In our two previous articles Everything you need to know to make your home smarter : Part 1 and Part 2 we did analyse the different popular smart systems, each with its advantages, disadvantages and range of compatible devices. We looked at the universal Alexa. And brought your attention to thousands of gadgets and devices compatible with Alexa of very different brands. We also looked at Google Assistant, your virtual butler.
Apple could not be left out of the home automation sector and to enter the big door nothing better than take advantage of its broad customer base with an iOS terminal. This is how Apple HomeKit was born, the home automation solution for the brand, offering manufacturers the possibility of integrating their products in iOS in a simple and controllable way from a single application.
HomeKit coordinates the different apps that manage our smart systems working in the background and making the applications connect with each other so that it is possible to manage them from a single device, including also support for the Siri voice assistant. All this is done from the Apple Home control centre of the iOS terminal, who gets in touch with the compatible gadgets that must have the "Works with HomeKit" seal.
This interaction allows having a list of the equipment connected to the network with which we can operate, grouping devices in different locations of home so that they work together or that are related in some way and finally automate actions and behaviours based on multiple parameters and scenarios.
For example, we can program an action that turns off the lights when we leave home or one that activates our TV, multimedia player and sound equipment when we want to see a movie. All of them controllable from the smartphone or tablet as a remote control.
As we see, in the background is something very similar to what Amazon and Google offer in their respective systems, but focused on the system of Apple terminals, which has its advantages and disadvantages. If we already have a smartphone of the brand it is probably easy for us to take the step and start buying compatible accessories, but if we are not Apple users, we will also have the initial cost of the mobile phone or a tablet.
Are there many accessories, gadgets and compatible devices?
Yes, and the list keeps growing. In fact, on Apple's own website they have an updated catalogue with all the products that are coming out all over the world and those that are available in our country of residence, such as in Spain.
Among the most prominent we have a bit of everything. There are indoor sensors and surveillance equipment for brands such as Elgato with its Eve Door Window, Eve Energy or Eve Thermo, security cameras such as the new D-Link ranges, air quality meters such as the Netamo Healthy Home Coach, systems of illumination and regulators of intensity of well-known marks like Philips or Ikea, meteorological stations or advanced thermostats like the Lyric Round of Honeywell.
In addition, in the past CES 2018 more compatible equipment was announced that will be arriving in the coming months thanks to agreements with different companies such as Groupe Muller, the new Belkin Bridge that will be responsible for integrating all home automation accessories with HomeKit and even up to Connected showers like this one from Moen will be sold. As we can see, there are many options, although it seems that at the moment the large home entertainment equipment (televisions, home cinema, etc.) and appliances (refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, etc.) have not shown much interest in Homekit, perhaps because some of the big brands have an ace up their sleeve: create their own smart system, as we will see below with the examples of Samsung and LG.
Unlike the platforms we have seen so far, Samsung decided to consider creating a new smart system based mainly on its own appliances and devices, thus avoiding having to depend on third-party companies. This is how SmartThings emerged, both integrated into some of the brand's equipment and through the Samsung Connect Home hub that it sold in 2017.
Samsung has managed with SmartThings to create its own home automation ecosystem focused mainly on the household appliance sector
What can we do with SmartThings?
Well the typical of a smart platform but applied mainly to electrical appliances. Using the mobile application as a remote control of the home we can find compatible devices, manage them, view their status, start their operation, create custom modes to easily control multiple devices with a single command, receive notifications of equipment or alerts depending on the type of equipment that we are using. For example, we can receive an alert if there is someone at the door of the house or a message from the washing machine when it is ready for us to pick up clothes.