HomeKit Is a SmartHome just "cool" or do they solve problems?

TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 15, 2009
1,612
4,692
USA
I have a few Nest products in my home: thermostat, doorbell, smoke detector, and cameras. The camera has become a nice baby monitor paired with an iPad and we like the doorbell. I've been wanting to transition to HomeKit but I can't give myself a good enough reason to start replacing Nest-branded products with HomeKit compatible ones. I was about to buy an iHome iSP100 plug for my Christmas lights but even with that I stopped myself and was thinking "what will this do that my $10 timer doesn't?" I like technology as much as the next guy but I'm wondering if a lot of this stuff is something to buy because technology is cool or if it's actually going to improve day-to-day living.
 

iOS Geek

macrumors regular
Nov 7, 2017
236
431
I have a new house in the newest neighborhood in my town. Every home in the neighborhood is being built as "WiFI Certified" and come standard with smart technology. (Right off the bat, all homes in this neighborhood have remote access to the thermostat, wireless touch entry, and a video doorbell, just to name a few. There's even more with that by default). But in addition to that, you can go farther with the plans and add anything you want that isn't already included.

I would put it somewhere between "cool" and "improving day-to-day living". It's definitely cool and convenient. But even though I use it all...I don't think it would be a necessity that I would miss if I didn't have it. I just use it all because I have it 😂
 

TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 15, 2009
1,612
4,692
USA
I have a new house in the newest neighborhood in my town. Every home in the neighborhood is being built as "WiFI Certified" and come standard with smart technology. (Right off the bat, all homes in this neighborhood have remote access to the thermostat, wireless touch entry, and a video doorbell, just to name a few. There's even more with that by default). But in addition to that, you can go farther with the plans and add anything you want that isn't already included.

I would put it somewhere between "cool" and "improving day-to-day living". It's definitely cool and convenient. But even though I use it all...I don't think it would be a necessity that I would miss if I didn't have it. I just use it all because I have it 😂
Sounds like a cool neighborhood. I think until JARVIS comes along I'll stick with what I have.
 
  • Like
Reactions: iOS Geek

MisterSavage

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2018
1,923
1,671
I love my Nest thermostat. Being able to cool down the house before we get home or control the temperature with my voice is great.
 

dotme

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2011
928
80
Iowa
Definitely a subjective question. Most of my Homekit automations revolve around lighting and heating/cooling.

Lighting is huge positive for me. My home looks occupied no matter what, any timers self-adjust throughout the year for sunrise/sunset, light level sensors turn lights in a specific room on if skies get dark during the day (when someone's home) - I could go on. Point is, I rarely have to turn anything on, whether by voice or switch, any more. Interior and exterior lighting just happens now, without any interaction on my part.

Similarly, I like the heating/cooling automatically setting back when the last person leaves, and resuming schedule when the first person arrives. I think a smart home is limited mostly by the needs, and imagination, of the person setting it up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: compwiz1202

bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
1,278
3,022
Chicago
I would say it is a little bit of both at least for me personally. It is really convenient to just say "Hey Siri, Goodnight" and have the lights in the house turn off and my fan turn on. It is nice to not have to worry about turning lights on at sunset. At the same time it is just kinda cool (not lazy) to be able to sit in my chair and say "Hey Siri, set the chill scene" and have the appropriate devices kick on to their desired state. Could I stand up out of my chair, walk 2 feet, and do it with the wall switch? Sure, but there's something cool about just having things happen by voice.

I have the doors to my house and garage set to lock every hour on the hour between the hours of 11pm-5am. This way if me or my girlfriend are to come home late one night and forget to lock up the automation will handle it for us. It is all kind of a case by case thing. If someone isn't interested in tech they likely will not find a need for it. Myself though, I like the new tech and playing with it so I like to have the new stuff to play with.

The Christmas tree is a good example. I actually just setup a plug this weekend and integrated it with my sunset scene. We will never have to worry about touching that switch again until we take the tree down.
 

