HomeKit HomeKit, Alexa, Wink, or others? (Getting Started with Smart Home)

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by TWO2SEVEN, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. TWO2SEVEN macrumors 68040

    TWO2SEVEN

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    #1
    I am going to get started on some smart home stuff. I am trying to decide which platform(s) to go with. Here is what I have:

    Apple TV 4
    Amazon Echo Dot
    Hue starter kit (hub and two bulbs)
    Nest thermostat 2nd gen

    I'd like to keep going with lights, plug in outlets, and maybe in wall switches.

    I have heard that Alexa can now act as a hub for some products, as can the ATV. I am not sure if the current gen Dot can act as a hub or if I would need the full size Echo.

    Also, if I use my Hue stuff with Alexa can I also use it with HomeKit or is it one or the other?

    Lastly, with what I already have is it even worth looking in to something like the Wink Hub?

    Really just looking for some direction before I start buying things.

    Thanks for answering some new guy questions!
     
  2. bbednarz macrumors 65816

    bbednarz

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2017
    Location:
    Chicago
    #2
    With the exception of the Nest, I have the same products. I use the Hue hub for setting up the bulbs/switches and then use HomeKit and Alexa to control everything. Yes, you can use both at the same time. I don't have any experience using just Alexa as a hub. I am finding that I am doing away with using HomeKit and Siri for things and just relying on Alexa and the Phillips wall switches. I have three Dots through my house and they do a great job with picking up what I am saying and executing the command.

    Using HomeKit has been way more hassle than it is worth. The Dots are just better than Siri is in its current form. If my phone is across the room it may or may not hear me say "Hey Siri". When I summon Alexa I know there is a 99% chance she will hear me and understand the command. Plus another positive for me is more and cheaper items work with Alexa than HomeKit. I have a few smart wall outlets that I got for about $15. Alexa just offers more flexibility for me. Id love if Apple came out with a comparable device, but spending $350 on one HomePod (which isn't even out yet) when I can get Dots for $30 or the new Sonos speakers (with Alexa built in) for $200 just makes it a no brainer. No need to spend the extra money on an already expensive setup.

    When I am away from home and accessing the devices remotely I will turn to HomeKit to set a scene or turn a specific light on for the dogs.
     
  3. convergent macrumors 68030

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #3
    I will confess that I've never used HomeKit, as I started into home automation after I started moving away from Apple. I have dabbled a bit in it and to me, I would rather to with an open ecosystem because otherwise its going to be frustrating with the things that can't do HomeKit. If you dive into lights and switches, I like the GE Z-wave switches. Z-wave and Zigby are two open standards that basically use a mesh approach to communicate. I like GE because they seem to be the only one that makes switches with the traditional style lever vs. the newer big wide style. They also don't require any special app to control. I have a Smartthings hub, a Hue hub (and lights), Echos, Ring doorbell and cameras, and an assortment of GE switches and TPLink Kasa outlets. Everything seems to interoperate pretty well. I use Smarthings to setup automatic stuff, and the Echos to control those things manually. The real cool thing was adding the (expensive) Harmony Hub and Elite remote, to replace my old Harmony One. Now I can control the TV also with the Echo. The bummer is that it can only turn on the Apple TV, not go to specific channels. I'm experimenting with the other streaming devices to see which works the way I want.... but back to your question about HomeKit... to me, it would be a limitation to restrict yourself to only HomeKit gear, but if you know that going in I suppose it can work out OK.
     
  4. Knarf231 macrumors newbie

    Knarf231

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2016
    #4
    I rely mostly on HomeKit. I have the following devices: 6 Hue bulbs, 3 lutron switches and 4 ihome isp6 smart plugs. I also have 2 Apple TV’s and an Apple Watch. I only mention the watch because it means I am not attached to my phone to control my HomeKit devices. I enjoy the single ecosystem of the Apple HomeKit enabled devices. I would have purchased more Lutron switches had I known about them when I first got ‘smart’. It all works seamless. I had an echo but got rid of it over privacy concerns some friends were having with their echo’s.
     
  5. convergent macrumors 68030

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #5
    What privacy concerns?
     
  6. TWO2SEVEN thread starter macrumors 68040

    TWO2SEVEN

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    #6
    I think right now I am going to keep piecing things together that work with what I have instead of relying on another hub. So far I have the Hue bulbs and 2 WeMo outlets. We have a Dot downstairs and I am going to get at least one more for upstairs.

