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D0ct0rteeth

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 11, 2002
1,239
7
Franklin, TN
So, I want to make sure that this doesn't sound like trolling..but I'm genuinely interested. I really want to hear a cool idea or understand how this is useful enough for me to spend the money.. Im just not getting it.

How is everyone using homekit and all of these smart devices? Is there actually a use that I am not understanding?

I dont know why I would want color changing lightbulbs, or lights to turn on from my phone... Why do I need to have my thermostat change? I just set it at 72 when I moved in, and then never changed it.

I dont need to unlock/lock my doors when I am on vacation..

The most interesting idea seems to be maybe doing something with the siri plus and maybe the TV? and maybe using a smart plug to automatically turn on/off Christmas Lights like https://www.homedepot.com/p/Outdoor-Apple-HomeKit-Wi-Fi-Smart-Plug-iSP100B4C/303053363

Also, and kinda related, is that isnt a pain in the butt that Google, alexa and Siri are all competing and dont really work together?

Again, just dont know anyone who actually uses this stuff, and I want to hear some ideas from people that are actually using it so I can hear how its helpful.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,959
2,155
Only as useful as you make it.

When I get home specific lights come on, thermostat sets to the temperature I want it and the door unlocks as I walk up to it.

The porch light turns on 30 minutes after sunset and turns off at sunrise.

Lights (and other things) can be grouped. If you turn on 2 lights in one room all the time you can group them into one action. For example I have two lamps in my living room that come on from the same switch without me needing to run extension cords.

You can set triggers too. So one event causes another. Opening a window causes the HVAC to shut off for example.

Settings scenes like "Good Night" turn all my lights off (except the porch light) and sets the thermostat back to where I like it.

It's not for everyone however there was a time where people used to say "You're lazy if you can't get off the couch to change the channel" or "I just unlock and manually raise my garage door".
 

vipergts2207

Suspended
Apr 7, 2009
4,414
9,885
Columbus, OH
I started out using HomeKit with the one thing that might actually save me money in the long run, a thermostat. If you have your t-stat set to 72 degrees 24/7, you're wasting energy and money. With HomeKit, when the last person leaves home my t-stat sets back to 64 in the winter and 82 in the summer. When the first person gets back home, it then goes back to whatever the preferred temperature for that time of day is. The beauty is that all of this is automatic, no having to remember to change it every time I come and go.

Everything else, other than maybe locks and garage doors, is mainly a luxury. Do I need to be able to control my lights and ceiling fan with Siri and HomeKit? Not really. A lot of the stuff I bought was to replace old and outdated stuff anyway, so I figured if I'm replacing it anyway I might as well replace with HomeKit stuff. The ceiling fan in the living room was builder's grade 80's brass and the one in the bedroom stopped working. The deadbolt on my front door needed replaced because it was either worn out or the keys were poorly made. I suppose the lights weren't actually replacing anything, but I prefer cooler lighting around 3-4000K in the daytime and warmer lighting around 2700K at night. The only way to do that is with smart bulbs.

Like I said though, HomeKit devices are absolutely a luxury for the most part and aren't cheap.
 
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Vasilioskn

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2010
432
801
New York
HomeKit should be better than it is now. I would go with google for home automation until Apple straightens HomeKit out
 

vipergts2207

Suspended
Apr 7, 2009
4,414
9,885
Columbus, OH
HomeKit should be better than it is now. I would go with google for home automation until Apple straightens HomeKit out

That would be silly for anyone embedded in the Apple ecosystem. Google's, nor anybody else's implementations are perfect either. You can't even unlock doors or open garage doors with voice commands using Google Home because of the TOS. Anyone with a Chamberlain garage door has to pay a $10/year subscription for Google Home access for solely the ability to query state and close the garage door. Meanwhile HomeKit users can open the door as well and pay no subscription fee to boot.
 
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KeithJenner

macrumors 65816
Sep 30, 2010
1,264
364
I’ve been doing quite a bit of research over the past couple of months, as I want some home automation, but wanted to make sure that everything we get actually has a use, rather than just being done for the sake of it. I finally started purchasing some bits last week.

