The first round of products that will work with Apple’s HomeKit are arriving on store shelves Tuesday.
Lutron lights and Insteon, a smart home system, will start selling HomeKit-compatible devices today, according to The Verge, while iHome, Elgato and ecobee will have products available later this summer.
The HomeKit platform was announced one year ago, and news of the first HomeKit-compatible devices has been building since the CES trade show in January.
“In the past six months, several smart-home vendors have strategically positioned themselves to capitalize on the growing adoption of the Apple platform,” said Omar Saadeh, senior analyst with GTM Research. “The Siri-enabled home is expected to have major effects on the smart-home market, potentially setting the stage for mass adoption of Apple platform-enabled products.”
The HomeKit framework promises to be more than just another app. It will allow users to control and communicate to various devices, as well as to group various items together, such as door locks and lights.
Ecobee, whose technology also works with the Apple Watch, will be launching a new smart thermostat in July that will work with HomeKit. Ecobee devices are already being sold in Apple stores.
Lutron’s Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge will be in Apple stores beginning on Tuesday with a HomeKit-enabled version that will allow homeowners to control their lights using Siri. Rather than just turning individual lights on or off, users can tell Siri to check to see if the basement lights are still on, and if so, to turn them off, Lutron said in a statement.
Insteon is now shipping a new hub for $150 that will allow HomeKit to control any Insteon product, such as switches, outlets and LED light bulbs. IHome’s smart plug will allow users to turn any device that is connected to it on or off through HomeKit.
Elgato’s Eve is a module that gathers information on the home including air quality, temperature, humidity, energy consumption and more. It also has sensors for door and windows, allowing you to ask Siri if a window has been left open. (At this time, Siri will not close the window for you.)
More partners will be coming soon, as Apple already has relationships with various manufacturers that have leveraged Apple’s ‘Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod,’ or MFi, certification.
HomeKit’s most obvious competition is Works With Nest, Nest Labs’ developer program. In January, Nest said more than 5,000 developers are in various stages of integration.
Many smart-home companies, whether they’re focused on saving energy or bringing a cool factor to everyday living (and there are some that claim to do both), will likely integrate with both platforms, as Lutron has done.
The smart-home landscape continues to be a tumultuous space characterized by shifting alliances and allegiances, with most firms opting to leave their options open for now. In the home energy management market alone, GTM Research's Saadeh identified more than 120 companies clamoring for a piece of the pie in a recent report, Energy in the Connected Home 2015: Technology, Evolution, Landscape, and Distribution Strategies.
The first group of five companies working with HomeKit represents just the tip of the iceberg. More announcements should be on the way with Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference next week.