Smart Home Lessons from a Home Automation Veteran

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Rich Mogull shares the lessons he’s learned over a decade of home automation and how the new “Take Control of Apple Home Automation” book compresses many of them into a neat package.

Hi Josh
I am finding your Take Control ebook very useful for understanding Homekit. I have a few tips that you are welcome to use:

Eve switches
I understand that these use Blutooth and not wifi and so range is very limited. As you point out, they also need an Eve hub. I have avoided them at this stage.

As you indicate, a Wemo Bridge is needed to enable Homekit to control Wemo devices. Belkin has totally withdrawn Wemo from the Australian market and the Australian-style plugs are becoming rare (i.e no spares available). However the Wemo Bridge just needs a USB-a power outlet and so can work in any country. A limitation is that the Wemo Bridge needs to be connected to an ethernet socket. Once connected it finds all Wemo devices on that network and enables them to join Homekit

I now have several LiFX light globes working with Homekit (the A19 multi-color model). They connect directly to your wifi using the LiFX app for iOS. However I found that first I needed to go to the iPhone’s wifi set-up. The LiFX globe should appear under “Set up new device”. The important step here is to change the default name for the device then it should automattically join the network and the LiFX app will take you through the steps to link it to Homekit. I found that set-up failed if I just tried to use the LiFX app to enable the globe to join the wifi network.

Another good feature of LiFX is that they retain settings when power is switched off. This means I can use the ordinary light switch to manually turn lights off and on, as long as I remember to not use Homekit to turn them off when I go to bed… Wemo switches also are supposed to retain settings but I have found this a bit flukey and it can take some time for them to join the network and connect to Homekit.

So I have some Wemo switches and LiFX globes working with Homekit. It is great that devices can be mixed in this way and I don’t have to rely on one brand.

Siri on the Homepod is working well. As you point out, it is surprising how well Siri understands Homekit commands compared with, say, music commands.