One reason for it, which doesn’t seem will apply for you, is that my wife enjoys using different coloured lighting, so we have a couple of coloured hue bulbs in the bedroom and living room. The ability to program different scenes will be useful when it’s all set up. She tends to use lamps rather than the main light, which I always found a pain to turn on or off. Now, one action turns them all on or off, without the risk of accidentally turning something else off at the same time.

Of more practical use, I’ve put a motion sensor in our hallway with a couple of white hue bulbs. They turn on automatically whenever anyone walks in the area, which is incredibly handy. Previously they tended to be left on all evening. I also have a motion sensor to control the light in my study, as I tend to go in and out a lot, and used to be in trouble for leaving the light on. Now they turn off after no movement for 5 minutes.

The hallway light is also set to turn on if any of us arrive at the house, so the hallway is already lit when we walk in the house. Really handy if you are carrying things. It’s just a shame that Apple have broken that bit at the moment.

That initial setup has been so successful that we are buying some more to add to the setup. Another motion sensor and bulb for the top of the stairs so people get a bit of light if they move around at night. People will be able to get up during the night to go to the toilet or get a drink without having to manually turn on a light and they will be dimmed to make it more comfortable.

We are also getting a couple more bulbs which will be turned on or off with the wall switch, but can be dimmed using HomeKit. Much cheaper and easier than wiring in a dimmer switch.

We can also turn lights on or off from outside the house, and programming in lighting schedules when we are away is good for security.

Whilst the initial setup cost for the Hue bridge and also for coloured lights is quite high, the white bulbs aren’t a bad price, especially if you can get a deal. I got some on a 3 for 2 deal which made them fairly reasonably priced.

Outside of that, we are looking at a thermostat for the future. I’m not decided on that at the moment, but they claim to offer savings, by using geofencing etc. There are some obvious benefits. For example, they look at the weather forecast and turn themselves on to avoid frost damage. The heating can be turned off when you go away, but can turn itself on if it gets too cold, and you can turn the heating on from the airport, for example, so it’s warmed up when you get home.

We are also getting some security stuff. A ring doorbell, which isn’t yet HomeKit enabled but may be soon, gives alerts if someone approached the door, videos them and alllows you to speak to people even when you aren’t at home. I like the idea of a security feature which also adds something else as well. The benefits of some of that sort of thing are really quite clear.

Basically, the benefits depend a lot on individual situations. There are many devices that I’ve looked at and are very impressive, but wouldn’t really add anything for us. Some, like the coloured lights, are very much a luxury for us and others, like the motion sensors and the doorbell when we get it, are by no means essential but really do offer us clear benefits.

My advice is to consider individual items and current setups and decide if they will actually offer benefits for you. I suspect that most people have at least one or two specific setups which would be a clear benefit.
 

steve knight

macrumors 68030
Jan 28, 2009
2,735
7,180
HomeKit should be better than it is now. I would go with google for home automation until Apple straightens HomeKit out

SmartThings is what I use and I have had it longer then HomeKit has been around. Mainly my wife uses homekt to control things with her voice as she is blind or Alexa. SmartThings automates things better. Like here is a web based app that shows me all that going on at-a glance you can run it on cheap tablets too. Now I try to get devices that run on everything but I have most things.
6abae359a7b7ffde062132a8e15dec7e.jpg
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,959
2,155
HomeKit should be better than it is now. I would go with google for home automation until Apple straightens HomeKit out

I agree and disagree. Just depends on the angle the question is asked. However I feel the point of this thread is home automation controlled via pre owned smart devices in general.
[doublepost=1513376925][/doublepost]
SmartThings is what I use and I have had it longer then HomeKit has been around. Mainly my wife uses homekt to control things with her voice as she is blind or Alexa. SmartThings automates things better. Like here is a web based app that shows me all that going on at-a glance you can run it on cheap tablets too. Now I try to get devices that run on everything but I have most things.
6abae359a7b7ffde062132a8e15dec7e.jpg

Impressive setup. Barring the fact that some/many of those devices can't be control via HomeKit because they aren't enabled for such is there anything there that there is no homekit solution for?

Just curious, again that looks pretty nice. I'm especially curious what sticky pot, jerky box, fish pot and pipe heat are.
 

steve knight

macrumors 68030
Jan 28, 2009
2,735
7,180
Impressive setup. Barring the fact that some/many of those devices can't be control via HomeKit because they aren't enabled for such is there anything there that there is no homekit solution for?