JBaby

macrumors 6502
Jun 14, 2015
334
211
That depends entirely on you and you’re the only one who can answer that. For me it’s not just cool. For me my smart room is all about giving me independence because I have a physical disability. I have a HomeKit Hunter SmartConnect ceiling fan. August 2018 was the first time I had ever turned on/off my bedroom light in my entire life. I was 34 at the time. My HomePod made this an even better experience when I got one for Christmas 2018. Sometime next year I plan on getting IKEA smart blinds for both my bedroom and office windows. I’m not buying them until there’s HomeKit support.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: MisterSavage

TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 15, 2009
1,612
4,692
USA
A little bit of karma tonight....
My wife and I were out running errands and realized we forgot to leave a hall light on for our dog. So that would have been a nice time to be able to do that remotely. He's probably the world's most spoiled dog.
 

caligurl

macrumors 68040
Jun 8, 2009
3,161
993
socal
I love my Nest thermostat. Being able to cool down the house before we get home or control the temperature with my voice is great.
I like my nest but I'm looking to switch it out now that I have a HomePod. I want to get more into the voice activation. I actually wanted to change out my nest back when google bought them out.... I do love cooling the house before getting home and having the heat come on in the a.m. before I get up! OH... and being lazy and sitting on the couch watchching tv and just picking up my phone to adjust the temp!
 

Coffee50

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2015
616
229
I like my nest but I'm looking to switch it out now that I have a HomePod. I want to get more into the voice activation. I actually wanted to change out my nest back when google bought them out.... I do love cooling the house before getting home and having the heat come on in the a.m. before I get up! OH... and being lazy and sitting on the couch watchching tv and just picking up my phone to adjust the temp!
Ecobee is a popular & highly recommended smart thermostat when it comes to HomeKit. They have a few different models available.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Itinj24

barnetty

macrumors member
Jun 14, 2011
57
0
i guess it depends on what problems you have in your home but if you do automation certainly helps.

I for once had issues with lights being left on so i installed smart switches and can at least now monitor and turn them off even if not at home.

In my home the ceiling fans were not wired separately (lights and fan) so i had to pull the chains which was a pain. I installed remote control modules with wifi and now i can turn control my lights and fan separately using my phone, the physical remote or using siri.

now there are the cool things like setting up your movie scenes or changing light colors for moods etc thats just for fun :)
 

Coffee50

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2015
616
229
I think it's a mix of both, lol. It can be cool obviously, but also legitimately useful. I have a smart lock & I like being able to check the status of my door at anytime. I can unlock & lock from anywhere & giving out digital keys is SOOOO much easier than copying, giving & trying to keep track of physical keys.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JBaby and TonyC28

redgreenski

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2017
184
282
It makes life easier. I have motion sensors for kitchen and bathrooms so nobody forgets to turn off the lights. I have sunrise and sunset auto open and auto close blinds, hugely convenient. And the adjustable brightness on Philips hue just makes my living rooms space more pleasant in lates evenings when strong light is not desired.
 
  • Like
Reactions: caligurl

waw74

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
3,243
235
A little bit of karma tonight....
My wife and I were out running errands and realized we forgot to leave a hall light on for our dog. So that would have been a nice time to be able to do that remotely. He's probably the world's most spoiled dog.
For me, i've been using a program called homeseer for years, now i'm able to add devices from that to homekit using a program called homebridge.

Most of my automation is handled by homeseer, as scripting in homekit is a little lacking.
I mainly use homekit as a "front end" for controlling things. I also have several lighting scenes stored in homekit.

For me, leaving a light on for the cat is automated.
I have a virtual device, that gets automatically turned off/on when i leave or enter my home location.
If that device is off (meaning i'm gone) and it's nighttime, i have it turn on a light.
Also if I'm gone for more than an hour, no matter the time, It will set one of my sonos speakers to NPR, so it's not so quiet for him.

When i get home (combo of my "home" device above, and a door sensor on the front door) It turns on some lights, and plays music. (day and night time have different lighting looks)

I have under cabinet LED lighting in the kitchen, as well as a motion sensor. If the kitchen is dark, and the motion sensor trips, it will bring up the cabinets to a glow, enough to see to refill a drink or put a dish in the sink.
I'd leave it at a glow all the time, but my apartment is small, and the kitchen is open to the living room, and the light spill over.
Siri is helpful here too, since i'll go in and start washing dishes or whatever, and realize i'm still in "dim" mode once i've started, so i can ask her to turn on the lights, and not have to go hit the switch with soapy hands.

I've got an eve button by the bed, i can hit that and turn all the lights off, or turn on just enough light to see to get to the bathroom in the night.

It's nice to be able to say "siri goodnight" as you crawl into bed and have all the lights go out, the ceiling fan turn on, music stop playing, the tv turn off, and my shades close.
Or to be leaving in the morning, and say "hey siri I'm leaving" and have the house turn itself off.


