Using smart home technology to make it easier to not only access your home, but control just about every aspect of it, from the brightness of your lights to your home’s temperature and even physical access to your home. All of this technology brings some specific challenges for users; operating and controlling devices from one central location is a must. Apple has risen to this challenge in the past, with mixed success. The launch of the iPhone 7 and the newest operating system should make controlling smart home technology easier than ever.
What to Expect from iOS 10
If you already use Apple’s HomeKit, then the newest phone and operating system may not seem to offer many new features. The upgraded version is actually far more functional than the original version; the original HomeKit was not particularly user friendly or intuitive, leaving many users to turn to a third party for added functionality.
The latest version still relies on Siri, Apple’s sometimes revered, sometimes panned voice assistant to control locks, lights and comfort devices, but integration with other devices is far easier this time around. In the past, users had to turn to third party apps to actually set up smart home products to be used in HomeKit; the latest version pulls everything under one, Apple generated app. Just tap the house icon, add your smart home devices and go.
How Does HomeKit Work?
Load the app, then tap the house icon. You’ll be taken to a screen that identifies all of the devices in your home that are compatible with your phone. You can add devices, organize them by room and access everything from your home’s front door lock to your security alarm and even your refrigerator, all from one screen. A press of the home button allows you to create individual settings and control devices; you can set the pieces you use most as “favorites” and return to them easily. Opening the app reveals a list of smart home devices that are currently running and allows you to get instant status updates or even turn those devices off if desired.
One of the biggest improvements of the iOS 10 rollout is the improved integration with smart home devices. While former versions allowed more tech savvy users to set things up, everyone else struggled with using the phone effectively. IOS 10 is designed to help you interact with and control your homes smart pieces, including:
Door lock, smart doorbell other devices that control access to your home
Security cameras, smoke detectors, water detectors and CO2 detectors
Lights and lightbulbs
Home entertainment systems
Home comfort systems for heating and cooling
One of the biggest problems smart home automation still has with iOS10 is voice recognition. Amazon continues to score big with their Alexa-powered line of devices, including the Echo, which allow the user to simply speak commands and interface with smart home technology. Apple has yet to come up with a satisfying competitor for Echo; while you can speak into your phone and get some help from Siri, you can’t do so unless you have that phone handy. Alexa technology is designed to understand and respond to the spoken word anywhere in your home.
While Apple does not offer an Alexa style interface, third party developers have created apps designed to link the Android friendly Amazon device to the latest iOS from apple. Apps like the new Lexi were able to work with iOS 9, but with some issues – freezing and even a few instances of bricking were reported by consumers. The new iPhone rollout and iOS appear to offer improved integration with Alexa based devices, ideal for those who want to control their home’s smart automation by voice instead of by phone.
Individual Manufacturer Integration Issues
The latest iPhone iOS is not entirely trouble free. Some manufacturers of smart home technology are reporting integration issues and advising consumers of limitations and of the steps being taken to eliminate issues. Kevo Touch to Open lock technology was one of the smart home devices that is impacted by a bug in the new iOS; both manufacturers worked together to swiftly resolve the issue for consumers. Owners of this Kwikset Bluetooth deadbolt will be able to restore full functionality with the new iOS 10.0.2 rollout.
Contact us to learn more about securing your home with smart locks and automation; we’re committed to helping you explore the ways technology can help you safeguard your home and property.