Just curious, again that looks pretty nice. I'm especially curious what sticky pot, jerky box, fish pot and pipe heat are.
I have a few things like the ecobee and some outlets and hue that work with everyone. but most of it is automated to our coming and going and smartthings does all of that. the stinky pot and fish pot are just those wax hot pots for fragrance. the jerky box is the dehydrator. pipe heat is heat tape for our pipes that I have set to turn on and off when it freezes. a few things homekit does not have. like the smart mouse traps and such. Plus it is far cheaper to get generic sensors where I can use them. I have a pill box for my wife that sends notifications when she opens each compartment that I built for her. I try to buy new things that work with all the main controllers smartthngs alexa homekit and google. but I have been doing this for several years now so I don't really buy much new. sonos will notify us when someone is on the porch or our children arrive.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,959
2,155
I have a few things like the ecobee and some outlets and hue that work with everyone. but most of it is automated to our coming and going and smartthings does all of that. the stinky pot and fish pot are just those wax hot pots for fragrance. the jerky box is the dehydrator. pipe heat is heat tape for our pipes that I have set to turn on and off when it freezes. a few things homekit does not have. like the smart mouse traps and such. Plus it is far cheaper to get generic sensors where I can use them. I have a pill box for my wife that sends notifications when she opens each compartment that I built for her. I try to buy new things that work with all the main controllers smartthngs alexa homekit and google. but I have been doing this for several years now so I don't really buy much new. sonos will notify us when someone is on the porch or our children arrive.

Heat tape is a really good idea since generally its found in locations you don't want to be in (crawl space, attic, etc). I have some for my furnace drain piping but it operates off its own thermostat that is strapped to the pipe.

With Smartthings could you set a trigger (via IFTTT for example) to only turn it on when you local temps are below freezing?

I'm to the point now where I'm automating things I never really use just so everything matches. Nearly every single switch in my house (except guess bedroom) has a smart switch/dimmer. I can't really think of anything else to "automate".
 

steve knight

macrumors 68030
Jan 28, 2009
2,735
7,180
our pipes are open to the elements. I thought I had them wrapped well but one small area froze and caused hell. it was 20 degrees and i was crawling on the ground replacing the pipe. smarthings can be setup to turn it on and off. or you can use webcore to really program the hell pout of it. I had to pay a neighbor to install the heat tape and insulation. I odn't have too many plugs controlled I don't need them. but I do have a whole house fan plugged into one and when I open the window the fan turns on. reminds me to shut the window if I leave and I have forgotten tells me to open the window when the temps are different house and outside. heat turns off when we leave turns on when we come home. when I run the goodnight routine most lights turn off some dim doors lock all the things that should turn off like other sonos speakers and hot pots turn off the heat right now is set to 1 degree warmer when I take a shower. when I am in bed a button hit will turn everything off check the doors turn the heat down and arm the system. in the morning one hue light strip slowly ramps up then another light and another then all of them.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,959
2,155
our pipes are open to the elements. I thought I had them wrapped well but one small area froze and caused hell. it was 20 degrees and i was crawling on the ground replacing the pipe. smarthings can be setup to turn it on and off. or you can use webcore to really program the hell pout of it. I had to pay a neighbor to install the heat tape and insulation. I odn't have too many plugs controlled I don't need them. but I do have a whole house fan plugged into one and when I open the window the fan turns on. reminds me to shut the window if I leave and I have forgotten tells me to open the window when the temps are different house and outside. heat turns off when we leave turns on when we come home. when I run the goodnight routine most lights turn off some dim doors lock all the things that should turn off like other sonos speakers and hot pots turn off the heat right now is set to 1 degree warmer when I take a shower. when I am in bed a button hit will turn everything off check the doors turn the heat down and arm the system. in the morning one hue light strip slowly ramps up then another light and another then all of them.

Don't get me started on the nightmares of frozen pipes. I had to physically remove the furnace to add heat tape the frozen pipes (drains). And then reinstall it. Since its accessed through an outside closet this was done in 15 degree weather. It was such a pain I actually used two heat tape strips and one is just a "back up" incase the first one burns out. Piss poor engineering.

I also have a specific window when opened trigger the HVAC off and fans on. I only ever open this window when its nice out.

Ahhh the solutions to first world problems.... lol
 
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