I have been working on little tech upgrades here and there and over the weekend he remarked, “it’d be really nice if we had one kind of computer with one service for the lights. I don’t want to talk to Google in here and Alexa in there and watch you haul around a Linux computer”.

We’ve decided to go all in on Homekit, Apple’s Home Automation platform. I know that some have had uneven experiences with Homekit but it has always been solid with us. The only reason we added Alexa and Google to the mix was so we could talk to thin air and have something happen.

“Hey Siri!” gives us this option as long as we have a iPhone or iPad within our shouting range. Since we always have our device on us, this is working for us.

When we first moved into the condo here in Chicago it was my intention for us to be an all Homekit home but then we started buying cheaper smart plugs that were only compatible with Alexa. I’ve been doing some network monitoring and the smart plugs are quite chatty with non-U.S. IP addresses. I don’t know why my smart plug feels the need to tattle around the world when I turn on a box fan, but it made me hyper aware of the security concerns around the Internet of Things.

I firmly believe Apple has the most secure offering in this arena.

Jamie had a decommissioned iPad Mini 2 that we have pressed into service as a Home Controller in the kitchen. I just need to find an older iOS device to play the same role in the bathroom, as we like music to play when we shower and the like, and then we’ll be golden. In the meanwhile we can use our phones.

I’m liking the doubling down on the Apple ecosystem. Believe it or not, it helps my focus for both personal and professional tasks. And for us, it just works.

And that’s all that matters to us.

3 Comments

  1. I wish I had even a single good experience with HomeKit. I got tired of waiting for something to emerge from Apple after a year of promises and went with other options… but once HomeKit matured and good tech started being compatible with it, I bit the bullet and replaced all my locks and some of my lighting controllers. Disaster. The locks were down half the time. They would disconnect at random and stay that way until I re-added them (even the lock 4 feet from my AppleTV). The lighting was even worse, Randomly not bothering to adhere to scheduling. I put up with it for a year until Schlage released their own control hub so I could use my locks without HomeKit. I switched and haven’t had a single problem since. I love the security that Apple is building into their products, and maybe I’ll give HomeKit another try one day, but the experience I had was so awful that it would take a miracle product to make me change my mind.

    1. My biggest concern with Alexa and Google Home is privacy. After monitoring network traffic for a bit, the Amazon and Google devices were chattering a little too often for my paranoia. Our first go with homekit, when it first came out, was disappointing and we experienced much of what you described. But I’ve been messing around with it the past couple of months and in my experience it has improved a lot. I had one plug that needed quite a bit of coaxing to join the network (even with the Homekit code scanned into the app), but other than that it’s been rock solid thus far. I’m at the point now where we may get a HomePod to go into the setup, but I need to see how well Airplay2 works when streaming to both a HomePod and a Sonos One.

  2. I guess I just don’t care a terrible amount about device privacy in this day-and-age when everything seems to be out there anyway. If Amazon wants to listen to me talk to my cats on Alexa, fine. If Google wants to watch me burn the toast on my Nest Cams. Whatever. For those places where I am concerned about privacy, I just make sure they’re device-free. Maybe if I was starting over I would give Apple HomeKit another shot… because, yeah, anything you can do to enhance your privacy is probably a good thing. — I have had no problem at all with AirPlay2 on my SONOS system. Works beautifully.

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