If you're tech savvy, (think if you're the one asking for or being asked by your friends for tech help)
take a look at homebridge, There is a learning curve, but it's mostly configuration to get it working. as people have written plugins for most "smart" devices. I've got my couple year old LG TV, non-homekit camera, and my smart vacuum all working in homekit.

I don't have any nest gear, but i believe there are plugins for all of your devices, so you can add them to homekit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JBaby and TonyC28

serpico007

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2017
109
70
We have a new home as well and before moving here we used many technologies in our old place. One thing is that it is easy to buy more than what you need. It's cool to view or turn on things but think about what you really need. Homekit is one of those limited things once you decide to use it. Most of my old stuff doesn't work directly unless I setup Homebridge. Wife prefers Siri and iOS, so happier home once you stick to one thing. The Nest thermostat and Ring cameras though are staying for the time being. Arlo never improved so we stopped investing into the system.
 

pippox0

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2014
81
63
SmatHome is a good option, but we need a standard thats fits all devices ...
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,442
1,773
You have to make automations that are actually useful. If all you want is a specific outlet to come on at a specific time every single day then a timer might seem like a better option because it is a better option.

Think of it this way, when people first started getting TV's in their houses and then remote controls came out for them there were A LOT of people that said "Youre just lazy I can get up and change the damn channel". Could you imagine getting up and changing the tv channel now a days?

I have an automation that turns on the thermostat and specific lights when I get home from work only when its dark outside. Its very convenient. I have another automation "Hey Siri Goodnight" that turns everything in the house off except porch lights. I remember when I used to lay down for bed and think "Did I shut off the basement light?" and get up and go look.

And ya...its "cool" too but not cool enough to brag about or show off or anything like that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: caligurl

colticus

macrumors member
May 9, 2011
40
6
I have a few Nest products in my home: thermostat, doorbell, smoke detector, and cameras. The camera has become a nice baby monitor paired with an iPad and we like the doorbell. I've been wanting to transition to HomeKit but I can't give myself a good enough reason to start replacing Nest-branded products with HomeKit compatible ones. I was about to buy an iHome iSP100 plug for my Christmas lights but even with that I stopped myself and was thinking "what will this do that my $10 timer doesn't?" I like technology as much as the next guy but I'm wondering if a lot of this stuff is something to buy because technology is cool or if it's actually going to improve day-to-day living.
 

DeepIn2U

macrumors 603
May 30, 2002
6,340
1,789
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I remember when remote controls had a cable coming from the VCR!
I most definitely recall this!
Toronto ... Channel 57 (UHF)/7 Cable ... yr 1984 ... Apocalypse Now (first TV/network airing). My pops rented some VHS recorder from Grenada and gave me the remote to pause on commercials.
- - Post merged: - -

Honestly,

some smartphone components do solve problems:

security:
Cameras, window sensors, digital door locks (for visitors, package drop offs, or when you don’t fully trust that woman/man you’re dating to give them the key or it’s just too soon for that level of commitment).

electric bills:
First we had better washers and dryers more power efficient ... but LED bulbs have definitely shaved off my monthly electric bill in my apartment by $40/mth.

not to mention to help with music to set the moodwith invited dates or just relaxation and helping creative move sparks.
 
Last edited:

Coffee50

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2015
616
229
some smartphone components do solve problems:

security:
Cameras, window sensors, digital door locks (for visitors, package drop offs, or when you don’t fully trust that woman/man you’re dating to give them the key or it’s just too soon for that level of commitment).
Haha! Digital keys are easier to immediately revoke.....for whatever reason a “digital key” seems like much lower stakes while still providing the basic access!
 
  • Like
Reactions: DeepIn2U

waw74

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
3,243
235
not to mention to help with music to set the moodwith invited dates or just relaxation and helping creative move sparks.
I have the ability, to set Lights, music, and close the shades. Even have the AC and ceiling fan adjust so it's not too cold.
but it feels a bit too much like Quagmire from family guy to have one button or saying a phrase and have the whole house go to "sexy time" at least with a "new friend"
 
  • Haha
Reactions: DeepIn2U

jmomls

macrumors newbie
Jan 12, 2017
12
8
Like anything else, Smart Home tech is "cool" when it works and majorly annoying/possibly dangerous when it doesn't.

E.g., asking Siri to raise the thermo temp 3 degrees and instead she pushes it to 98.

Or asking Siri to turn on the lights when your hands are full of something and she says "Hmmm, I can't do that right now".

Or setting a location-based automation that just never, EVER works.

Just don't expect this stuff to change your life 100% for the positive.