Back in June Apple announced their new home automation framework, HomeKit.
Now Jay Martin from Indigo Domo, our favourite OS X home automation software, has posted an article outlining the reasons their software will not be integrating with the Apple framework.
There are some interesting insights in Jay’s post, both on how Indigo Domo view the HomeKit framework, what it is, and what it is not…
Our understanding is that HomeKit is not a home automation system but rather an attempt to unify direct control of devices in the home. As most of you know, home control, or the act of directly controlling various physical things in your home, is certainly one aspect of home automation. But turning on a light via your iPhone/iPad is only a part of a complete home automation system. So, from that respect, HomeKit is not a replacement for Indigo in the same way that iRule isn’t.
Jay goes on to explain in more detail how the system works and what it offers in terms of voice control via Siri.
HomeKit is a couple of things: first, it’s an iOS Framework that apps can use to manipulate HomeKit compatible devices (they call them accessories). HomeKit accessories are stored in a central/shared iOS database that is managed through any client app that uses the HomeKit Framework. So for example, you can use client app A to discover an accessory and add it to the HomeKit database, and then client app B can tell that accessory what to do. Or vice versa. This leads us to Siri integration – we believe, under-the-hood, Siri acts as a special HomeKit client app, so it can directly tell HomeKit accessories what to do. This is an important distinction because it means that neither client app A nor client app B is “using Siri to control the device”. Rather, Siri is using knowledge of the central/shared HomeKit database to control accessories.
In addition to the iOS HomeKit Framework that apps can use to control HomeKit devices, Apple also has a program (MFi) under which device hardware manufactures can get their devices HomeKit approved/certified. This covers not only smart devices (accessories), such as HomeKit certified lights, thermostats, etc., but also appears to include HomeKit bridge devices that allow non-HomeKit devices to be treated as HomeKit accessories. While we would love for Indigo to be a HomeKit bridge so that all your Z-Wave, INSTEON, X10, and plugin based devices can be treated as HomeKit accessories, this is not currently possible as Indigo is not a standalone hardware controller that can be MFi certified.
Summing up, Jay confirms that Indigo will not be HomeKit compatible…
In conclusion, based on our research, it will not be possible to provide Siri control of Indigo devices nor will it be possible to bridge Indigo devices into HomeKit as accessories. We are understandably disappointed by this, but we will continue to evaluate HomeKit as it evolves and will continue to look at other possible ways we can directly or indirectly integrate with HomeKit.
So while it’s not a never, it’s a no for now.
[UPDATE] Indigo Domotics have posted some more thoughts on HomeKit after the announcement of the Insteon Hub Pro.