    It's been fun so far. :)
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #7
    https://www.amazon.com/Echo-Plus-bu...UTF8&qid=1514650282&sr=8-1&keywords=echo+plus

    You are thinking of the new Echo Plus with a built in Zigbee hub. Unless you have some specific need for the hub, I would not bother. The built in hub can control your Hue lights instead of using the Hue hub, but you give up some features the Hue hub supports.

    Your Dot does not have the built in hub.

    You can do both at the same time. I do with no problems.

    Again... if there is some specific device you want the needs the hub, I would not bother. I have been able to do everything I need connected either directly to the Echo or using Amazon Alexa "skills".
     
  8. TWO2SEVEN thread starter macrumors 68040

    TWO2SEVEN

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    #8
    Great info, thank you!

    As of now I have the Alexa app as my goto for the basic on/off functions. If I want to fine tune anything I have the product specific apps for Hue, WeMo, and Nest.

    I am trying to keep it all simple so that my wife doesn't get annoyed with me. :)
     
  9. batcomm1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    #9
    We just got the Amazon Echo dots and a few TP Link smart plugs.. But... We have Cox internet and a 2 range router in our house the problem is the TP link will only see the 2.4 range and the majority of our household is on the 5 network... I can control the TP Link plugs on my phone while on the 5 network just fine but Alexa can't control them because she is on the 5 network.. Our phones are smart enough to "cross" ranges since they are on the same router but Alexa isn't... Or am I missing something here...
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    Are you running 2.4 and 5 as their own networks with their own SSID? If so, that is likely the issue. Just set them both to the same SSID and let the router assign 2.4 vs. 5 and it should work.

    I have an Echo 2 on 5 and a wemo switch on 2.4 and it works fine.
     
  11. TWO2SEVEN thread starter macrumors 68040

    TWO2SEVEN

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    #11
    Going to make the jump in to Smartthings this week. Seems like there is a lot that can be done with it. I'm pretty excited!
     
  12. convergent macrumors 68030

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #12
    Watch for the sales... over the holidays the hub was regularly $49.
     
  13. TWO2SEVEN thread starter macrumors 68040

    TWO2SEVEN

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    #13
    Will do! The best I have seen is $79.99 this week. I am returning a $50 Hue starter set so that helps. :)
     
  14. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #14
    I see you chose Smartthings further down the page. I think you'll be happy with it, its much more powerful with more control over a wider range of devices.

    For me it came down to 2 things. Security and confusion over options. The solution was HomeKit since Apple dumbed it down (arguably too far). Apple has a very aggressive approach on security which I liked in the wake (at the time) of smart devices being hacked or used as backdoors on networks and such.

    Also and this is a nitpick. I use geofencing and prefer the OS to handle it at its core, in general I've found this more reliable than my none HomeKit security camera which polls location.

    That said, I'm admittedly jealous over some of the things Smartthings can do. Hopefully Apple keeps moving in that direction.
     
  15. Bazooka-joe macrumors 68020

    Bazooka-joe

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Location:
    Swindon, England
    #15
    I agree with everything that bbednarz says. I have Apple TV 4, Philips Hue bridge, a few Phillips bulbs, a Logitech Circle wired camera and an Amazon Show with some Dots on order.. Everything seems to work really well. HomeKit controls my lights and camera and i can even control the lights and view the camera from my AW 3. I did tend to use Alexa for lighting though. It works so flawlessly.
    Alexa responds so much better than Siri does. I have no doubt the Apple are working furiously in the background to improve Siri for the HomePod but they have some catching up to do as Amazon own the smart speaker market and deservedly so. Installing skills on the Echos is so easy and costs nothing,
     
  16. Dominicanyor macrumors 65816

    Dominicanyor

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Location:
    Florida
    #16
    I have wink hub 2 and is not compatible with HomeKit. That really sucks!!
     
  17. bjlawrence11 macrumors newbie

    bjlawrence11

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #17
    Really, I thought I read that Homekit doesn't require a Hub at all. And also that the Wink Hubs now support Homekit. I guess you mean a bulb that can be connected via Wink, but is not supported by Homekit. That's not Wink's fault.

    I just bought a Wink Hub (V.1) to get going on this stuff with Alexa...
     

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16 December 25, 2017