Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Apple's HomeKit

The first products to take advantage of Apple’s smart home technology were unveiled today, just days before the start of the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

Five device makers announced products that dim the lights or adjust room temperature with a spoken command or control fans and other home appliances from the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Two products are available now, with others reaching stores in the coming weeks.
IHome, a maker of iPhone- and iPod-compatible clock radios and audio accessories, said its first HomeKit product would begin reaching stores in late June. Its SmartPlug allows consumers to use Siri to control their lighting, fans and other home devices.
Lutron Electronics’ Cas├ęta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit provides wireless plugs, remote control dimmer switches and a smart bridge, which allows homeowners to adjust their lights (and, in some cases, the window shades and thermostats) without leaving their couches. Its software will even send a notification if the homeowner has left without turning off the lights. It is available now.

Toronto-based Ecobee announced that its wireless thermostat now works with HomeKit, allowing users to adjust their heating or cooling using Siri on their iPhone or iPad, while Insteon’s HomeKit-compatible hub lets consumers control a range of home gadgets, from door locks and garage door openers to lightbulbs. HomeKit is on sale today online.
HomeKit is a system for connecting smart home devices through iOS.
Apple allows for either WiFi or Bluetooth low energy (LE)-enabled devices to get certified as a HomeKit accessory. Apple is requiring device makers using both WiFi and Bluetooth LE to use complicated encryption with 3072-bit keys, as well as the super secure Curve25519, which is an elliptic curve used for digital signatures and exchanging encrypted keys.
“These security protocols are bleeding edge,” said Diogo Monica, a security lead at Docker and an IEEE security expert.
WiFi-enabled devices can handle these security requirements, but it seems devices running over Bluetooth LE are having some issues. The intensive processing demands for generating and sending these security keys is what’s likely causing these lag times.

Such lag times render many of these devices useless. For example, a smartlock that makes its user wait 40 seconds before it opens is clearly inferior to a traditional lock. One of HomeKit’s selling point is that it provides a more reliable user experience, so these kinds of lag times will need to be sorted out before Apple can become a major platform for the smart home.

People with an August smart lock fitted to their front door can now use an Apple Watch to lock and unlock their home with 'just a swipe and a tap'.
The watch app also tells users who has recently come and gone as well as receiving a notification when someone enters of leaves their house.
The August lock is made of 'durable anodized aluminium' and can be managed using the app which works on a smartphone and Apple Watch, as well as online.
Owners of the lock, created by technology entrepreneur Jason Johnson and industrial designer Yves Behar, can already lock and unlock their door with their iPhone, but the watch will make the process more convenient, because the 'digital key' is already on their wrist.
The battery-operated lock, which launched last year, costs $249 (£160) and its makers claim, takes just 10 minutes to install.
It includes deadbolt adapters and faceplates that work with around 90 per cent of locks on the market in the US.
The encrypted locking technology issues registered devices such as smartphones or the Apple Watch, or invited devices, with unique codes that can't be copied.

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